Conference History

Centennial Conference (1992-present)
On June 4, 1981, Keith Spalding, president of Franklin & Marshall College, made the announcement that “eight private colleges found it timely and appropriate to form a round-robin football schedule among institutions with similar attitudes and practices in intercollegiate football competition.” With that statement, the Centennial Conference was born.

From 1983-92, the eight private colleges – Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Johns Hopkins University, Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College, Ursinus College and Western Maryland (now McDaniel) College – participated in a football-only conference. Because of the success in operating the Centennial Football Conference, the presidents began to study the feasibility of an all-sports conference early in 1991. The presidents received a positive report from an ad hoc committee in March 1992, which also recommended that Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and Washington College be invited to join as charter members.

On April 29, 1992, Gordon A. Haaland, president of Gettysburg College and acting chairman of the committee of the original eight presidents, announced the expansion of the Conference to an all-sports conference. He also announced that Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Washington had accepted the invitations to become charter members.

A purpose and mission statement adopted by the presidents stated, “recognizing that our fundamental purpose is the academic mission of institutions, we agree to establish an all-sports conference in the spirit of rationalizing our competition by controlling travel, schedule and costs. The Conference will be controlled by the presidents of the member institutions.”

The Centennial Conference encourages athletic competition among national liberal arts colleges and universities that share similar academic aspirations and a commitment to the importance of the total educational experience of students engaged in sports. Intercollegiate athletics programs are an integral part of the life of the member institutions and flow from their educational objectives. Each institution provides a comprehensive, broad-based athletics program. All varsity sports are treated equitably, and every sport is important.

[Excerpts of Centennial Conference history taken from the Centennial Conference website:]