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Centre College recognizes two Distinguished Alumni from NKY during its homecoming festivities

During Homecoming 2019, Centre College recognized two graduates from Northern Kentucky for their accomplishments and contributions by naming them among four Distinguished Alumni during its annual recognition ceremony.

James C. Claypool ’60

Distinguished Alumnus

As a football player at Beechwood High School in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, James C. Claypool ’60 received a recruiting call from Northwestern, but remarkably for Centre, providence intervened and a sponsor by the name of Robert S. Tate interceded. Tate, a Distinguished Alumnus in 1962, was a Centre graduate from the class of 1913 and saw no reason why the College shouldn’t benefit from Claypool’s talent. During that auspicious visit, Claypool held the shoe of Bo McMillan and simply fell in love with Centre.

Claypool embraced the College wholeheartedly, playing football, singing in the coed choir, running a laundry business with Raymond “Fleet” Webb (’60) and joining Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Most importantly, it was at Centre that Claypool met his wife, Sharon Hayes, Class of 1963.

Claypool graduated from Centre with a B.A. in history. At Commencement, he received the Ormond Beatty Alumni Prize for graduating with the second highest academic average in the men’s division. Then Claypool set a course for what became decades of involvement in academic life and education in Kentucky. The highlight of Claypool’s career in higher education was serving as the first employee of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) in February of 1970 after Northern Kentucky State College, a two-year institution, received legislative support and funding to become the first four-year college in the greater Cincinnati metropolitan region.

Edelen and Claypool

Armed with a doctorate in history from the University of Kentucky and a half year of teaching experience at Murray State, Claypool was hired as Dean of Admissions and Students at the start of a remarkable period of growth for NKU. He outcompeted Kentucky’s regional institutions for students, so that by the start of the second semester, more than 3,000 students were enrolled. Significantly, Claypool also started NKU’s athletics program for men and women, and at his insistence, Northern was the first school in the Commonwealth, and one of the first three schools nationally, to ensure an equal number of scholarships for male and female athletes. He also proudly chose NKU’s colors to mirror Centre’s—gold and white.

Frank H. Edelen ’66

Distinguished Alumnus

As a result of Centre’s Early Decision Plan, Frank H. Edelen, Jr. ’66 knew as a junior at Springfield High in Washington County that he would attend Centre. President Tom Spragens gave his high school commencement speech and a few months later, Edelen was shaking President Spragens’ hand when he arrived at Centre in the fall of 1962.

While at Centre, Edelen was selected by Dean Max Cavnes to serve as an academic dorm counselor in Wiseman Hall. He also worked as a student library assistant and a faculty research assistant to David Hughes. He joined Phi Kappa Tau, was a member of the Inter-fraternity Judiciary, Omicron Delta Kappa and sang in the Centre Chapel choir. Edelen recalls his time at the College as the most important four years of his life.

Edelen graduated cum laude with a B.A. in government and minors in English and history. After receiving offers from the University of Virginia Law School and Washington University Law School, Edelen chose a three-year National Defense Education Act Fellowship from the University of Kentucky. His goal was to work toward a Ph.D. in political science.

After his first year on the fellowship, Edelen received a Rotary International Foundation Fellowship to study political economics at the Victoria University of Manchester in England. Upon his return to Kentucky, Edelen earned a M.A. in political science. Before he could complete the Ph.D., he met Cheryl Ann Crawford from Henderson. Thus, it was 50 years ago that Cheryl became part of the Centre family.

In 1987, Edelen was invited to serve as the first director of the Kentucky Municipal Law Center located at Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law. While there, he expanded the services of the Center and published the quarterly Kentucky Municipal Law News.

Edelen also resumed teaching courses at NKU in undergraduate, graduate and law school for the next 20 years. Edelen has also been a devoted community member, serving as a city councilman and member of the zoning adjustments board in Lakeside Park.

Centre College

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