Centenary College (Louisiana)

Centenary College of Louisiana is a private, four-year arts and sciences college located in Shreveport, Louisiana. The college is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).HistoryCentenary College of Louisiana is the oldest college in Louisiana and is the nation's oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River. Centenary traces its origins to two earlier institutions. In 1825, the Louisiana state legislature issued a charter for the Centenary College of Louisiana at Jackson. Its curriculum included courses in English, French, Greek, Latin, logic, rhetoric, ancient and modern history, mathematics, and natural, moral, and political philosophy. In 1839, the Mississippi Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, established Centenary College, first located in Clinton, Mississippi, then relocated to Brandon Springs. When the College of Louisiana lost the financial support from the state legislature in 1845, Centenary College purchased the facility and moved to Jackson.In 1846, the college’s trustees changed the institution’s name to Centenary College of Louisiana and adopted the alumni of the two predecessor colleges. During the 1850s, enrollment reached 260, and the college constructed a large central building, which included classrooms, laboratories, literary society rooms, a library, a chapel, offices, and an auditorium with seating for over 2,000 people. This prosperity halted with the American Civil War. Following a meeting on October 7, 1861, the faculty minute book states, “Students have all gone to war. College suspended; and God help the right!” During the war, both Confederate and Union troops occupied the campus’s buildings. Centenary reopened in the fall of 1865, though struggled financially through the remainder of the nineteenth century. In 1906, the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, accepted an offer from the Shreveport Progressive League to relocate the college. The Jackson campus now serves as the Centenary State Historic Site operated by the Louisiana Office of State Parks; it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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