Some members of the Catawba College community brought a high school photo of themselves as they gathered in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel for the spring semester Opening Convocation on Thursday, January 21. The Office of the Provost had sent out an e-mail in advance requesting that faculty, staff and students bring such an image, and many wondered why.
As Dr. W. Richard "Rick" Stephens, Jr. gave the convocation address, his request for high school photos became clear. "Do not go about these next days in typical fashion," Stephens said. "Reflect not only on who that person was, in the photograph you brought with you, but on the person you are becoming. However, don't do so in isolation. Call on the rest of us to participate. Put another way: ask to see each other's photo." (Read Stephens' Comments)
Stephens, directing his remarks to the students, said that until they came to Catawba "most of the important decisions made about you and your life were made by others." Now, in this new semester, he said, each student has an opportunity within the college community to evolve into a more mature individual or a "person with a promise."
"So while it is necessary to know where you stand, it is ultimately more important to know where you are heading," Stephens continued. "You are moving from dependence on the family and the community that has invested in you thus far — including their definitions of what is valuable in life — to dependence on a broader community of persons ideas, and values."
Paul Fisher, chair of the College Board of Trustees, brought greetings on behalf of his colleagues on the board and made brief remarks. He encouraged the seniors "not to walk to graduation, but to run." "Run to the tape because your future depends on it," he said, adding "dress the part, act the part and be the part."
While cautioning, "today's problems could be your opportunities tomorrow," Fisher concluded, "It is often the case that the rainbow you're searching for is often found at the end of the road less travelled."
Students Recognized [View Gallery]
College President Dr. W. Craig Turner recognized student achievements during the Opening Convocation.
Turner began by noting members of the senior class of 2010 who will wear their caps and gowns again during the baccalaureate service and commencement exercise on May 14 and 15.
Students making the Presidential Honor Roll during the spring 2009 semester were recognized. Those achieving this distinction include day students in B.A., B.F.A., and B.S. degree programs who earn a 3.70 grade point average on 30 or more semester hours during the two semesters of an academic year, and evening students in the B.B.A. and B.A.E. degree programs who earn a 3.70 grade point average on 24 or more hours of an academic year.
Students on the Dean's List for the fall 2009 semester were acknowledged. They included day students earning a 3.50 grade point average on 15 semester hours and evening students earning a 3.50 on 12 semester hours in a given semester.
Fall 2009 inductees into Alpha Chi National Honor Society were recognized. This national honor society recognizes junior and senior students who have demonstrated outstanding scholarship and character in pursuit of a liberal arts education. Membership is limited based on academic standing, and all members are elected by the faculty. Fall inductees included seniors Patrick Bryan Dennis, Grant Alexander Gibson, Nathaniel Ray Griffin, Katherine Virginia Hill, Amber Michelle Hughes and Kali Marina McCullough; and juniors Alexa Rae Baird, Cynthia Mary Cook, Stephanie M. Hill, John Matthew Hoehman, William Reece Huneycutt, Chad Michael Innis, Mark Lee Ketterer, Joseph Stephen Manser, Sarah Yie-Wah Morse, Zachary Talmadge Owen, Austen Matthew Peters, Lara Anne Poplo, Laura Elaine Ritchie, Sarah Claiborne Robinson, Laura Whitney Sale, Robert Bruce Sawyer, Vanessa Galera Silva, Elizabeth Nicole Sloop and Mara Lee Stewart.
Members of Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national honor society that promotes academic excellence in non-traditional programs and recognizes the academic accomplishments of outstanding students in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies, were also collectively recognized.
Students involved with Catawba's Lilly Center for Vocation and Values as 2009-2010 Year of Inquiry Participants, Scholars or Fellows were acknowledged. They include Ashley Acken, Jessica Gaskill, Kyle Hendrick, Drew Laurens, Blake Neal and Kyra Thurow, all members of the "Year of Inquiry" program; Kristopher Watson and Adam Ridenhour, both Lilly Fellows; and Kendra Joyner and Molly Williams, Lilly Scholars.
Junior Marshals, who are chosen from among the students with the highest grade point averages in the junior class, were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements. These students serve the community by assisting with all ceremonial functions of the College during their junior year. They include Cynthia Cook, Jessica Gilmore, Stephanie Hill, John Hoehman, William Huneycutt, Mark Ketterer, Joseph Manser, Sarah Morse, Zachary Owen, Laura Ritchie, Sarah Robinson, Laura Sale, Robert Sawyer and Elizabeth Sloop.
Theatre Arts students were recognized for their achievements. Students in that program have recently been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for their expertise and outstanding achievements in several areas of theatre production, including performance, direction and design. At present, these students are nominees, but keep your fingers crossed that their nominations turn into awards early next month when our region, Region IV's award winners are formally announced. They include:
Irene Ryan Scholarship Nominees: Robin Tynes, Chris Clowers and Eleanor Withrow; Barbizon Scenic Nominee, Vaughn Pollman; Barbizon Costume Nominee, Claire Robinson; Barbizon Lighting Nominee, Rachel Mehaffey; Sound Nominee, Brittany Bland; Student Stage Manager Nominee, Meghan Schneider; and Student Director Nominee, Amanda Lederer. All of these nominations, except for Eleanor Withrow's, were garnered by the students for their work on the departmental production of "The Weir." Eleanor Withrow's nomination was for her role in the spring 2009 production of "Far Away."
Members of the Theatre Arts Department were recognized by the Metrolina Theatre Awards, given every year to honor outstanding production work in the Charlotte metropolitan area. They include Guiseppe Ritorto for music direction of "Urinetown;" Cory Burkhalter, who graduated in 2009, for costume design in "The Last Journey of No. 6330;" Caitlin Becka for her role in "The Last Journey of No. 6330;" Professor David Pulliam for direction in "The Last Journey of No. 6300". Two Catawba graduates, Candace Neal and Michelle Fleishman, also received performance awards at the ceremony.
Several Catawba College athletes were recognized following their seasons for achievements on the field and in the classroom. Recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America, those selected must have participated in at least 50% of the team's competitions and achieve a minimum of a 3.3 cumulative grade point average. One Catawba athlete was recognized last spring by the Sports Information Directors organization with a 1st Team Academic All-American distinction. He was Chris Ahearn, a member of the Baseball Team. Two other Catawba Athletes were recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America this fall as Academic All-District performers. They are Lindsay Webster, a member of the Women's Soccer and Andrew Landry, a member of the Men's Soccer Team.
Several of Catawba's athletes were honored for their academic achievements by their respective sport's Coaches Association. They include Eileen Purpur of the Women's Golf Team and Grant Gibson, Yakir Malul, Zach Owen, Alex Walpole and Justin Weller of Catawba's Men's Swimming Team. Catawba's Men's Swimming was also honored as a team during the '08-'09 academic year by the Swimming Coaches Association for its collective academic achievements.
Several teams received recognition for maintaining high academic standards while participating in sports during the fall 2009 semester. The Men's Cross-Country Team had the highest overall team grade point average of 3.39 and the Women's Cross-Country Team had an overall team grade point average of 3.20.
PHOTOS: Spring Opening Convocation
VIDEO: Spring Convocation Highlights
VIDEO: "Trashin' the Camp" (Featured Performers and The Catawba Singers)
VIDEO: "Hallelujah" (The Catawba Singers)
TRANSCRIPT: Convocation Address (Dr. Rick Stephens)