Three individuals were honored as recipients of Catawba College's Distinguished Alumnus Award on Saturday, Oct. 22 at a barbecue luncheon held in Goodman Gymnasium as part of the college's Homecoming Weekend activities. The honorees included 1976 alumnus William V. "Bill" Godley of Woodleaf, and twin brothers, 1986 alumni Benjamin "Benjy" Hamm of Louisville, Kentucky, and Bradley J. Hamm of Bloomington, Indiana.
These awards are given annually by Catawba's Alumni Association to individuals who have served their community, distinguished themselves in their profession, and have served the Catawba College community. College President Dr. Joseph B. Oxendine made the presentations, assisted by Phil Stillman, a member of the class of 1986 who serves as president of the Catawba Alumni Association Board of Directors, and Lynn Shuping Gullett, a member of the Class of 1984 who serves the Alumni Association as vice president of the alumni records and recognition committee.
William V. "Bill" Godley '76
A 1976 alumnus, William V. "Bill" Godley of Woodleaf, is the owner of Godley's Garden Center and Nursery, Inc. and Serendipity Gifts and Home Décor in Salisbury and the owner of a wholesale nursery with 70 acres in Rowan and McDowell counties.
Bill came to Catawba from Ringoes, N.J. and while here, he played baseball and was involved in all intramural sports, as well as the business administration club. He was voted Class Favorite by his classmates for several years. He earned his degree in business administration.
Bill consistently gives back to his alma mater and serves as Class Agent for the Class of 1976. He is a regular contributor to the College's annual fund, and has supported the Shuford Stadium lighting effort, the swimming program, the annual service of lessons and carols, the Chiefs Club and the Grid Iron Club. He has also been very generous to Catawba through the years with his in-kind contributions of landscaping plants and materials.
Active in the community, he is a member of Enon Baptist Church where he has served as Deacon Chair, chair of buildings and grounds, chair of the pastor search committee and as a Sunday school teacher. He serves the Rowan County United Way and is active in supporting Rowan Helping Ministries, Habitat for Humanity, the Good Shepherd Clinic, the Salisbury Symphony, Piedmont Players, October Tour, and the Rowan Museum. He is a Woodleaf Fire Department Commissioner and serves on the Mayor's Advisory Board. He is a member of the N.C. Landscape Nursery Association and the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce. He was named Salisbury Lions Club "Man of the Year" for 2005 and has served as a Rowan County Little League Coach and as a Seniors League Coach.
Bill is the husband of Margaret "Peggy" Kivett Godley, a 1977 Catawba alumna, and the two are parents of daughters Sara Dickinson and Mary Godley, and son William Godley III.
The Hamm Brothers, Benjamin and Bradley – '86
Benjy and Brad Hamm are twin brothers who grew up in Salisbury and attended East Rowan High School. Their affiliation with Coach Ed Dupree as their coach of a young runner's track club set them on the course for their eventual careers. As the Sports Editor of the Salisbury Post, Dupree invited the Hamm twins to the newsroom occasionally. They became hooked. While at Catawba, they both worked part-time for the Salisbury Post as they majored in Communications. After graduation, they both worked full-time for one year at the Post and then went on to the University of South Carolina where they earned master's degrees.
Benjamin "Benjy" Hamm '86
Benjamin "Benjy" Hamm makes his home in Louisville, Kentucky where he serves as editorial director for Landmark Community Newspapers, which owns more than 60 newspapers and seven college sports publications in 14 states. He works on the corporate staff and oversees newsroom operations and issues for all of the company's newspapers.
Benjy's prior employment has included serving as managing editor of The Herald-Journal of Spartanburg, S.C., as editor of The Lancaster (S.C.) News, as a reporter and editor at The Associated Press, and as a reporter at the Salisbury Post.
While a student at Catawba, Benjy served as station manager and D.J. for WNDN, then the college's radio station, and was a member of the staff of the student newspaper, the Pioneer. He was a member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society, president of Phi Epsilon, an honorary scholastic society, vice president of the Residence Life Association, a resident assistant, a member of the media board, an ALPHA, and a Catawba Guide. He was the recipient of the prestigious Whitener Award, voted Catawba Male Student of the Year for 1985, and a member of Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities that same year. As a symbol of his support of Catawba College, he is a member of the True Blue Alumni Society.
A member of Middletown United Methodist Church, Benjy serves as head coach of the Middletown Elementary School cross-country team. He is a board member of Louisville's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a member of the journalism advisory boards for Western Kentucky University, Murray State University and Indiana University – Southeast. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2009 by the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Married to wife Tanya, the couple has two daughters, Emily, 14, and Callie, 12, and son Jacob, 9.
Bradley J. Hamm '86
Brad makes his home in Bloomington, Indiana where he works as Dean of and Professor in the School of Journalism at Indiana University, one of the oldest journalism programs in the United States and the world.
Prior to joining the faculty at Indiana University, he served as associate dean of the School of Communications at Elon University. He has taught in programs in Japan, China and Great Britain and holds his Ph.D. in Mass Communication Research from the UNC Chapel Hill. His teaching and research interests are in reporting, journalism history and media theory.
While a student at Catawba, Brad served as the editor of the Pioneer, Catawba's student newspaper, and was on the staff of Catawba's yearbook, The Sayakini, and WNDN radio. He was active in the student government association and like his brother, was a member of Phi Epsilon, an honorary scholastic society.
He is on the National Advisory Board of Poynter Institute and a member of the Board of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. He was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of South Carolina College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Married to wife Hiromi Sumiyoshi, the two have a son, Yoshiki, who is one and a half years old.