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Opening Convocation Marks New Academic Year and New President at Catawba

September 02, 2008

Category: Academics, Events, Staff



Opening Convocation 2008
PHOTOS: Opening Convocation

Catawba College's opening convocation held Thursday, August 29 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel marked the start of a new academic year, Catawba's 157th, and a new president, Catawba's 21st. President Dr. W. Craig Turner convened the college and officiated as employees of the College were recognized for their years of service.

Catawba College Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Tom Smith, brought greetings on behalf of the trustees. He also gave notice to those gathered that this convocation marked his last as chairman of the board. He said he was stepping down after 10 years of service in that position and would be replaced as chairman at the Board's October meeting by current Board of Trustees Vice Chairman, Paul Fisher.

Turner encouraged faculty, staff and students to consider five or six key ideas as the College entered a new academic year. First among these ideas was to "be positive."   "Negativism," he said, "is the most debilitating element in the workplace today. Don't say, 'Why?' when you can just as easily say, 'Why Not?' Don't say, 'I don't know,' but rather, 'I'll find out.' Don't say, 'It's too difficult,' but rather, 'I'll give it my best shot.' "

"A positive attitude is sort of like changing a diaper," Turner joked. "It doesn't necessarily solve any long-term problems, but it certainly makes life more tolerable."

He encouraged community members to "be responsible," regardless of "how small the task may be," and to be sensitive to opportunity. "Change is the one constant in our world," he noted. Being a leader, a person of vision and a person of faith were also ideas he asked his audience to ponder.


20 Years of Service
Dr. James Beard, professor of chemistry; Dr. Carl Girelli, vice president of student academic development and professor of English; Ms. Delores Imblum, administrative assistant for the School of Sciences; Dr. Renee McCachren, chair and professor of music; and Ms. Marsha Safrit, associate registrar.

15 Years of Service
Mr. James Baker, Jr., head coach of men's basketball and instructor of physical education; Dr. John Wear, Jr., director of the Center for the Environment and the environmental science program; Dr. J. Michael Wilson, chair of modern foreign languages department; and Ms. Jean Wurtser, library technical associate.

10 Years of Service
Ms. Ann Dunn, coordinator of program operations, School of Evening and Graduate Studies; Mr. Larry Farmer, human resources officer; Mr. Sam Gealy, head coach for men's and women's golf; Ms. Ruth Goodnight, supervisor of cashier and student accounts; Dr. Seth Holtzman, assistant professor of religion and philosophy; Mr. William Kluttz, supervisor of facilities; Ms. Robin Misenheimer, programmer/analyst; Mr. David Najarian, Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling coordinator; Dr. Mark Sabo, professor of chemistry; and Mr. Craig Turnbull, Jr., head coach for men's soccer, instructor of physical education and assistant compliance director.

5 Years of Service
Ms. Doreen Blakeney, facilities office assistant; Mr. Kurt Cribb, special projects coordinator for Center for the Environment; Dr. Robert Dingle, director and assistant professor of athletic training education; Mr. Shane Flowe, director of the Office of Public Safety; Ms. Bridgette E. Gibbs, director of event planning for Catawba Conferences; Dr. Gordon Grant, III, associate professor of English; Dr. Elizabeth Homan, assistant professor of theatre arts; Ms. Joanna Jasper, chief information officer; Mr. David Kirkland, director of technical services for Catawba Conferences; Mr. Shawn Moore, systems administrator/developer; Ms. Angela Morton, head coach for women's basketball; Dr. Cynthia Osterhus, assistant professor of teacher education and director of the Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching; Ms. Winnell Short, library technical assistant; Ms. Dawn Snook, director of admissions; Ms. Deborah Stinson, custodian; Mr. W. Dan Sullivan, Jr., dean of students and director of housing; Mr. D.J. Summers, assistant coach for football; and Mr. Chuck Williams, vice president for business and finance.

The Length of Service Recognition Program is a project of the College's Staff Personnel Committee, now the Staff Council. Employees are recognized for their service to the College at five-year increments from their hire date.


PhotosPHOTOS: Opening Convocation (Fall 2008)