With their sights set on their futures, 276 Catawba College graduates received their diplomas Saturday, May 15 in two separate ceremonies held in Keppel Auditorium on campus. The ceremonies marked the institution's 159th year, but marked for most of the graduates, the beginning of their professional journeys.
"I'll be going to one of the top schools for education in the country and I would never have dreamed of that," said 2010 Catawba College graduate Andrea Clabaugh of York, Pa. Clabaugh, who majored in psychology and minored in German at Catawba, will enter a yearlong Master of Arts in Teaching program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., in July. She was one of only 15 students accepted into the School Immersion program there and is hoping that a master's degree from such a prestigious institution "will open doors."
Kali McCullough of Columbia, Tenn., will be heading to France in September. The Catawba honors graduate who majored in French has landed a paid assistantship sponsored by the French Ministry of Education and the Cultural Services Department of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. She will be one of 1,500 American citizens working as teaching assistants in a cultural exchange program aimed at strengthening English language speaking abilities of French students. She will be stationed in Dijon and will spend nine months teaching English to elementary-aged French students.
"It's exciting to already have ae job and to be able to avoid the U.S. economy by moving out of the country," McCullough said. "I'm really excited about doing something that no one I know has ever done before."
Twenty-year-old Lisa Easter of Landera Ranch, Calif., worked hard to complete her degree in music business so she could graduate in three years instead of four. She wanted to get into the music business field early. "The younger you are when you get into the industry, the deeper you can delve into it," she explained last fall.
Easter learned in late January that she had landed a job as a "merch girl" (selling merchandise) for the band Automatic Loveletter on the Vans' Warped Tour that runs from June 24 through August 15. This will be Easter's second consecutive year on the Warped Tour and although she is not quite living her dream as performer, she will be working in the music industry.
"I'll be teaching guitar this summer in Catawba's Community Music program and doing the tour thing," explained graduate Derek Daisey of Milton, Del., also a music business major. "In August, I'll relocate to Charleston, S.C., and try to teach there, do the music thing, work on a new album and all that."
Graduate Cyle Peterson of Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada, is going to law school at the University of Victoria this fall, while graduate Tim Livengood of Salisbury will enter graduate school at Pfeiffer University, pursuing a master's degree in leadership and organizational change.
"With the job market like it is now, it's easier to go to graduate school than to try to obtain a job and try to go to graduate school later," Livengood said.
Others in Catawba's class of 2010 are less certain of their plans after graduation.
"I think the relief came when I saw those final grades," noted graduate Rob Fields of Orangeburg, S.C., who played basketball during his four years at Catawba. "For me, graduation is a case of completion. For me, that's a special feeling that I actually got this done and I did it well." Fields wants to go to graduate school or to play basketball overseas, but he has not yet finalized his plans.
Neither has graduate Christine Shuster of Jackson, N.J. "I plan to move back home and get a job in New York," she said.
President's Charge to the Graduates
During his charge to the graduates, President Dr. W. Craig Turner shared advice he found in a piece of great literature.
Reading a passage from Harper Lee's novel "To Kill a Mockingbird," Turner recalled the characters of Boo Raldey and Atticus Finch. He pointed out Atticus Finch's "capacity to see differing points of view, to choose the moral course of action (regardless of what others say), and to demonstrate a heart that reaches out in compassion." He encouraged the graduates "to stand in others' shoes with a compassionate, caring heart."
Retiring Faculty Member Honored
Catawba's commencement exercises marked the final academic year for faculty member, Dr. Albert E. "Robin" Roberts, who is retiring from the college after 40 years of service. Roberts, a professor and chair of psychology, received notoriety during his tenure for his research work in neuroimaging. When he first began, his research was in stroke and stroke prognosis, but he later moved into Alzheimer's research. He used the transcranial Doppler machine to determine how the speed of blood changes when people think or do various tasks. His research work led to grants, including one from the National institute of Health, and took him to international conferences in places like Austria, Germany, Canada, and Puerto Rico. His papers were published in a variety of scholarly periodicals.
At Catawba, Roberts was honored in 1982 as the recipients of the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching, and in 1997, he was named Catawba's Jefferson-Pilot Professor of Humanities. At the college's Awards Convocation in April of this year, Roberts received the Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College.
Married to wife Sally, Roberts and she make their home in Salisbury and are parents of an adult son and daughter, and are grandparents to four grandchildren.
PHOTO: Graduation 2010
Alumnus and Three Graduating Seniors Recognized at Commencement
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"Pass It On," Baccalaureate Speaker Tells Catawba Graduates
Retiring Faculty Member Gives Keynote Address at Alph Chi Induction
Graduating Seniors Active in Job Search