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College News

Friend-Raiser Changing Longtime Role at Catawba

December 18, 2015

Category: Alumni, Staff


FaustMargaret Wilson Faust '89, a self-described friend-raiser of fund-raising at Catawba, will soon transition out of her role as Director of Alumni and Parent Relations to assume responsibilities as Assistant Vice President, Donor Relations at the College. Although she is excited for the opportunity "to help steer the course of the Development Office," she recently looked back on her 20 years in her current role through a lens filtered by dear and fond memories, laughter and a few tears.

"For me, it has been all about the relationships. I love that I have gotten the chance to really know so many of our alumni from all generations," she explains. "These truly are friends to me, and we share a common bond.

"I'm a Catawba graduate, too, so Homecoming is great fun. It is the one weekend of the year where the most alumni come back to visit. But that in itself is a mixed bag. I am thrilled to see so many people having a great time, but it is also a bit frustrating that it takes a weekend to make some remember how much they love this place."

Love of place is something Faust knows succinctly well. She credits her parents, in particular dad Dr. Robert Wilson '62, a true blue Catawba alumnus, for putting her on the Catawba love train early in her life. She shares with pride that her father has only missed one Homecoming in his life — the year he was serving in Vietnam, and adds that her mother Peggy attended to represent him that year.

When it came time for Faust to head off to college, there really was only one college on her mind — Catawba. It was the only college to which she applied. Remembering that time in her life and flashing her characteristic smile, she jokes, "I have always thought that Catawba was ‘the stuff'."

As an undergraduate, Faust was the epitome of a Catawba student. She entered the college as a First Family Scholar and pursued a major in communications. She lived on campus in North Hall (now Stanback Residence Hall) for all four years. She served as SGA president, was a cheerleader, an Alpha, and a Catawba Guide. Even after her graduation, she served as an alumni volunteer for Admissions when she lived in Raleigh.

FaustHer own allegiance to Catawba and its Homecoming tradition rivals her father's. She has been attending Homecoming since she was two years old. But Faust does laugh when she recalls having to miss a Homecoming after she had planned all the activities as the Alumni Director. In 1998, her physician required that she be on bed rest due to a difficult pregnancy with twins.

Faust says she was a young passionate alumna when she assumed her role at Catawba in 1995. And while she confides that her passion is still very much intact, another feeling has gained equal weight — a feeling of responsibility for the well-being and future of the College.

"I'm here for the greater good, and I want to see my school thrive," she contends. "I know that all small schools fight the same issues of remaining in front of their alumni, keeping them interested, and engaged. We try to do as much as we can while remaining good stewards for those who have put their trust in our judgment.

"We have to be sure we convey to alumni that Catawba is worth supporting. Simply put, supporting Catawba is re-investing in your diploma!"

Faust says there are legendary Catawba alumni who have enriched her life. These are individuals "who taught loyalty, doing the right thing, and how to make people feel special." They include Tom Childress '64, the now retired senior vice president of Development who hired Faust. Childress "saw something in me and has been there to help during the time we worked together and beyond," she explains. "I learned early on that you should study the folks you respect, and I've always loved his style."

Her list of respected alumni and friends is long but she easily recalls the always kind Bettie '48 and Lamar '48 Dorton, the late Chub '41 and Elaine '42 Richards, Mary Dearborn, Louise Tucker '44, and Dutch Meyer — all of whom are among what Faust calls "Catawba's greatest generation."

Faust explains that in crafting her new role in Development, she and Vice President of Development Rex Otey will pair her strengths with some needs. "We have an amazing staff and I feel confident in where we are heading. Catawba is in good hands!"

Otey said of Faust: "I continue to be impressed at how organized, detail-oriented and passionate Margaret is — particularly all things Catawba. Now is the time to move Margaret into a role where she can have even greater impact on her Alma Mater."

Faust shares that she sees herself as being "very much a partner for the new alumni director."

"I am excited for the next alumni director because I know how much I have loved this role. Since I will still be here, we can work together to further alumni engagement and support," she continues.

"The main quality that the next director must have is a passion for Catawba, because we can teach them the rest. You can't teach heart."

The search for Catawba's next Director of Alumni and Parent Relations is now underway. Interested candidates should direct resumes and application materials to Larry Farmer, Human Resources Officer, at lfarmer@catawba.edu.