Catawba College resurrected some characters from its past as it launched its $60 million comprehensive campaign, Our Catawba: The Forward Path, during an interactive kick-off journey held Thursday, October 23, in the Robertson College-Community Center.
During the donor event, College President Brien Lewis announced that $27.6 million had been raised during the silent phase of the campaign which had begun in December 2012 with authorization of Catawba's Board of Trustees. By the conclusion of Catawba's Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 26, campaign monies raised had crept even higher than the total announced on Oct. 23 to $29.7 million.
According to Lewis, campaign funds raised will be used for two broad goals: advancement and access.
Catawba's Campus Master Plan, showing new buildings, additions, renovations, and landscape features, was on display at the event.
"Advancement is all about the tools that make a college experience so profound: outstanding faculty and staff; top-notch facilities, technology and equipment; opportunities for internships and study abroad. Access is all about scholarship support: you can have the best college in the world, but if folks can't afford to come, it is all for naught," Lewis explained.
Several projects are "coming to fruition," Lewis noted. These include a substantial solar project that would save Catawba millions of dollars in its future and would be the largest of its kind at any college or university in North Carolina, a new recording studio in Hoke Hall; new study abroad programs in Germany and Japan; and a fledgling partnership between Catawba and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association that will result in a new building to house the college's communication arts program and the NSSA Hall of Fame.
Campaign funds will also be used to fund elements of Catawba's Campus Master Plan, including new buildings, building additions and renovations, and landscape features.
Lewis encouraged those attending the campaign kick-off to make an investment in Catawba. He also explained how the campaign came to be named:
"Why are we calling this campaign "The Forward Path"? The title comes from Winston Churchill, who said, "It is one thing to see the Forward Path and another to be able to take it," " he said. "We see our path – the Strategic Plan and Campus Master Plan endorsed by the Trustees last year make our road ahead very clear."
Theatre arts students portray characters from Catawba's history
Meeting the Cast of Characters
The characters played by theatre arts students during the interactive kick-off journey included Judge M. L. McCorkle, a trustee from old Catawba in Newton; Helen Foil Beard, Catawba's first female graduate in the Class of 1893; Dr. Elmer Hoke, Catawba's ninth president; Florence Busby Corriher, the founder of Catawba's Blue Masque; and Gordan Kirkland, Sr., a legendary Catawba football coach.
The journey, staged in Peeler Crystal Lounge of the Robertson College-Community Center, took guests or "travelers" through various stations depicting Catawba's past, present and future. It gave guest Tom Hoke a chance to "meet" his grandfather, Dr. Elmer Hoke, portrayed by freshman Chaz Cable. When asked how Hoke felt about that experience, he quipped that it was "remarkable, considering my grandfather died in 1931 and I was born in 1954."
Walt Ramseur '49 of Landis had a chance to become reacquainted with Florence Busby Corriher for whom he had worked as an assistant to during two of his years at Catawba. Freshman Prentice Clark played the role of Corriher.
Gordon Kirkland, Jr. '70 and sister Martha Kirkland West '59 connected with "their dad," Coach Gordon Kirkland Sr., through the student who portrayed him, sophomore Brandon Walls. West called the experience "wonderful."
Student Brandon Walls portrayed Coach Gordon Kirkland, Sr.
Catawba alumnus Jack Ward '50 played for Coach Kirkland on the Tangerine Bowl teams and also got to talk to his former Coach. Ward actually met with the student actor in advance of the event and had given him advice on drawing the correct Kirkland, Sr. football plays on the chalkboard at his station.
"Now that's something – a theatre arts kid playing Coach Kirkland ... but he did a terrific job," Ward said laughing.
Sophomore George Glass played the role of Judge M.L. McCorkle, while sophomore Madeline Auchter played the role of Helen Foil Beard.
And not all of the characters at the various stations were actors, several students introduced themselves and shared information about memorabilia displayed in their station.
Hill and Ketner
One of these students was junior marshal Joshua Hill '16 who was positioned at a stop that detailed the impact of Food Lion Founder Ralph W. Ketner on the Salisbury-Rowan community and Catawba College. Hill, a junior from Fayetteville double majoring in Accounting and Economics and Finance in the Ketner School of Business, said, "The impact Mr. Ketner has had on me is personal. You see, I'm the recipient of the Ralph W. Ketner and Family Scholarship, one of the college's prestigious First Family Scholarships. Having this scholarship has allowed me to attend Catawba and be involved in many activities, while always focusing on academics."
Hill said he really felt pressure, even portraying himself, when he saw Mr. Ketner standing in the group at his station listening to him during the campaign kick-off event. "To say I'm busy is sort of an understatement, to say I am a fulfilled college student would be more accurate, and I owe it to Mr. Ketner," Hill concluded.
Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee
Many members of the Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee were on hand for the Oct. 23 kick-off event. They were invited to serve on the committee early in the summer, while the campaign was in its silent phase.
Members of the committee include honorary co-chairs: Ralph W. Ketner and Fred J. Stanback, Jr.; co-chairs: Chester A. Michael, III '70 and Tom E. Smith '64; and committee members: Darlene Landis Ball '62, J. Anthony Blackwell, Woodrow D. Boler, Jr. '84, Ryan Gregory Dayvault '08, Joseph R. Gorman '74, Sharon Cochran Gorman '77, William M. Graham '83, Steve P. Harkins '77, Diane Dillon Hooper '74, David B. Jordan '59, Elisa Alfieri Lopez '07, Nicholas A. Means '03, Betty Mickle, Xzantippa (Tippie) Miller, Archibald C. Rufty, Jr. '82, and Robert S. Setzer '73.