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New Scholarship Honors '70 Alumnus upon His Retirement from Catawba

February 04, 2013

Category: Academics, Alumni, Athletics, Gifts, Staff

KirklandWhen Gordon A. Kirkland, Jr. '70 of Clemmons retired as director of athletic development at Catawba College in December, he did so quietly, likely hoping for little or no fanfare. Instead, he received a tribute in the form of a new Endowed Scholarship, established in his honor by his fellow alumni, members of the Catawba Chiefs Club members with whom he had worked, and friends.

The Gordon A. Kirkland, Jr. Scholarship was announced at the Chiefs Club board meeting held on Dec. 4 at the home of College President Brien Lewis. It was a surprise for Kirkland and one that humbled him.

"I was stunned when I realized what Brien was saying, and then, a lot of emotions and tears hit all at once. The finality of retiring, my love of Catawba and the Chiefs Club Directors, and how lucky I've been to work with Tom [Childress '64, Catawba senior vice president] and the great Development staff all hit home. They seemed as happy as I was and I love them for making me feel so welcomed for those seven years I worked with them."

Kirkland is the son of legendary Catawba Coach Gordon Kirkland, Sr., who died when Kirkland, Jr. was a small child. In his position as director of athletic development, Kirkland worked closely with alumni who knew his father and relished the stories they told him about his father.

Kirkland joined the faculty and staff of the college in 2000 as admissions  counselor and was later promoted to associate dean of admissions. He served for several months as an assistant to the athletic director at the college before moving to the Development Office in 2005 as director of athletic development. Prior to his employment at Catawba, Kirkland enjoyed a long career in food sales. He was formerly business development manager of Van De Kamp Frozen Foods in Harrisburg, Pa. Prior to that, he served for 10 years as a vice president of grocery sales for Fitzwater, Inc., also in Harrisburg, Pa. He was recognized as National Broker of the Year while managing H.J. Heinz and received two regional awards while managing the Minute Maid Orange Juice accounts for Coca Cola Foods.

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Educated in the Salisbury City Schools, he attended UNC Chapel Hill from 1965-1968. He transferred to Catawba in 1968 where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Married to wife Sandra, he is father of two adult children, David and Robin.


VideoCATAWBA STORY: My Catawba Childhood (by Gordon Kirkland '70)

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