Alumni Honorees Announce Funds to Benefit Catawba College Students
October 25, 2011
Even as they were being honored Saturday, Oct. 22, as recipients of Catawba College's Distinguished Alumnus Awards, twin brothers, Benjy and Brad Hamm '86, were paying tribute to their alma mater and to future generations of students who would be shaped by their college experience as the Hamms have been.
The brothers, natives of Salisbury, said Catawba gave them the start on the careers they now enjoy. Benjy of Louisville, Kentucky, serves as editorial director on the corporate staff of Landmark Community Newspapers, which owns more than 60 newspapers and seven college sports publications in 14 states. He oversees newsroom operations and issues for all of the company's newspapers. 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.
Brad, speaking on behalf of his brother and himself, announced that the two were establishing funds at Catawba College, one in honor of their mother and one in honor of their father, both to benefit deserving students. The Alice Owens Endowed Fund will be awarded to deserving students majoring in Communications who are in need of financial assistance. The L.P. "Bud" Hamm Endowed Fund will assist any Catawba College student in traveling abroad for the first time.
Noting that the Chinese characters for his son's name, Yoshiki, mean "strong foundation," Brad said the education he and his brother received at Catawba provided them with just that. "How much Catawba changed our lives stays with us all the time."
Benjy noted that Catawba College has been "central to our lives for the past 25 years." "We didn't have to go very far to find the college that was right for us," he said. He recalled opportunities that were made available to him and his brother thanks to individuals associated with the college, including college trustee James Hurley III, a former owner and publisher of the Salisbury Post.
"Jimmy Hurley created jobs for my brother and me to work at the Post. He made opportunities available and we're forever grateful for that," Benjy said.
The twin brothers attended East Rowan High School and 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.
Brad, citing the extensive travel experiences that his wife, Hiromi Sumiyoshi, and he have had, said, "we believe strongly in an international education." The new fund that allows Catawba students to travel abroad for the first time is a testimony to that belief.