Three Members of Catawba's Class of 2019 Receive Awards at Graduation
May 11, 2019
Three members of Catawba College's Class of 2019 received prestigious awards during the institution's May 11 Commencement Exercises. In the 10 a.m. ceremony, two traditional students, Emily E. Hoffler and Dustin B. Chapman, received Whitener Awards, while in the 2 p.m. ceremony, a non-traditional adult student, Max Bellile, was the recipient of the Barbara Andrews Award.
The Whitener Awards are the most prestigious awards given by the College to graduating seniors in the traditional day program. These awards have been presented each year at the graduation ceremony since 1927 in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, North Carolina, who served as a trustee of Catawba College from 1921 to 1966 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944. These awards honor the man and woman in the graduating class who most embody the qualities of good character, leadership, and scholarship. Recipients are nominated, with final selections made by the faculty.
Emily E. Hoffler was the female recipient of the Whitener Award for 2019. From Palmyra, Pennsylvania, Hoffler distinguished herself both in and out of the classroom. She majored in Therapeutic Recreation and minored in Psychology. This summer, she will work as the program director at Catawba's Lilly Center-sponsored, Discover Youth Theology Institute at Black Lake Retreat Center near Asheboro. Thereafter, she will be working in life enrichment in a retirement home.
As an undergraduate, Hoffler served as a resident assistant, a head resident assistant, participated in Catawba Intramurals, the Student Government Association, Campus Worship, and the Year of Inquiry. She was a member of the Delphinian Society, the president of Alpha Chi Honor Society, the Retreat Leadership Corps, the Honors Council, Phi Epsilon honorary scholastic society, and Psi Chi, the honor society in psychology. Outside of the classroom, she volunteered with Special Olympics and also contributed 90 volunteer hours with Recreational Therapy at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Salisbury.
She shares that she values reliability and a strong work ethic, and is committed to scholarship because she believes learning is fun. She says for her "character is who you are when no one is watching," and "leadership is how you use influence and treat others."
The male recipient of the 2019 Whitener Award, Dustin B. Chapman is from Whiteville, North Carolina and pursued triple majors in Music Business, Popular Music, and Worship Arts. An accomplished singer/songwriter, he plans to move to Nashville, Tennessee after graduation and perform in as many areas as possible to continue to build his brand in the music industry.
As a Catawba undergraduate, Chapman says he tried to immerse himself in every aspect of campus life in an attempt to "shine a positive light on what Catawba has to offer," and to be a reference point for his peers. He was a member of the Artist Development Program, King's Court, Chapel Scholars, Alpha Chi, The Order of the Blue and White, Phi Epsilon, the Honors Program, Praise Band, Vernaculars, Catawba Singers, Chamber Choir, Pop a Cappella, and the National Society for Leadership and Success. He also made time to serve as a Junior Marshal, an Academic Tutor, and as an assistant in the Admissions area of campus.
All during his college career, this Whitener Award recipient has battled a rare esophageal disease called Achalasia that has left him unable to be involved in physical labor. However, he notes he has "used the talents that God blessed me with on a regular basis to make a positive impact" on those around him. He has volunteered to perform at multiple cancer benefits for adult and children whose families can't afford to pay all of their medical bills, and he has performed at events for veterans.
Barbara Andrews Award
Max Bellile was the graduating senior in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies who most successfully embodied the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship and received the Barbara Andrews Award.
Given annual to a non-traditional adult student, this award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews, the first director of this program at Catawba College. The selection is made by the Catawba College faculty from the six graduating seniors in the program with the highest grade point averages. Students eligible are those who have attended Catawba for at least two years and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.
Bellile was described as "a prototype of Catawba's typical working adult student, who didn't take a straight path to a bachelor's degree right out of high school." In fact, Bellile was not even thinking about a business degree in high school. He came to Catawba from a partner institution, Central Piedmont Community College. CPCC, however, was not Bellile's first stop at a community college; it was the third stop, for three different degree and career paths, very normal for an adult student juggling life and its many responsibilities, while seeking a career that sounds exciting. Bellile was working on a transfer degree and took a random business class — and fell in love with it. His interest grew and led him to become a part of Enactus, an inter-national student business leadership organization, and also led to him changing his degree path to earn an AAS in Business.
At Catawba, Bellile was involved in PBL, our international business leadership club. He went to nationals last year and finished in the top 10. He will return to nationals again this year.
When asked why he decided to go to college, Bellile said "Education is just the key to the future.