1970 Alumnus Establishes New Scholarship at Catawba College
May 2, 2007
Catawba College Alumnus Mike Hutchens '70 says that he established the new scholarship at his alma mater because he "wanted to leave something with my name on it that would make a difference in the life of a student with financial need."
As a student, Hutchens took out loans to help pay his way through Catawba and a scholarship such as the one he has established "would have certainly helped." He recalls that when he enrolled as a freshman in 1966, the tuition, room and board at the institution, everything but books, was $1,250 a year.
Hutchens, a native of Mt. Airy, describes himself as "a Mt. Airy guy who lives in Florida." He even attributes his decision to attend Catawba to folks from his hometown.
"A lot of people from Mt. Airy were going to Catawba at the time and by the time I was 13, I had ridden by the campus many times. I knew about Catawba and liked what I saw so it was natural that I was drawn to the College."
Hutchens majored in business and was schooled under the tutelage of the late Professor Millard Wilson. He remembers wearing a shirt and tie in class and role-playing various business situations. "It (role-playing) seemed kind of silly at the time, but on down the road when you really had to play that role for real, it proved helpful," he says. "You had to practice standing up in front of people making presentations and that certainly helped as I began my professional sales career."
"I liked the class sizes and the personal attention I received. You could actually go talk to a professor if you had a problem and you could always find them."
Hutchens' first job after his graduation from Catawba was as a manufacturer's representative for a Mt. Airy-based company. His territory included all of Florida, half of Georgia and half of Mississippi, and he had to live in his territory. He chose to live in Jacksonville, Florida, an area he has come to love.
In 1988, he formed his own insurance business in Jacksonville, Mike Hutchens and Associates, Inc., which specialized in large commercial insurance. He ran that firm until 2004 when it merged with Greene-Hazel & Associates. Today, Hutchens works as a senior account executive with that company which ironically is headed by another Mt. Airy native and fellow high school classmate, Theresa (Fleming) Hazel.
Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress, also a Mt. Airy native, holds Hutchens in high regard. Of the new scholarship Hutchens has established at Catawba Childress says, "That is so typical of Mike. For years, he has been a very supportive alumnus and now he has chosen to do something even more significant for Catawba. This scholarship will help all the Mike Hutchenses who come after him."
When asked what advice he would give to students currently enrolled at Catawba, Hutchens says, "Pay attention to the basics, you grow from there."
The Mike Hutchens Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a rising junior from Surry County with preference given to students from Mt. Airy High School.;