Distinguished AgEcon Alumni

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Kenneth L. Schwab

B.S., Agricultural Economics, 1969
President, Centenary College of Louisiana

Schwab PhotoEvery Piece Tells a Story

Kenneth Schwab sees many lives in pieces of wood, and his visions inspire handcrafted furniture designed to link generations.

An old walnut tree on the family’s Wolcott, Ind., dairy farm captured his heart and imagination, Schwab says. When the tree was cut down, he kept several large pieces. And when Schwab took up woodworking years later, he honed his skills on the pieces of wood that represented family, permanency, and roots, fashioning an intricate loveseat that graces the entryway of his Shreveport, LA., home.

“Woodworking is very therapeutic,” Schwab says. “It’s so rewarding to have tangible, hands-on evidence of completing a task. I don’t always experience that in the ‘people’ business.”

A handcrafted wooden rocking horse stands sentry in the entryway as well. His three sons have long outgrown it, but the toy remains a sentimental favorite, Schwab says.

Hidden treasures are joys as well. Schwab is always on the hunt for antiques and he’s an avid refinisher. “I like to find old furniture that’s been painted.” He says. “It’s rewarding to liberate the beautiful wood that lies under the surface.”

Stories lie beneath the veneers as well. A cabinet, handcrafted by Schwab’s great, great, great-grandfather and passed down to the oldest son of each generation, serves as an enduring lesson in history and perspective.

“I look at that piece every day, and I’m reminded of its many lives in many different homes throughout the decades.” Schwab says. “It carries an incredibly rich history.”

“I find the older I get, the more connected I am with family and heritage. My family is my passion.

1969 B.S., Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, Outstanding Senior
1970 Special Education Teacher, Defiance City Schools
1970-74 Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Operations, Guilford College
1972 M.S., Education, Guidance and Counseling, University of North Carolina
1974-80 Dean of Students, Guilford College
1978 Ph.D., Education, Indiana University
1980-86 Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning and Community Relations, Guilford College
1986-88 Executive Assistant to the President for Institutional Planning, University of South Carolina
1988-91 Executive Vice President for Administration, University of South Carolina
1991 President, Centenary College of Louisiana

“The most rewarding aspect of my career is my involvement with young people, and the opportunity to provide them with access to knowledge that will make their lives richer. Today’s college students are creative and intelligent, with a tremendous commitment to the basic values that have made this country great. The future of the world is in good hands.”


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