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Church/College Award Presented and New Fund for Volunteer Service Announced

April 27, 2009

Category: Alumni, Events


Dr. Richard CheekA long-serving member of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, who is both an alumnus and a retired United Church of Christ minister, was honored Thursday, April 16th with the institution's Campus Ministry Church/College Award.

The Reverend Dr. Richard Albright Cheek '47 received the award in recognition of his more than six decades of service to both the Church and the College at an event held in the Hurley Room on campus. In making the presentation, Paul Fisher, chairman of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, called Reverend Cheek "a valued counselor and advisor to many" who has "worked tirelessly to advance both and to champion the vital relationship" between the College and the United Church of Christ.

Born into a family with strong church ties, Reverend Cheek was active in the youth program of his church as a young man. He later attended Catawba where he was a member of the football team that won the Tangerine Bowl. After his college graduation, he prepared for the ministry at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He returned to the Southern Synod to serve pastorates in Rockwell and Thomasville and emerged as a leader on all levels of the denomination.

Reverend Cheek served on the steering committee to form the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ, was the UCC representative to the National Council of Churches and served on the Board for World Ministries of the denomination. He left North Carolina for a long and distinguished pastorate at St. John's United Church of Christ in Richmond, Virginia, and later returned to his home state to become the Associate Conference Minister of the Southern Conference, a position he held until his retirement.

During these years of outstanding service to the Church, it was noted, Reverend Cheek also showed great dedication to Catawba College. In 1963, he was honored with the Catawba Alumni Award. This was followed by other top awards presented by the College including the O.B. Michael Award for distinguished service and an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

Reverend Cheek served on the Catawba Board of Trustees for over 36 years, chairing its Student Affairs Committee. He served as the co-chairman of the church division of the Catawba Challenge Campaign and chaired the committee to raise the funds and build the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on Catawba's campus.

Reverend Cheek is married to Helen Jones Cheek and the two are parents of three adult children.

Catawba's Campus Ministry Church/College Award was presented for the first time in 2008. Its inaugural recipients were Claude Abernethy, Jr. and Wade Hampton Shuford, Jr.


Professor Joyce CaddellFund for Volunteerism Announced
At the April 16th event, the establishment of the Professor Joyce Caddell Fund for Volunteerism was announced by senior Nathan Wrights of China Grove. The fund was established by Professor Caddell's husband Thomas, an attorney in Salisbury, in recognition of Professor Caddell's long-standing practice of volunteering. The fund will be used to provide program monies for the campus' volunteer efforts, including transportation, supplies for mission building projects and supplies for mentors working with at-risk students.

Professor Caddell, who was a faculty member in the Catawba mathematics department for more than 20 years until her retirement in 2008, has volunteered on more than a dozen mission trips, a dozen freshman retreats and is active in the local community and in the outreach of her church.


Paul Fisher Service Awards
Paul FisherTwo individuals were recognized as recipients of the Paul Fisher Service Award, and Paul Fisher, chairman of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, was on hand to make these presentations. G. Ben Smith, assistant director of residence life and coordinator of wellness programs, and student Jenna Matthews of Staunton, Va., were both recognized; Smith, for his work with the annual duck draw on campus which has raised funds to feed more than 500 needy families Thanksgiving dinner, and Matthews, for her extensive work with children with disabilities as well as the underprivileged.

The annual Paul Fisher Service Scholarship was presented to Devin Rodgers, a sophomore from Glen Burnie, Md., and a member of the soccer team, in recognition of his extensive work with Rowan Helping Ministries and leadership of environmental concerns.

In making these award presentations, Fisher encouraged those gathered to "get off the four-lane highway" and "choose the road less travelled" – to slow down and make a difference in someone's life through service.  


New Donors Recognized
New donors making gifts over the past year to the Porter and Maria Seiwell Endowed Chair for Campus Ministry were acknowledged. These include:

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  • Bethel United Church of Christ of Hickory ;
  • Bethel Bear Creek United Church of Christ ;
  • Mr. Ryan Buchanan ;
  • Calvary United Church of Christ of Thomasville ;
  • Mr. Douglas Carroll  ;
  • First Congregational United Church of Christ of Asheville ;
  • Mr. Harold Freeman ;
  • Mrs. Linda Hamilton ;
  • Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Hare ;
  • The Rev. Johnny Lengel ;
  • Mr. and Mrs. Wally Lingerfelt ;
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Shrum Little ;
  • The Rev. Matthew and Melinda Coble Pinson ;
  • Ms. Joanne Deitch Popovich ;
  • Mr. and Mrs. David Snyder ;
  • Mrs. Carolyn Yearick Williams ;
  • The Rev. Dr. Joseph Wise and Barbara Goodnight Wise ;
  • Mr. Benjamin Yearick ;
  • The Rev. Kenneth Yearick ;
  • Ms. Ruth Anne Yearick-Jones
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