Since 1819, the College’s purpose has been the full intellectual, social, physical, ethical, and spiritual development of students.  Although Centre’s roots are Presbyterian, the Religious Life Office is designed to celebrate our religious diversity.

The largest group on campus, religiously, is Catholic, followed by Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Christian Church/Disciples.  Centre also has students who are Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim, as well as a dozen additional Christian denominations.

The Religious Life office can provide extensive information on internships, volunteer positions, mission opportunities, and career options in the areas of social service, mission, or peace and justice work.  Please feel free to come by for information, conversation, or inspiration.

A large gathering space in the basement of Yerkes has been made available for campus religious groups to meet.  The “sacred space” is an ideal place for prayer groups, discussion groups, practice of meditation, and other gatherings.  To reserve this space, email Dr. Rick Axtell.

Centre named a top religious college by

March 4, 2016. Centre College was recognized as one of the top religious colleges in the U.S. by While the national ranking acknowledges Centre’s founding Presbyterian heritage, the designation also signals the College’s strong sense of community, civility and open-mindedness as an institution inclusive of all faiths and religious studies.

“A long and rich tradition of tolerance, freedom of inquiry and community informs all aspects of life at Centre,” says H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain Rick Axtell. “This spirit of respect for diversity is central to who we are and reflective of our Presbyterian heritage.”

From the classroom to campus activities, religious life plays an important role for students of all faiths at Centre, and the College’s Religious Life Office aims to foster a respectful environment for all. Approximately 25 different religious denominations are identified on campus, many of them represented by student organizations such as CentreFaith, the interfaith group that provides opportunities for different traditions to come together for dialogue. More…

Connect students with the work of local congregations

Local congregations sponsor Sunday School classes and other college programs, and occasionally they host lunches and dinners for students. We serve as a resource for connecting students to a congregational home while they are here at Centre.

Promote vital religious life and greater religious understanding on campus

Services are held for Advent and Lent and Special events such as a Passover Seder and an Eid al Fitr commemorating the end of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan; and an annual interfaith dialogue series featuring speakers from Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim traditions. CentreFaith is a student-led campus interfaith dialogue organization that sponsors discussions, films, and events from various religious traditions throughout the year. In addition, six student-led religious groups foster fellowship and special events.


Develop the moral and ethical conscience of students as socially responsible citizens

  • CentrePeace, a group that works to educate the community on issues related to peace, human rights, social justice, immigration, war and peace, and capital punishment.
  • “Religion, Human Rights, and Latin America” is a series that brings speakers annually from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, Nicaragua, or Honduras to share with us the realities of their situations.
  • Poverty and Homelessness Week is an annual emphasis that includes workdays in Louisville shelters, education programs, a fast for hunger, and other ways to work on hunger relief.

Spiritual advising and vocational exploration

  • Internships
  • Seminary and Divinity school explorations

Richard D. Axtell

Rick Axtell
H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion • College Chaplain Religion Work Crounse Hall—452 Work Phone: 859.238.5342

Rick Axtell is H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain at Centre College. Axtell initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2003 and 2008, and received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching in 2000 and 2015. In 2012, he was included in The Princeton Review’s The Best 300 Professors.

Concerned about issues of hunger and homelessness, he has served as director of Louisville United Against Hunger and also was a case manager working with homeless men through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Axtell’s travels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia, and Thailand have informed his teaching on issues of hunger, human trafficking, sustainable development, and peacemaking. In 2006, he taught in the UNESCO International M.A. Program in Peace and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain.

Recent research includes employment trends for day laborers in Louisville’s homeless population and interviews with public housing residents who were relocated in Louisville’s HOPE VI housing redevelopment. He is the co-author of The Other Side of HOPE: Squandering Social Capital in Louisville’s HOPE VI, published in Journal of Poverty in 2015. Axtell is also the co-editor of Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2015).

Axtell has also studied liberation theology and religion and violence in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. His articles on the topic of religion and violence have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion and War and The Merton Annual.

He has led Centre students studying abroad in Cuba, England, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Axtell holds a B.A. degree from Mississippi College. He earned M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed other advanced studies at the University of Notre Dame.


File last updated: 06/10/15


EXPERT: Homelessness and poverty — World hunger — Religion and violence — Liberation theology — Development, human rights, and sustainability — Christian ethics — Social justice

Expertise on issues of hunger and homelessness; former director of Louisville United Against Hunger and case manager working with homeless men. Has guided students to first-hand understanding of homeless shelters. Research on day laborers; public housing residents displaced by HOPE VI. Travel and study in Bangladesh, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua focused on sustainable development, human rights, and poverty. Honored as a teacher and a hunger activist.


Baptist Campus Ministry

 Kelly Anne Webb:

 Steven Newton:; 859.236.5350

Catholic Newman Club

 Ben Harnden:

 Dr. Christina Garcia:

Centre Christian Fellowship (CCF)

 Wednesday at 9:00pm in the Ewen Room

 Dr. Steve Asmus:


 Kate Himick:

 Dr. Rick Axtell:


 Kate Leahey:

 Dr. Rick Axtell:

Jewish Student Organization

 Ava Pinales:

 Jake Burns:

 Dr. Shana Sippy:

Meditation Centre

 Wednesday at 7:00pm in Yerkes Religious Life Room

 Dr. Aaron Godlaski:

Muslim Student Association

 Friday Jumah at 4:30pm in Yerkes Religious Life Room

 Ryan Farhab:

 Sarah Ali:

 Muhammad Mujtaba:

 Dr. Matthew Pierce:

South Asian Student Organization

 Yash Kshirsagar:

 Roop Patel: