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Catawba College Hosts Service of Appreciation to Mark Campus Ministry Endowment

October 24, 2005

Category: Alumni, Students


Catawba College Trustees in town for their semi-annual meeting, along with donors, friends, students, faculty and staff members gathered in the Omwake Dearborn Chapel Monday, October 17 to mark the establishment of the Porter and Maria Seiwell Endowment for Campus Ministry.   The establishment of the $1 million endowment fund was a very significant way for two couples long associated with the College to both honor and remember their roots.  

Richard “Dick” ’67 and Linda Seiwell of West Chester, Pa., and Jim ’64 and Martha “Marty” ’63 Dayvault of Lakeland, Fla., took the initiative to set the endowment campaign into motion, according to Catawba College President Dr. Robert Knott.  

Dick Seiwell and his sister, Marty, are the children of the late Catawba College Campus Minister, the Reverend Porter Seiwell, and his wife Maria.   Through the establishment of this endowment, they recognized not only the importance of campus ministry to their parents but also to generations of Catawba students, and they spearheaded the endowment efforts as a way to sustain that ministry.   They pledged up to a total of $250,000 to match contributions to this effort and encouraged others whose lives had been touched by Catawba’s Campus Ministry to provide financial support also.

Many did, including Catawba Alumni Tom ’77 and Mary Jo ’75 Dennard of Charlotte who provided a $50,000 early lead gift.   More than 100 other individuals also participated in this campaign, including Catawba College Trustees the Rev. Drs. Richard Cheek ’47 and Billy Joe Leonard ’50, both of whom served as honorary chairmen for the campaign effort.  

“On behalf of the Dayvault/Seiwell families, I thank you all,” Richard Seiwell told those gathered.   “We are inspired and humbled by the generosity, love and support.   It’s been years since Marty or I have spoken in this Chapel – it was 33 years ago since I last spoke here, and 41 years ago since Marty last spoke here.   It was when our dad asked us one question and we said, ‘I do,’ two words that changed both of our lives forever.”  

“We were married here, our daughter Susan was baptized here and dad’s funeral was held here,” Marty Dayvault noted.   “Our parents loved this College and would be proud of the fact that so many people have contributed to continue their legacy of campus ministry.   Dad was fond of saying, ‘Remember your roots,’ and today, all of us say thank you for remembering your roots and for keeping the spirit of Mom and Dad alive through campus ministry.”

College President Knott called the late Pastor Porter Seiwell “part of Catawba’s lore,” and thanked the Seiwells and the Dayvaults for leading the effort which brought the community to celebrate the achievement of a $1 million endowment for campus ministry.  

The Service concluded with the unveiling of a plaque listing the names of donors which will be placed in the narthex of the Chapel.