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Catawba College Trustees Announce Interim President, Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine

February 14, 2011

Category: Staff


OxendineDr. Joseph B. Oxendine, chancellor emeritus of UNC Pembroke, will be the new interim president of Catawba College, effective March 15.

The Catawba Board of Trustees made that official on Monday, February 14, after the executive committee of the Board put forth Oxendine's name as its interim candidate of choice during an executive session of the membership.

Oxendine, a 1952 alumnus of Catawba and a member of the Board of Trustees, will work in tandem with outgoing Catawba College President W. Craig Turner through the end of Turner's contract period on May 31. Turner gave notice to the Board in mid-January that he would not seek to renew his contract at Catawba after it expired and pledged at that time to aid in a smooth transition.

Board Chairman Paul E. Fisher referred to the spring transition period as "a baton handoff between two college presidents" and said it will allow Oxendine "to get a head start on the fall."

Oxendine"One will be a consultant and one will be the new interim president, and doing this correctly, we should have a great start on the fall and a successful 2011-2012 academic year," Fisher said. "We have two men who are committed to doing what's best for the college, students, faculty and staff. There will be cooperation from both, respect from both, and I anticipate absolutely zero problems."

Fisher said that in conversations with Turner "we discussed that much of the planning for the fall takes place in the spring at the college and we agreed that the interim president should come in as early as possible."   That is possible because of Oxendine's availability and willingness to serve as interim president.

Until the end of May, Turner will continue to live in the president's house, keep his office and join Oxendine in Catawba's May 14 graduation ceremonies, Fisher explained. Oxendine and his wife, Adrienne, will live on campus and will remain at Catawba until a new president is found and elected. Fisher indicated that Oxendine has committed to stay on as interim president until that happens.

Fisher called Oxendine "a team player, a great listener and a good communicator."

 "His mannerisms will be soothing to the campus and his wisdom will be a great part of the value that he brings. He will be encouraged to make changes even before a new president gets here," Fisher said.

OxendineAlthough Oxendine's election as interim president assures that Catawba has stability at its helm, work will begin immediately to find Turner's replacement. During their executive session, trustees also approved the chair of the new presidential search committee. Catawba Trustee and Salisbury attorney William "Bill" Graham '83 will chair that committee, the membership of which has yet to be appointed.

About Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine
A  native of Pembroke, N.C., Oxendine served as chancellor of UNC Pembroke from 1989-1999. During his tenure there, the institution changed its name from Pembroke State University, its Carnegie Foundation classification to Comprehensive I, and its athletic conference from NAIA to NCAA II. New degree programs were also added under Oxendine's leadership, including a RN-BSN nursing program (offered jointly with Fayetteville State University), an MBA program, MA degrees in Agency Counseling and School Counseling, and bachelors degrees in Criminal Justice, Community Health Education, American Studies, Mass Communications, and Birth-Kindergarten. The landscape of the UNC Pembroke also changed during this period, with new, expanded, and renovated buildings, and an increase in student diversity.

Tributes to Oxendine's leadership at UNC Pembroke came readily as he retired from that institution. Former University of North Carolina System President Molly Broad said of him:

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"He is a man whose heart is in this community. I am truly impressed by his quiet strength. He was raised on a tobacco farm and has not forgotten his roots. That is a measure of his personal stature and character. For nearly a decade, Chancellor Oxendine has worked to raise the stature and visibility of UNC Pembroke, and he has met with success on many fronts."

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C.D. Spangler, Jr., also past president of the University of North Carolina System, made these comments about Oxendine:

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"I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Chancellor Oxendine during his stay at Pembroke State University, now UNC Pembroke. In my opinion, he was the perfect person for Pembroke during that time. Dr. Oxendine is good company, possessing the talent to make those around him feel good about themselves. He is an optimist, a man who gets things done rather than just talk about them. Perhaps most importantly, he is a man of high character and morals."

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In 2007, the C.D. Spangler Foundation, Inc. made a $250,000 gift to UNC Pembroke to establish a Distinguished Professors Endowment named in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Joseph B. Oxendine.

Oxendine grew up on a tobacco farm in Pembroke. He graduated from Catawba College in 1952, and earned his master's of education degree from Boston University in 1953 and his doctorate of education from Boston University in 1959.

He worked in automobile factories in Detroit, Michigan, played professional baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates Minor League System for three years, and served in the U.S. Army from 1953-1955 in Korea and Hawaii.

He was a teacher and athletic coach in the Lynchburg Public Schools in Virginia between 1955 and 1957, before becoming a Teaching Fellow at Boston University between 1957 and 1959. For 30 years, between 1959 and 1989, he served as dean and professor at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Oxendine has authored two books:   "American Indian Sports Heritage," two editions (1988/1995), University of Nebraska Press; and "Psychology of Motor Learning," two editions (1968/1984), Prentice-Hall, Incorporated. He also has authored three dozen professional and research articles, and five chapters in books on motor learning.

His honors and accolades are numerous. Catawba honored him in 2007 with its O.B. Michael Award, inducted him into its Sports Hall of Fame in 1978, and awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1979. Boston University honored him with its Alumni Award for Distinguished Public Service in 1978, while Temple University awarded him its Stauffer Award for Outstanding Faculty Service in 1989. He received the R. Tait McKenzie Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in 1993 and the Charles D. Henry Award for the enhancement of ethnic minority members in 1989.

Oxendine serves or has served on the board of directors for the Lost Colony; the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges; the National Institute of Health's Office of Minority Programs; the Fact-Finding Team of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; and the Advisory Council for the N.C. Center for Nursing.

Oxendine has been married for 50 years to the former Adrienne McNaughton of Philadelphia and the two are parents of two adult children, James Thomas and Jean Marie.


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