Dan Bross '71, 2016 commencement speaker
and recipient of the O.B. Michael Award
"Success and failure always look immediate but they never are," Catawba College's commencement speaker, Daniel T. Bross '71, told members of the Class of 2016 on Saturday, May 14. The Microsoft executive was sharing a quote he had recently heard from a fellow Microsoft executive that he asked the graduates to consider along with three words that he said represent his life's journey: "explore, risk and grow."
"My life experiences have shown me that through exploration and risk taking I have grown," he said, as he briefly took the audience on some milestones in his life since his own Catawba graduation "45 Mays ago."
Catawba College awarded more than 255 baccalaureate degrees and three master of education degrees on May 14, the day the City of Salisbury declared as Catawba College Day. During two separate ceremonies held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., members of the Class of 2016 in the traditional day program and in the School of Evening and Graduate studies received their diplomas in a crowded Keppel Auditorium.
The ceremonies, conducted at the conclusion of Catawba's 165th year since its founding in Newton in 1851, also marked the institution's 90th year of its relocation to Salisbury (it reopened in Salisbury for the 1925-1926 academic year).
For College President Brien Lewis, who joined Catawba in 2012, members of the Class of 2016 were the first to arrive at the college as freshmen and also graduate during his four-year tenure.
"We did this together," he joked as he shared remarks during the ceremonies. He told graduates, "As you go forth, know that Catawba will watch and support you as you follow your dreams, your hearts and your intuition and we will celebrate proudly with you as you reach your highest potential."
In addition to the City of Salisbury proclamation shared by Salisbury Mayor Karen Kirks Alexander, graduates heard from College Board of Trustees Chair Darlene Ball. Ball shared: "You know, life is like a camera – focus on what's important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, take another shot. Our best wishes to you – take your time leaving, and hurry back; Homecoming is October 28th."
O.B. Michael Award
In addition to awarding degrees, the College also bestowed accolades on several graduates and Bross, the commencement speaker. Bross was the recipient of the 2016 O.B. Michael Distinguished Alumnus Award, presented annually since 1938 by the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association. It is given to a graduate of the College who has made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the larger society.
In making the presentation to Bross, College President Brien Lewis called him, "A man of integrity who sees value, worth and potential in his fellow humans."
Bross serves as Senior Director in Microsoft's Business and Corporate Responsibility team and the Executive Director of the Microsoft Technology and Human Rights Center. He earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Catawba and his master's degree in Public Administration from George Washington University, and now lives in New York City.
He joined Microsoft in 1998, arriving with a background in public policy and government affairs both in the public and private sectors. In his current roles at the corporation, he works closely with partners across Microsoft on issues related to human rights, supply chain management and corporate governance. He also leads efforts in the areas of stakeholder engagement, strategic third party relationship management and CSR reporting. In 2002, he led a cross-company virtual team that developed Microsoft's global Corporate Responsibility Program.
In addition to his corporate experience, Dan has management and program development experience in the nonprofit sector. During his tenure as Executive Director AIDS Action Council, from 1990 to 1995, he chaired a national HIV/AIDS coalition of health and human service organizations and non-governmental organizations and served as an advisor to President Clinton's Domestic Policy Advisor on the structuring and staffing of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. A member of the Catawba Board of Trustees, the World Economic Forum's Human Rights Global Agenda Council and the Board of Directors of the Global Business Coalition Against Trafficking (gBCAT). He is also Co-Chair of the Conference Board Committee on Corporate Political Spending and Co-Executive Sponsor of GLEAM (Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft).
Ashley M. Everidge of Hamptonville and Joshua D. Hill of Fayetteville were recipients of the Whitener Awards, the most prestigious awards given by the College to graduating seniors in the traditional day program. These awards have been presented each year at graduation since 1927 in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, who served as a trustee of Catawba College from 1921 to 1966 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944.
The medals honor the man and woman in the graduating class who embody, to a high degree, the qualities of good character, leadership, and scholarship. Recipients are nominated, with final selections made by the faculty.
Everidge has served as a Writing Center tutor, a member of Wigwam, a member of the Retreat Leadership Corp, as a Catawba Guide, a member of the Student Government Association, as the Arrowhead editor, as an Alpha Chi president and vice president, as a Junior Marshal, a Teaching Fellow, and as an Honors Program member. She also served on the Campus Master Plan Committee, and as co-chair of the Honor Code Review Group. Off campus, she has spent time working at Rowan Helping Ministries, at Salisbury High School, at Partners in Learning, and on Highway Clean-up.
During his undergraduate career, Hill pursued dual academic majors in Accounting and Economics and Finance. He is the only student in his graduating class to have earned College Honors by researching and writing a thesis. His was entitled, "SOX with Holes: An Investigation of the Loopholes and Omissions in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act." Hill served on the Honors Council for the past four years as the council's president for two years, and as its service coordinator for a year. He worked in the Writing Center, and was one of the students tapped to provide Supplemental Instruction for fellow students in several classes. He was a Junior Marshal and a Resident Assistant, a member of the Dead Athenian Society (DAS), the Alpha Chi Honor Society, and the Order of the Blue and White. He helped co-found and has co-managed the Student Managed Investment Fund on campus.
In the broader community, Hill worked at Rowan Helping Ministries' Crisis Assistance Network interviewing clients and helping determine their needs, and also led multiple highway cleanups.
After Catawba, Hill will move to the Raleigh area where he has accepted an offer of a graduate fellowship at N.C. State University to further his education in accounting and economics. Upon successful completion of this fellowship, he will be guaranteed employment with one of the big accounting firms of his choice.
L-R: Winders and Feriante
Barbara Andrews Awards
Carla Ashley Winders of Salisbury and Stephanie Feriante of Granite Quarry, two graduates in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies were recipients of the Barbara Andrews Award.
The Barbara Andrews Award is presented annually to the graduating senior(s) in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies who most successfully embodies the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship. It was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews, the first director of this Program at Catawba College. The selection is made by the Catawba College faculty from the six graduating seniors in the program with the highest grade point averages. Students eligible are those who have attended Catawba for at least two years and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.
A lifelong Salisbury resident, Winders graduated from Salisbury High School almost a decade before entering Catawba as first-time freshman in the fall of 2012. When she came to Catawba, she worked in a local retail store, and then advanced her career to another field that she has become quite passionate about. An entrepreneur, she started a retail and online clothing store for women's fashion. During her time as an undergraduate, she married a local Salisbury resident and the two are expecting a second child, a little girl, to be a playmate to her son. Throughout her studies, she was a Dean's List student, inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society in the spring of 2015. She served as president of this honor society for adult undergraduates during the 2015-2016 academic year. She maintained an outstanding academic record ending her studies with a 3.94 GPA.
Ferantie began her studies in our School of Evening and Graduate Studies in the fall of 2013. Almost 20 years after she began pursuing an undergraduate degree, she transferred credits to Catawba from Brigham Young University in Utah. Here, she pursued a bachelor of business administration with a concentration in business management. A graduate of Charlotte Country Day School, she now works in the all-important and rapidly growing medical field as a practice and clinic manager. She recently reported to Catawba administrators that her degree did in fact help her advance her career. A Dean's List student during her years at the College, she was part of a very special group of students who maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA during their undergraduate studies.