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Atlanta Couple Gives Back in Form of New Catawba Scholarship

March 17, 2008

Category: Academics, Alumni

AlvinesCatawba College Alumnus Andrew "Drew" Allvine '93 and his wife Blake Burton of Atlanta have established a new scholarship at the institution through a deferred gift of a life insurance policy. The Andrew Earl and Blake Burton Allvine Scholarship was established through Catawba's Tower Society.

Drew Allvine majored in International Business with an emphasis in Accounting and minored in German at Catawba.

"Blake and I believe we are here to serve others and give back to people and the community. It's not about us; it's about doing something for someone else. It's a gift. At Catawba, people invested in me without expecting anything in return. Now we're giving to others who might not otherwise be able to go to school and hopefully this gift will help shape their values and the world in a positive way."

AlvinesDrew's wife, Blake, a 2002 alumna of Georgia Tech, concurs with her husband about the gift. "Those who have more, God calls us to give more," she says. "It's so easy to be a consumer, but we all need to realize that what's going to leave a lasting impact and legacy is what you give back and how you serve others."   In keeping with this belief, Drew and Blake have both been on mission trips to Jamaica, Brazil, and most recently last July they journeyed to Beijing, China to work with orphans. They also are active with Camp Sunshine, a camp for children who have cancer and Lighthouse Family Retreat, a retreat for children with cancer and their families.

Blake recalls visiting Catawba with Drew and being pleasantly surprised at how many people knew him by name, despite the fact that he graduated more than a dozen years before. "Catawba holds a special place in his past," she notes. "Talking to Drew, I found out how much it meant to him, shaped him and how much he cares about the institution; when we visited, I understood why. The school genuinely cares about the students, and the people there don't forget faces and they don't forget names."

The Allvines say the new scholarship is also a way to honor both sets of their parents who "made sacrifices for us."   Drew's parents, Fred and Nancy Allvine, grew up in Kansas and now live in Atlanta. Blake's parents, Larry and Wanita Burton are originally from Iowa, but now reside in Ohio. In addition, through this scholarship they want to recognize their siblings who encouraged and supported them.

Ironically, Drew's father, a professor emeritus at Georgia Tech, met Blake when she was a student in his Introductory Marketing class. Later, Dr. Allvine was Blake's professor for an Independent Research study she took as she sought a marketing certificate to accompany her Business Management major.

Although Blake met Drew's parents two years before she met him, they did not provide the introduction that led to their engagement and ultimately their marriage in 2006. The couple actually met on a Singles Labor Day Retreat offered by their church, Buckhead Church, part of Northpoint Community Church.

Drew has been employed for six years by InterAct Public Safety Systems and is Senior Sales Vice President for its Southeast region. Brad Thompson, Drew's roommate at Catawba and a former employee of InterAct, personally recommended Drew for this job. InterAct, headquartered in Winston-Salem, sells public safety software solutions to E911 centers, law enforcement agencies, fire departments and EMS. Blake is an academic solutions consultant with Pearson Education, marketing college textbooks to seven institutions in the Southeast, including Clemson, Georgia Perimeter College, and Georgia Tech. Pearson Education is generously offering annual donations for the Allvine Scholarship as well.

The couple enjoys staying active by biking, running, lifting weights and golfing; they even did a sprint triathlon together. Drew played soccer while a student at Catawba and was on two National Championship Tournament teams. Drew was also a member of The Order of the Blue and the Whitener Award recipient. Blake, Drew notes, was a 1,000 point scorer on her high school basketball team, ran track in high school and also played on her high school golf team.

"We do a lot of entertaining from a golf perspective," Drew says and jokingly adds. "I have customers who'll call me and ask if Blake and I can play and if she's not available, they'll say ‘No thanks' to me."

Recalling his time at Catawba, Drew remembers with fondness the late Dr. Bruce Griffith, Professor Al Carter and Dr. Charlie McAllister, all whom he recalls "invested in me without wanting anything in return."   He says his Catawba soccer coaches also "gave me a chance and believed in me," while Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress "has made a big impact on me and has been helpful."

"The closeness that students have with the professors at Catawba definitely rings true for me," Drew says. "I got to know my professors on a personal basis. For example, Dr. Griffith had me over to his house for dinner. I met his wife and played crab soccer in the house with his sons destroying a good bit of it during our games. Dr. Griffith would come to every home soccer game as would Al Carter. I'd always talk to him before and after the games. He was very supportive and showed a real interest in me and the other players."

"These gentlemen gave me some good insights into their moral fiber. There was no giving of grades and no exceptions made in class. They were truly interested in growing us as individuals. They invested in us and shaped our character."

Drew remembers vividly the freshman program he participated in at Catawba, calling it "a unique approach." "We were asked to think about 'arete' or human excellence during the program and what makes a good person, a good life and a good community. It was a very exciting time of learning and growing for me; more of a practical introduction to the realization that everyone has God given gifts and talents. Each of us should cultivate those gifts not simply for personal benefit but for the good of others. This seed has taken root with Blake and me and has flourished with our Christian beliefs."  

Eric Nianouris, Catawba's director of major gifts and planned giving, says the Allvines are a wonderful example of a young couple who takes seriously their role in the greater society. "Catawba's future depends in large measure on people who make plans for it in their estates," he says. "We are grateful to the Allvines for stepping up and thinking long-term so early in their careers and life together."