Three Catawba College faculty members, with a combined 84 years of service to the institution, were recognized during the 2016 Commencement Exercises held Saturday, May 14. They included Drs. Lyn Boulter, Kurt Corriher and Charles McAllister.
Dr. Lyn Boulter
Psychology professor, Dr. Lyn Boulter, is retiring after three decades of service. She joined the college in 1986, and says she spent her tenure at Catawba being open to new experiences. In fact, she shares, that if anyone came to her with a new idea, "I'd always say, 'Yes'. For me," she continues, "it was an opportunity for a new experience."
Dr. Boulter's willingness to say yes to those new ideas and experiences led to the development of a Special Education major at Catawba, the development of several articulation agreements between area community colleges and Catawba, and the development of the Birth to Kindergarten program within Catawba's School of Evening and Graduate Studies. In fact, that B-K program actually draws the majority of its students from the area community colleges thanks to the articulation agreements Dr. Boulter helped create.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology-Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania at California, her Master of Science degree in Child Development – Family Relations from West Virginia University in Morgantown, and her Ph.D. in Life Span Development Psychology from West Virginia University.
Before joining the faculty at Catawba, Dr. Boulter was a lecturer in the Department of Psychology and Human Development at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. While earning her various academic degrees, she also spent time working as a caseworker in the special education program in the Pennsylvania Public Schools and for the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children.
This former chair of Catawba's Faculty Senate has been honored by the College with the President's Award for Community Service in 2014, the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching in 2003, and the Paul Fisher Service Award in 2001. In the Salisbury community, Professor Boulter has been honored by The ARC of Rowan County with its Volunteer of the Year Award in 2007 and by the Partners in Learning Child Development Center Board of Directors as the recipient of the Shirley Ritchie Service Award in 2004.
She shares these parting words with her students: "Stay away from the darkness, the negativeness of life. Be optimistic, be positive, and open to new experiences." Quoting Helen Keller she adds, "Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows."
Dr. Kurt Corriher
Dr. Kurt Corriher, a professor of German and the director of the Ketner Center for International Studies, was recognized for his 24 years of service to Catawba. This native of Rowan County and a former Fulbright Fellow to Vienna, Austria joined the faculty in 1992 teaching German.
Dr. Corriher earned his bachelor's degree with Honors in German from Davidson College, where he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and his M.F.A. in Acting and his Ph.D. in German Literature from UNC Chapel Hill.
When the Catawba reduced the foreign language requirement for students in the late 1990s, Dr. Corriher became a half-time professor of German and a half-time director of Catawba's fledgling Information Technology Department. He later moved into a role of teaching while also directing Catawba's former Hobbie Center for Value and Ethics, now the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values.
In 2003, Dr. Corriher was appointed director of Catawba's Center for International Studies, while still teaching his beloved German. He put his M.F.A. in Theatre to good use in the late 2000s as he became a Professor of Theatre Arts, while still directing the college's efforts in study aboard opportunities for its students.
He nurtured his acting, directing and fiction writing throughout his tenure at Catawba. To his credit, he has published two novels, directed three shows at the college, and acted in and directed numerous community theatre productions. He also collaborated with colleagues to nurture things of the spirit and the mind by working with the late Dr. Dan Brown in Salisbury's Center for Faith in the Arts that Brown founded. In fact, Dr. Corriher founded the Center for Faith in the Arts' drama company, Saint Thomas Players.
In his reassignments and shifts of duties at the College, Dr. Corriher picked up responsibility for booking speakers for Catawba's Community Forums. He brought notable names like Leonard Pitts, a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper columnist, and Dr. Jim Martin, a former N.C. Governor who had been one of his professors at Davidson, to campus.
Departing, he cites a quote from Goethe: "The more one learns, the less one knows," and shares these words with his former students: "I'm glad I got to know you and I wish you all the best in the world. I hope I made a small difference in your life."
Dr. Charles McAllister
Catawba recognized Dr. Charles McAllister, a professor of history who joined the college in 1986 bringing with him his passion for British History.
Dr. McAllister earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from King College, a Master of Arts degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Virginia. He also completed postgraduate study at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and at Oxford University.
Prior to joining the Catawba faculty, Dr. McAllister held posts at Piedmont Virginia Community College, Averett College, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
This native of Galax, Virginia, once shared: "I want to convey to the students my appreciation of history, the excitement and thrill of learning." Dr. McAllister did that with each of the 49 different courses he taught in a dozen areas in the liberal arts, including Art, History, Honors, Math, Music, Non-Western Perspective, Philosophy, Political Science, Religion, Sociology, and Theatre Arts.
This former chair of the History Department and former recipient of Catawba's Teacher of the Year Award says that his most memorable achievement as a faculty member has been "watching many students grow into responsible, interesting, and interested adults after graduation – and humbled that many still want me to be part of their lives."
Students throughout his tenure have not changed, Dr. McAllister contends, but says rather "They still come to us as intelligent, but inexperienced individuals unsure about themselves and their places in the world. It's our task to help them mature with the best learning experiences that we can provide inside the classroom and out."
He cites the Foundations of Civilization, a two-semester program offered for all Catawba's first-year students in the mid-1980s to 1990s as one of our institution's most memorable achievements. He remembers that it posed three important questions to all of its participants: What is a good person? What is a good life? And what is a good society?
As he retires, Dr. McAllister shares this parting advice to students and to faculty who come after him: "Never be satisfied with the first answer you get to any question."