Four graduates of Catawba College were recognized as Distinguished Alumni Saturday, Oct. 15 during the College’s Homecoming Weekend activities. Their award presentations were made during a noon barbecue luncheon for alumni held in the Goodman Gymnasium prior to the College’s football game against Newberry College.
Joseph “Joe” R. Gorman ’74 of Greensboro, Ga., G. Edward Hughes ’72 of Union, Ky., Ray Oxendine ’61 of Maxton, and Ralph J. Sturkey ’39 of Salisbury received Catawba’s Distinguished Alumnus Awards, given annually by the Alumni Association Board of Directors. They join other Catawba alumni who have been cited for their service to their communities, their expertise in their professions, and their service to the College community as award recipients.
Joseph “Joe” R. Gorman
Since January 2004, Joseph “Joe” R. Gorman has served as president and chief executive officer of SP Newsprint Company, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., and is the fourth largest producer of newsprint in North America. As a 26-year veteran of the company that he now heads, he has served in a number of capacities, including executive vice president and chief operating officers, senior vice president, vice president and general manager of West Coast operations, president of SP Recycling Corp. (the wholly owned recycling subsidiary) and chief financial officer.
A member of Catholic Church in Greensboro, Ga., Gorman currently serves on the board of directors for American Forest and Paper Association and on Catawba College’s Board of Visitors. He previously served on the board of the Dublin United Way and the Dublin Rotary Club, and has served as president of Dublin Exchange Club, Dublin Toastmasters, and the Dublin Country Club. He and wife Sharon Cochran Gorman ’77 have three children, Bill, Russell and Julie.
G. Edward Hughes
G. Edward Hughes is the founding president and chief executive officer of Gateway Community and Technical College in Ft. Mitchell , Ky. During his 32-year career in higher education, he has served as a faculty member, division chair, dean and president in four different community colleges. Following his graduation from Catawba, he earned his master’s degree in psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and his Ph.D. in higher education from Southern Illinois University.
He serves as chairman of the President’s Academy for the American Association of Community Colleges, as president and a member of the executive committee of the Southern Association of Community, Junior, and Technical Colleges, as chairman of the United Way of Northern Kentucky, and as founder and chairman of the Challenger Center of Kentucky. He served on Catawba College’s Board of Visitors from 1998 through 2004, and is a charter member of Catawba’s Tower Society. He also has been a President’s Circle donor at Catawba for the past 27 years. He and his wife of 21 years, Sarah, have three adult children, Laurie, Lauren and Jennifer.
Ray Oxendine spent his career in education, serving as a teacher, a football, baseball, wrestling, and track coach, an assistant principal, and as a principal at various high schools across North Carolina. These schools included Mt. Airy Senior High, Greensboro’s Grimsely High, Hallsboro High, Acme-Delco High, East Montgomery High, West Montgomery High, Purnell Swett High, South Robeson High, Scotland High and East Laurinburg Academy. He also coached at Catawba, serving as assistant football and head baseball coach for almost a decade.
A U.S. Army veteran, he served for three years with the 82nd and the 11th Airborne Division, spending two years in Germany. After his graduation from Catawba, he earned his master’s degree in public school administration from Appalachian State University and completed post-graduate work as an educational specialist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His awards and honors are numerous. He was inducted in to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and is also a member of the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame and the N.C. American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame. He was named principal of the year in 1992-1993, by the N.C. High School Association of Administrators and was Principal of the Year for the Montgomery County Schools in 1985. Most recently, he spent several weeks in Mississippi, working with the American Red Cross to deliver Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief. A member of First Presbyterian Church in Maxton, he is father of two daughters, seven grandsons and one granddaughter.
Ralph J. Sturkey
Ralph Sturkey is a retired U.S. Marine major who served in World War II and saw action in battles in Okinawa, China and Iwo Jima. He notes he actually saw the American Flag fly over Iwo Jima following the battle there. He also served on the faculty of a Marine Officer’s School. He was employed by A.B. Dick Corporation in Chicago in Chicago for 20 years rising to vice president of personnel and public relations, and since 1970, he has been a private investor in Florida.
Sturkey worked his way through Catawba, working after his classes and fulltime during the summers. He completed graduate courses at the University of Chicago and Harvard University. For 39 years, he has been a member of Catawba’s Founder’s Society and is also a member of its Tower Society. A member of First Methodist Church in Salisbury, he is married to wife Eloise.