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Name of Generous and Anonymous Donor to Catawba College Revealed

September 05, 2008

Category: Academics

For years, dozens of needy students at Catawba College received scholarship assistance thanks to an anonymous donor. Now, more than five years after this donor's death, those students and future students will know to whom they need to be thankful.

Eva Burke Clapp of Burlington, a frugal, hardworking woman, began making gifts to Catawba to provide scholarship assistance to students with demonstrated need approximately six years before her death in February of 2002. But with those gifts came the stipulation of her anonymity, a stipulation which was to remain in place until five years after her death.

"Now that we have exceeded the five-year stipulation, we can publically acknowledge the generosity of the late Eva Burke Clapp," explained Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress. "Although Mrs. Clapp did not attend Catawba, she was an active member of the First Reform United Church of Christ in Burlington and appreciated the mission of higher education institutions like Catawba which has historic ties to the United Church of Christ."

Eva Burke Clapp's family owned and operated Burke Funeral Home and was active in the First Reform United Church of Christ, walking to services each week. It was in the church youth group that Eva met her husband, Marvin Clapp. The two were married in 1927 and settled in Burlington.

After her marriage, she volunteered with the Red Cross and attended secretarial school in Burlington before going to work in a law firm in town. Eventually, she became secretary to J. Spencer Love, the founder of Burlington Industries, where she worked for more than 30 years. She often accompanied Love to his offices in Greensboro and New York and to Florida, where he vacationed. She was remembered as a conscientious, hard-working professional on whom her boss relied.

Her husband, Marvin, also worked at Burlington Industries where he rose through the ranks before retiring as an administrative manager. He was a savvy investor  and built a sizeable estate, while Eva handled the couple's financial affairs. Both were frugal with their money.

Today at Catawba, the Eva Burke Clapp Endowed Scholarship Fund stands as a testament to one unassuming woman's generosity.