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1949 Alumnus and His Spouse Provide Funds for Endowed Scholarship and Orientation Program at Catawba College

January 20, 2006

Category: Academics, Alumni, Students


Catawba College Alumnus Grady Shoe '49 and his wife, Frances, of Mooresville have provided a $100,000 gift to establish an endowed scholarship and an endowment for the College's annual Orientation Program.

The Grady Shoe Family Endowed Scholarship Fund will provide scholarship assistance for able and deserving students who demonstrate financial need.  Earnings from the Grady and Frances Shoe Endowment for Orientation will be used to offset college operating expenses for the new students' orientation program.  The orientation program, held each August the week before fall semester classes begin, helps more than 300 new students annually adjust to life at Catawba, introducing them to their academic advisors, the college catalog, the student handbook, policies regarding residence life, and other students.

"We are so grateful for the continued support that the Shoes have provided to Catawba College," says Catawba College Senior Vice President Tom Childress.  "Grady jokes and says he's paying back his alma mater for all it did for him, but with this magnificent gift, Catawba finds herself in his debt."

Childress notes that the Shoes have long contributed to the annual Catawba Fund, recent capital campaigns including the Campaign for Catawba and the Campaign for Excellence, and to the Shuford Stadium Campaign.

The Shoes, who are natives of Salisbury, were childhood sweethearts and will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary in June.  Grady Shoe has enjoyed a long and successful career as owner and operator of several Ford dealerships.  He recently stepped down as the sole owner of Mooresville Ford-Mercury.  Now his son, Jeff, and Chester "Junie" Michael III, a 1970 Catawba alumnus and a member of Catawba's Board of Trustees, own and operate that dealership, but Grady still works there.  He explains that he "stepped down, not out" of business.

Active in his community, he served as the first chairman of Mooresville's ABC Store Board and served for 30 years, from 1969 to 1999, as an elected commissioner for the Town of Mooresville.  He prides himself on being one of the community leaders there who pushed for business diversification during a time when textile industries in his area were going out of business.

A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, Shoe was honored in 2004 as the recipient of the State of North Carolina's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.  That presentation was made during a meeting of the Mooresville Downtown Commission and there, Shoe received both a standing ovation from his peers and credit for helping breathe new economic life into Mooresville's business and industry.

Other honors Shoe has received include Jaycees Boss of the Year, Kiwanian of the Year, Mooresville Outstanding Citizenship Award, the Ford Motor Company's President's Award and the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award (he was the only dealer in N.C. to receive this).  He serves on the board of directors for BB&T in Mooresville and is a member of the Carolinas Transportation Compact.  He has served as past chair of Lowrance Hospital, and as past member of both the Ford Consumer Appeals Board and the Selective Service System's Board #4.

Frances Shoe was an integral part of Mooresville Ford-Mercury, working alongside her husband at the dealership for more than 25 years.  The Shoes have been members of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Mooresville for more than 45 years, with both teaching Sunday school; Grady Shoe has taught for more than 30 years.  Frances is a member of the adult choir there and an active member of WELCA.  She also enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with their five grandchildren.  In addition to son Jeff, the Shoes have three other children, Randy, Ronnie, and Jane.