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Students Majoring in Religious Studies to Benefit from New Catawba College Scholarship

October 07, 2008

Category: Academics, Alumni, Gifts, Religion & Philosophy, Students


Students majoring in religious studies at Catawba College will benefit from a new scholarship, the Raffaelli Family Foundation Scholarship that has recently been established. 

The new scholarship was established at the discretion of a board member of the foundation, Catawba College alumnus Thomas Burdette '73 of Clifton, Va. Burdette, owner of The Burdette Smith Group P.C., a CPA firm in Fairfax, explained that a longtime client of his company, who had no heirs, set up a foundation during his estate planning. That foundation, which was funded upon the client’s death with some specific instructions on specific charities including two churches and an animal rescue group, also allowed the two directors of the foundation to exercise their discretion in how some of the foundation’s net asset value was distributed to recognized charities.

"I had the discretion as a member of the board to make a donation to any qualified charity that I chose and I chose Catawba," Burdette explained.

Burdette majored in accounting at Catawba and was a starter in the defensive secondary for the Catawba Indians all four of his undergraduate years, under the tutelage of Coach Harvey Stratton. While a student, he was active in intramurals. He served as treasurer of the student government association during his senior year, and a treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) during his junior and senior years.  He was a member of the Accounting Club during his junior and senior years, and during his senior year, he was named to Who’s Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Burdette started his own CPA firm in the Washington, D.C. area at age 27. Today, his firm, The Burdette-Smith Group, P.C., employs approximately 40 people, and his area of expertise is dealing with high income, high net worth individuals who for the most part own their own businesses. He has served on Catawba's Board of Visitors, has long supported fund-raising efforts related to the institution’s football program, contributing generously to the Shuford Stadium construction effort and to the grassroots campaign which raised funds to put lights in that stadium. In 2007, he made a presentation on Catawba’s campus, "Quarterbacking Your Firm," to students in the Ketner School of Business, sharing his professional expertise.


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