Bob Nesmith.
Bob Nesmith.

Centre College Dean Celebrates Posse Partnership

Fall 2018 | National

Centre College Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Bob Nesmith has been the school’s Posse liaison since 2010. He is an alumnus of the college himself, having graduated with a degree in English in 1991.

“I am something like an eighth-generation Kentuckyan,” Bob says, sharing that he grew up in the suburbs of Louisville, not far from Centre. He had originally set his sights on becoming an English professor but, after a few years of graduate school, ultimately decided it wasn’t the right fit. When Centre had an opening for an admissions counselor, Bob leapt at the chance.

“I found that I really loved the work,” he says. “That was in 1995. And here I sit 23 years later having been lucky enough to grow in a place that I love.”

Posse has helped make us an even better community of learning.

Bob became director of admissions in 2006 and assumed his current role as dean in 2010. He’s seen the full arc of Posse’s growth on campus; the first Posse Scholars from Boston arrived at Centre in 2005.

“When I started here, we would count students of color in the entering class in single digits,” Bob says. “Diversity was very narrowly defined. Changing the profile of who we are has been really important and meaningful work.”

He points to Posse as having been a critical part of that change.

“For Centre, it’s significant to have students who come in trained in how to talk around diversity issues,” Bob says. “Most students don’t come in having had the opportunity to develop those skills. Posse Scholars do. That’s a gift they bring immediately.”

He notes that rural Kentucky does not lend Centre a natural geographic connection to any major American cities; a long-term partnership with Posse in Boston has given the admissions team a valued anchor.

Bob’s list of personal Posse highlights from over the years include working with Centre Posse alumnus Greg Chery as a colleague on the admissions team and his own winning performance of James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” at a PossePlus Retreat lip-synch battle. He’s proud that the school celebrated a 100 percent Posse graduation rate in the Class of 2018, including Posse Scholar Fulbright winner Peter O’Donnell.

“Joy is foundational to the culture of Posse,” he says. “What the program has done to transform Centre and help make us an even better community of learning has been so powerful.”