Two Catawba College Trustees and the Catawba's retiring 20th President and First Lady were honored Wednesday, May 14 as the recipients of the prestigious Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. Award for Distinguished Service.
The award presentations were made to Trustees Charles G. Potts '53 of Charlotte and Wade Hampton Shuford, Jr. '50 of Hickory, and to College President Dr. Robert E. Knott and First Lady Brenda S. Knott during the College's annual President's Circle Dinner, held to recognize the institution's major donors, in the Cannon Student Center on campus.
The award is given each year to the individual(s) who has played a major role in supporting the college and its programs through their time, talent and resources. It was established in 1983 in honor of trustee emeritus Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. of Conover, who died in 2000.
Catawba College President Dr. Robert Knott presented the awards to the two trustees in front of an audience of close to 300 individuals. He said Potts and Shuford were men "who have greatly enhanced the institution by their willingness to commit to long-term service on the Board." Potts joined the Catawba College Board of Trustees in 1988, while Shuford joined it in 1960, elected to the post by the Southern Synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church.
Tom Smith '64, chairman of the Catawba College Board of Trustees, made the award presentation to President Dr. Robert Knott and First Lady Brenda Knott. The couple will retire to Brevard, N.C., at the end of this academic year after Dr. Knott served for six years as Catawba's 20th president. Smith called Dr. and Mrs. Knott "a team which has enriched Catawba College greatly with its service and dedication." He said the couple's history with the college stretched back more than 25 years.
Charles G. Potts
Potts earned his bachelor's degree in Accounting from Catawba's School of Business. He is the former president of Chaz, Inc., a hair salon business, and has served on the board of directors of the International Chain Salon Association.
He has served on the board of directors and as treasurer for both Rotary International and the Carmel Country Club. A member of Central Steele Creek Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, he has served there as an elder and as chairman of the church's board of trustees.
A loyal supporter of his alma mater, Potts has served as a member of the Catawba Alumni Association Board of Directors before being tapped for service in 1988 on the College's Board of Trustees. In 1996, Catawba honored him as the recipient of its prestigious O.B. Michael Award, given annually to an alumnus of merit during graduation exercises.
A longtime supporter of Catawba, he has established at First Family Scholarship at the institution and has consistently contributed to various campaign efforts, including the recent Shuford Stadium effort, Catawba's $56.5 million capital campaign, and its $35 million endowment campaign. He has also served on the steering committee for the endowment campaign.
Wade Hampton Shuford, Jr.
An entrepreneur and a lifelong learner, Shuford has worn several very different hats during his professional career. He served as a public school teacher, an associate vice president for a bank, a director of Christian education at a United Church of Christ in Virginia, and as an international tour organizer and guide.
Following his graduation from Catawba, he served a year in the United States Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, as a personnel research technician engaged in psychological testing and evaluation. He later completed graduate courses at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Texas before earning a degree in Christian education from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
He is an active volunteer at his church, Corinth UCC in Hickory, where he works in its Adult Life program. He is a member of the Hickory Lions Club, various foreign language clubs, and also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and Cooperative Christian Ministry.
Shuford has consistently supported Catawba with his financial resources, establishing a First Family Scholarship at the institution, and through the early 1990s, providing financial backing for Catawba's annual choir tour. In 2001, Catawba honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award during homecoming festivities.
He is married to wife Joanne and is the father of two sons.
Dr. Robert E. Knott and wife Brenda S. Knott
Dr. Knott worked for Catawba twice, once serving as Provost of the College between 1982 and 1989, and since 2002, serving as the institution's President. Under his leadership, Catawba successfully and unconditionally completed its reaffirmation of accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2006.
During Knott's tenure as president, the College embarked on a campaign to grow its endowment and successfully completed this effort a full year ahead of schedule, surpassing the campaign's $35 million goal. The institution's student body has been transformed under his leadership, with incoming students arriving with stronger SAT scores and higher grade point averages. The college's retention rate for freshmen to sophomore students has also substantially increased, now standing at 72 percent.
While the student body has changed, so has the face of the campus. Under Knott, Catawba embarked on and is nearing completion of an ambitious campus facilities effort. It included the construction of five new residence halls comprising Abernethy Village; renovations to Hoke Hall to house the college's information technology center; renovations to the Corriher-Linn-Black Library; creation of the William F. Palmer Archives; and renovations and an addition to the Cannon Student Center. The College has also made great strides in updating its information technology infrastructure on campus with wireless connectivity now available in all residence halls on campus and in the majority of other buildings.
Mrs. Knott, Smith said, has been a helpmate to her husband and a willing and active participant in his vocation. She has done double-duty for most of her married life, as the mother of the Knott’s children, as a caregiver to their family, and as a college first lady and hostess. Smith called her a "loyal and patient partner" for Catawba’s leader.
Smith described Mrs. Knott as a woman of "quiet strength, a patient outlook, and always a warm countenance and a ready smile." He noted her love of literature and the role she has played as hostess of Catawba’s annual Brady Author's Symposium.
The Knotts are parents of two adult children and have three grandchildren.
Other Adrian L. Shuford, Jr. Award Recipients
Hampton and Williamson are respectively the twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth recipients of the Shuford Award. Other recipients and the year in which they received the award include Dr. Theodore P. Leonard, 1983; Enoch A. Goodman, 1984; Clifford A. Peeler, 1985; James F. Hurley, 1986; Ralph W. Ketner, 1987; Elizabeth C. Stanback, 1988; Roy E. Leinbach, Jr., 1989; Frances H. Johnson, 1990; Patricia P. Rendleman, 1991; Mariam Cannon Hayes, 1992; Tom E. Smith, 1993; Claude S. Abernethy, Jr., 1994; Millard F. Wilson, 1995; Fred J. Stanback, Jr., 1996; Paul E. Fisher, 1997; Daniel E. Kirk, 1998; Mary O. Dearborn, 1999; Wilson L. Smith, 2000; Marion M. Richard, 2001; J. Fred and Bonnie Corriher, 2002; William C. Stanback, 2003; Jacqueline C. Leonard, 2004; Charles Taylor, Jr., 2005; Newton O. Fowler and C.A. "Junie" Michael III, 2006; and Claude B. Hampton, Jr. and James L. Williamson, 2007.
PHOTOS: President's Circle Dinner 2008