The Catawba College Alumni Association recognized two of its own as recipients of Distinguished Alumnus Awards during Homecoming activities on October 9. Gregory M. Alcorn '79 of Salisbury and Thomas E. "Tom" Burdette '73 of Clifton, Va., received the awards during a barbecue luncheon held in Goodman Gymnasium on campus.
These awards are given annually by Catawba's Alumni Association to individuals who have served their community, distinguished themselves in their profession, and have also served the Catawba College community. College President Dr. Craig Turner made the presentations, assisted by Jolene Miller Henning '96, president of the Catawba Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Lynn Shuping Gullett '84 who serves the Alumni Association as vice president of the alumni records and recognition committee.
Gregory M. Alcorn '79
A 1979 alumnus, Greg Alcorn of Salisbury, is the CEO and owner of Global Contact Services. He jokes that he grew up on the Catawba campus before he actually became a student here since his family lived in the nearby neighborhood. While a student at Catawba, he was involved in the Pioneer, student newspaper; the coffeehouse on campus; and the sales and marketing club. He majored in business as an undergraduate, and later earned his MBA from UNC Charlotte.
Alcorn has served Catawba in a number of capacities. He is a member of the College Board of Trustees and chairs the enrollment committee of that board. He serves as a Board of Trustees liaison to the President's Climate Commitment Committee that recently developed a Climate Action Plan for the institution. He serves on the Lilly Center Advisory Council and is a past president of the Catawba College Chiefs Club. He has been tapped to serve on Catawba's presidential search committee, to assist with fund-raising efforts and as a guest speaker at the college.
A member of the First United Church of Christ in Salisbury, Alcorn is active in the community. He is a trustee and chair of the First UCC Foundation and past council president of First United Church of Christ. He chairs the board of the United Church Homes and Services and also the board of Salisbury Academy, and serves as a board member for the Community Bank of Rowan. He is a member of the Salisbury Community Foundation, the AAUW, and the American Bankers Insurance Association. He is also an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts.
Alcorn is the son of Edith Alcorn of Salisbury and the late Reverend Ed Alcorn. He and wife Missie are parents of two children, Clark and Eleanor.
In accepting his award Alcorn said, "I don't think I'll ever have a chance to give back to Catawba what it has given me, but I'll try." He also recognized the Catawba College students of today that he had had a chance to meet, noting that they have "an eyes wide open approach" to their future.
Thomas E. "Tom" Burdette '73
A 1973 alumnus, Tom Burdette today makes his home in Clifton, Va., and is a CPA and managing shareholder of The Burdette Smith Group, P.C.
Burdette came south from his hometown of Hyattstown, Maryland, to study accounting and play football at Catawba. He was a starter in the defensive secondary during all four of his years at Catawba, coached by Harvey Stratton. He was named All Conference and All District as a senior player at the college. While a student, he was also active in intramurals, served as treasurer of the student government association during his senior year, and served as treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) during his junior and senior years. He was a member of the Accounting Club, and during his senior year, he was named to Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Several years after his Catawba graduation, he quickly made a name for himself when at age 27, he started his own CPA firm in the Washington, D.C. area. Today, his firm, The Burdette Smith Group, P.C., employs approximately 40 people, and his area of expertise is dealing with high income, high net worth individuals who mostly own their own businesses. His business has been named Best Professional Firm by the Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and Burdette has been named Business Leader of the Year by that same organization.
Burdette currently serves on Catawba's Board of Visitors and has served on its Alumni Board, and has long supported fund-raising efforts related to the institution's football program. He contributed to the Shuford Stadium construction effort and to the grassroots campaign that raised funds to put lights in that stadium.
He serves on the board of directors for Potomac Bank of Virginia and is past president of Central Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, the Country Club of Fairfax and the Fairfax Rotary Club. He is a member of Burke United Methodist Church.
Married to wife Wendy, the two are parents of four children, Allie, Jeff, Wes and Amanda.
In accepting his award Burdette said, "I was lucky to have chosen Catawba over the other schools that recruited me. A lot of us could have gone to another school academically and athletically, but I know I made a good choice when I chose Catawba."
PHOTOS: Distinguished Alumni Awards