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New Scholarship at Catawba College Pays Tribute to Deceased Alumna

February 11, 2005

Category: Academics, Alumni


Dr. Donald E. Fuoss ’47 of Sacramento, California says the scholarship he has established at Catawba College pays tribute to almost 60 years of marriage to his late wife, Frances Arthur Fuoss ’45.   Mrs. Fuoss died December 4, 2004 after a six-year battle with colon cancer.

The Donald E. and Frances Arthur Fuoss Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a financially needy student from North Rowan High School (formerly East Spencer High School) who is majoring in music, with preference given to those who play an instrument in the Catawba band.   East Spencer High School was significant to both Dr. Fuoss and his late wife.   She taught there and encouraged her husband to complete his practice teaching there.   And, Mrs. Fuoss also played in the Catawba band.

“Don and Frances Fuoss have touched the lives of many students during their careers as educators and this scholarship will allow their influence to continue,” explained Catawba College Senior Vice President Tom Childress.   “The impact Catawba had on their lives was long-lasting and seemed to follow them and help shape both of their careers in very positive ways.”

The Fuosses met while students at Catawba College in 1940.   Mrs. Fuoss, a Salisbury native, graduated in 1945 with a degree in home economics.   Dr. Fuoss graduated in January 1947 with his bachelor’s degree.    

Dr. Fuoss, from Altoona, Pa., attended Catawba 1940-1942 and 1946-47.   He was recruited by the late Coach Gordon Kirkland on full athletic scholarship to play center/linebacker for the Indians’ football team.   An honor roll student, he wrote for the yearbook, the school newspaper and was the first non-ministerial student to be elected president of Catawba’s student body.

He interrupted his education to serve several years in the United States Army, beginning in 1942, and saw combat in the European Theatre during World War II.   While on furlough, he and the former Frances Arthur were married July 5, 1945 in Salisbury.   The U.S. Army briefly reassigned him to a military facility in Mississippi and then in Texas, before he was discharged in late 1945.   He returned to Catawba in January 1946 and played the following fall for the Indians in the Tangerine Bowl, serving as one of the team’s tri-captains.   He won all-Carolina Conference honors.  

Shortly after their marriage, Dr. Fuoss turned down a playing offer with the Detroit Lions in favor of graduate school at Columbia University.   He earned his doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1952.   Between 1948 and 1953, he was employed as a coach and a professor of physical education at Bethany College in Bethany, W. Va., and served in that same capacity between 1953 and 1956 at Shepherd State College in Shepherdstown, W. Va.   Between 1956 and 1960, he was head football and tennis coach and director of boys’ physical education at East Orange High School in East Orange, N.J.

While Dr. Fuoss was at Shepherd State College, the football players he coached had the only undefeated season in the history of the College.   He was also among the first group inducted into the Shepherd State College’s Hall of Fame in 1987. While at East Orange High School, he led the football team to win a state championship and also coached it through an undefeated season.   He is a member of East Orange High School’s Hall of Fame.

From 1960 to 1969, Dr. Fuoss was employed as assistant varsity football coach at Purdue University.   While he was involved with the football program at Purdue in 1967, that team went to the Rose Bowl and won.

Mrs. Fuoss earned her master’s degree in education from Purdue University in 1962 and an educational specialist degree from there in 1969.   She was pursuing her doctorate at Purdue when she and her husband accepted new positions at the Middle Tennessee State University.   There, Dr. Fuoss served as head football coach and a professor of health and physical education, while Mrs. Fuoss served as an assistant professor of home economics.

In 1971, the couple moved across the country where Dr. Fuoss accepted a new position as athletics director and professor of physical education at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS).   Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Fuoss was hired as an assistant professor of home economics at the same institution.   Later, Mrs. Fuoss taught full-time as a credentialed resource specialist in the Sacramento City Unified School District, retiring in 1992.   Dr. Fuoss retired as emeritus professor from CSUS in 1988.

Throughout his career, Dr. Fuoss has been a prolific writer.   He authored 10 books concerning football coaching and fundamentals, along with dozens of scholarly articles for professional journals and magazines.   In 1987, he became a life member (35+ years) of the American Football Coaches Association.

The Fuosses are members of Catawba’s Tower Society and had contributed funds toward the Coach Kirkland Lobby in the Abernethy Physical Education facility on campus.   Dr. Fuoss was presented Catawba’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1976, Catawba’s O.B. Michael Award in 1982, and was inducted into Catawba’s first Hall of Fame in 1977.

Dr. and the late Mrs. Fuoss, long-time members of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Sacramento, are parents of daughter Donna Montich of Pennsburg, Pa., who followed in their footsteps and is employed as an educator.   Other survivors include their son-in-law, James, and grandchildren Brett and Kyle, and numerous East Coast relatives.

Endowed scholarships are established at Catawba with initial gifts of $10,000 or more and additional gifts can be made to the fund.