"It was thanks to my First Family Scholarship that I was able to enjoy a truly life-changing experience at Catawba College, both inside and outside the classroom, " Senior Katie Phelps of Prince Frederick, Md., said at the annual First Family Scholarship Luncheon held Oct. 27. She spoke on behalf of her fellow scholars at the event held in Peeler Crystal Lounge on campus.
Phelps, the recipient of the Catawba Golden Club Scholarship, collectively thanked the donors and noted that the couple representing her scholarship donors, Walt and Hilda Ramseur of Landis, had established a very "close bond" with her. She called Hilda Ramseur, who assisted Phelps with a project concerning life at Catawba during the 1940s, "my living link to the past."
Catawba College President Dr. Robert E. Knott also expressed appreciation to the donors and the College’s high expectations of the scholarship recipients, calling them Catawba’s "academically elite."
The First Family Scholarships are Catawba’s most prestigious scholarships. Students who have been accepted at Catawba are invited to participate in competition for them each spring based on their overall grade point average and SAT scores. The average GPA for those competing students this year was 3.9, while their SAT score average was approximately 1200. They vied for awards ranging from $11,000 to full tuition scholarships (approximately $17,600) by participating in a series of faculty interviews, writing an essay on why they aspired to be a scholarship recipient, and providing confidential written recommendations from teachers or administrators concerning their abilities, academic achievement, character and motivation. Seventy-eight students participated in the competition and 21 of those were selected as First Family Scholars.
Catawba College Senior Vice President Tom Childress recognized those individuals who over the past year had made possible the creation of four new First Family Scholarships, bringing the college’s total number of First Family Scholarships to 75. These new scholarships included the Cloninger First Family Scholarship, the Lt. Joe Hearne Rufty First Family Scholarship, the John L. and Mary Current Foil First Family Scholarship, and the J.W. and Vera Wagoner First Family Scholarship.
The Cloninger First Family Scholarship was established by Mr. and Mrs. Larry Cloninger of Salisbury to assist able and deserving students. Larry, a 1974 graduate of Catawba, is a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. Catawba’s Cloninger Guest House is also named after the couple in recognition of a gift they made to furnish and maintain it.
The Lt. Joe Hearne Rufty Memorial First Family Scholarship was established by the Archibald C. and Frances Rufty Foundation in memory of the couple’s son who was killed in Vietnam in January 1970. Mrs. Rufty, who resides in Las Vegas, is the widow of former trustee, the late Archie Rufty. This is the third First Family Scholarship established by the Ruftys.
The J.W. and Vera Wagoner First Family Scholarship was originally established anonymously as an endowed scholarship. That fund has reached First Family level through the generous gift from Mrs. Wagoner’s estate. The Wagoners, though not Catawba alumni, lived in Newton and Conover, and were long-time members of Trinity United Church of Christ.
The John L. and Mary Current Foil Memorial First Family Scholarship was established through the estate of Mary Helen Foil and the Mary Helen Foil Revocable Trust. John, class of 1941, and Mary, class of 1944, lived in Virginia Beach, Va. Preference for this scholarship will be given to students majoring in business administration.
Senior T. Anthony Johnson of Burlington, N.C., a musical theatre major and the recipient of the Adrian L., Jr. and Dorothy L. Shuford Scholarship, entertained those gathered by singing "Very Soft Shoes." Catawba College staff keyboardist, Angela Lowry, accompanied him.
In addition to Katie Phelps and T. Anthony Johnson, other scholarship recipients included Nicholas Kalogeromitros of Rockwell, Tara Millington of Pallantine Bridge, N.Y., Kendall Prescott of Exeter, N.H., Elizabeth L. Dunkman of Festus, Mo., J. Andrew Howe of Salisbury, Meagan E. Robinson of Belmont, Taylor c. Hohman of Lexington, Ky., Sarah C. Hamm of Morehead City, Aileen Thomson of Burlington, Vt., Jennifer E. O’Connell of Jamesburg, N.J., Shannon E. Axtell of Charlotte, J. Luke Samples of Elkin, Jessica Rivera of Key West, Fla., Jennifer M. Kidd of China Grove, Donna A. Tulloch of Salisbury, Ashley J. Wilhelm of Cleveland, Elizabeth J. Denton of Salisbury, Dustin S. Cox of High Point, Jennifer L. Pickler of Liberty, Jason L. Chapman of Salisbury, Jessica L. Parker of Glendale, Ariz., Jeremiah S. Timmons of Denton, Crystal D. Bonner of Yadkinville, Blair E. Elder of Yorktown, Va., Christine J. Ofslager of Midlothian, Va., Benjamin P. Caggiano of Beacon, N.Y., Carolyn M. Brannon of Mattituck, N.Y., Charity E. O’Shields of Landrum, S.C., Ashley D. Boles of Ft. Bragg, Meredith A. Cartmill of W. Barnstable, Mass., Kelly A. Booe of Winston-Salem, Matthew P. Fairweather of Lenoir, Hope Anne Miller of Newton, John W. Vernon of Walnut Cove, Zachary R. Snyder of Lexington, Tiffany Y. Cox of Woodbridge, Va., Lauren C. Connolly of Moon Township, Pa., John T. Poulos of Rockville, Md., Danielle R. Scearce of Salisbury, and Chandra E. Lowe of Budd Lake, N.Y.
Other recipients are Brian A. Messenger of Kannapolis, Eva J. Manney of Olmstead Falls, Ohio, Johnathan C. Menius of Kannapolis, David M. Loehr of Charlotte, Lisa K. Ponce of Tolland, Ct., Jennifer A. Reiff of Wilmington, William D. Randall of Tifton, Ga., Michael A. Lasris of Seaford, Va., Jordan L. Richards of Hendersonville, David S. Pinkston of Salisbury, Kristen A. Phillips of Hartwood, Va., Tara L. Ketcham of Plymouth, Ind., Mary F. Attea of Kenmore, N.Y., Lauren M. Ebersole of Hagerstown, Md., Kelly R. Burdeau of Salisbury, Amber L. Goshorn of York Haven, Pa., Erin E. Phillips of Hanover, Pa., Kacey L. Weaver of Cleveland, Jessica Pruett-Barnett of Georgetown, Del., Jessica N. Fritts of Lexington, Dana M. Revelle of Oswego, N.Y., Jessica A. Moretti of Charlotte, Victoria S. Hamilton of Wake Forest, Jared W. Wietbrock of Loganville, Ga., Hollie F. Bruce of Salisbury, Stephanie E. Valentine of Charlotte, Richard V. Bergeron of Florence, N.J., Jennifer L. Mehl of West Creek, N.J., Stephanie L. Brendel of Drexel, Amy K. Guenther of Asheville, Amanda M. Nantz of Troutman, Brianna J. Raymond of Spring Hill, Fla, Daniel S. Hines of Yorktown, Va., Summer K. Zuck of Kingston, Tenn., Lindsay M. Stobaugh of Greensboro, Joseph R. Yow of High Point, Kristan M. Higgins of Wilmington, Cathrine Balentine of Charlotte, Meagan A. Kittle of Winchester Ontario, Lauren J. Whiteley of Greensboro, and Elizabeth A. Hewitt of Hickory.