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Service, Leadership, Academic Achievements and Special Merit Are Focus of Awards Convocation

April 19, 2018

Category: Academics, Athletics, Biology, Business & Economics, Chemistry, Communication Arts, English, Environmental Science, History, Mathematics, Music, Psychology, Religion & Philosophy, Sociology, Sport & Health Sciences, Staff, Students, Teacher Education, Theatre Arts

awards2018.jpgOnce again, student achievement in service, leadership and academics were the focus of Catawba College’s annual Awards Convocation held April 19 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel.

Most awards distributed were eco-friendly, made of Catawba blue, 100% recycled glass to symbolize the college’s commitment to sustainability.

Student Government Association Officers and College Representatives Recognized
The outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) president, Gavin Wooten of Lexington was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. Wooten served as SGA president during ’17-’18 academic year.  Other outgoing SGA Executive officers thanked for their service included Vice President Payton Coleman of Charlotte, Treasurer Molly Sue Harmon of Mint Hill, and Secretary Adna Music of Salisbury.

SGA officers who will serve during the 2018-2019 academic year were recognized, including President Payton Coleman of Charlotte; Vice President Doral Pulley of Baltimore, Md.; Treasurer Justin Potter of Seaford, Va.; and Secretary Adna Music of Salisbury. As one of her first acts as the incoming SGA President, Coleman assisted with the award presentations made during the convocation.

The new Ms. and Mr. Catawba, elected by the student to serve the College in the coming year, were announced at the convocation.  They are Payton Coleman of Charlotte and Reshaud Brown of Greenwood, S.C.

Service to the Community & Leadership Awards
Johnathan Collins of King and Madalyn Liefert of Concord received the David Hoyle Award for Outstanding Service in the area of student activities.  It is awarded annually to a student(s) who has made exemplary contributions to all areas of student activities.

Madalyn Liefert of Concord was the recipient of the Sara Cook Award for Student Involvement. This award was established by Student Affairs in recognition of the work of Board of Trustee Member Sara Cook and her role in alcohol education, policy and programs that have changed the campus culture of student life at Catawba.  It is presented annually to the member of the student body who demonstrates a concern for the well-being of fellow students like Ms. Cook modeled for the college community in regards to making it a better place for students through student life programs outside the classroom.  The Office of Student Affairs nominates candidates and makes final choices on the award winner.

Kiersten Nichols of Mocksville, the editor of “The Pioneer” student newspaper, received the Pioneer Award, for her hard work and leadership on the staff of this publication.

Two students, Kala Byrd of North Wilkesboro and Chelsea Hatfield of Salisbury shared the Frances Decker Wentz Award.  Established by the Corriher-Linn-Black Library staff in honor of the late Mrs. Frances Wentz, the award is presented annually to an upper class student(s) who has demonstrated a real concern and aptitude for theory and practice of library science and service.


Dr. Phillip Burgess, associate chair of the Music Department and director of vocal-choral activities, was the recipient of the Kenneth Clapp Tri-Delta Award.  Established by the Class of 2000 in recognition of the work of Dr. Ken Clapp, College senior vice president and chaplain, it is presented annually to a member of the faculty or staff who demonstrates dedication, devotion, and dependability.

Student Hannah Przelomski of Rocky Mount, along with Center for the Environment employee Elizabeth Howard and Project Administrator Frannie Taylor, were recognized as Leaders in Environmental Stewardship.  This award is presented to the person(s) who best exhibits outstanding leadership ability and uncommon commitment to environmental stewardship through the facilitation of activities and initiatives that promote the wise use of the earth’s resources.

The President’s Award for Community Service was presented to senior Victoria Layton of Concord.  The award is given annually to a member of the campus community who has distinguished him or herself in significant service to the local Rowan-Salisbury community.  The recipient is selected through nominations from the faculty and staff with final selection from the nominations being made by the college president.

Students Emily Hoffler of Palmyra, Pa., and Becky Frost of Crofton, Md., were the recipient of the annual Paul Fisher Service Award and Scholarship.  It is presented to the member of the Catawba College community who has made the greatest contribution throughout the year in service to others and makes service an integral part of his or her life. The recipient of the annual scholarship award is chosen from those persons who have been designated as monthly Paul Fisher Service Award winners and receives a scholarship provided by F&M Bank and the recycled glass award. Faculty member Dr. ChaMarra Saner, an associate professor of Chemistry was also recognized as a recipient of the Paul Fisher Service Award.

Members of Catawba’s team who participated in the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities annual Ethics Bowl this year were recognized with certificates of appreciation.  They included Ethan Chirico of Salisbury, Taylor Cielo of Wake Forest, Brianna Gordon of Chapel Hill, Cassandra James of Robbins, and Jonathan Rife of Apex, along with their coaches, Dr. Norris Feeney, an assistant professor of politics, and Dr. Darin Spencer, chair and assistant professor of accounting.

Academic Achievement Awards
Jesse Vensel of West Alexander, Pa., and Austin Humphries of Advance were co-recipients of the Sherrill & Smith Award in Business Administration.  This award is given annually by the partners of Sherrill & Smith to the senior in the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business who achieves the best scholastic average during the year.

The Millard F. Wilson Award for Excellence in Business was presented to Clay Young of Greensboro and Chase Loudin of Salisbury. Given annually to a senior or seniors in recognition of outstanding service to the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business, this award also recognizes excellence in academic achievement. The late Professor Millard F. Wilson, former chair of the business department at Catawba from 1949-1979, established the award.

Johnathan Rife of Apex and Heather Duncan of Salisbury received the Rebecca H. Frantz Essay Prize this year.  This prize is given by an alumnus, Edwin Nance, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, in memory of the mother of three former Catawba College students. It is awarded annually to the writer of an essay judged by faculty to be the most original. 

Heather Duncan of Salisbury was recipient of the Bethany and Aidan Sinnott Poetry Award. This award was established by the English Department in honor of Dr. Bethany Sinnott and in memory of Dr. Aidan Sinnott. The award is given to the student(s) who demonstrates the greatest potential as a poet, based on a portfolio of his or her work. 

Courtland Hunter of Concord was awarded the Martha H. Morehead Award for the outstanding single work – poem, short story, or graphic contribution to The Arrowhead during the year with the selection made by the English Department.  The award is given annually to honor the late Dr. Martha Morehead, Professor of English, whose tireless nurturing of the arts at Catawba College was vital to The Arrowhead’s success. 

Samuel Austin Collins of Mooresville and Guadalupe Fernandez de Lara of Supply were co-recipients of the Rice, Andrews, Young Award.  It is given in honor of the former chairpersons of the Catawba Department of Modern Foreign Languages to the foreign language major(s) or minor(s) who has made the highest grades in his/her foreign language studies. 

The Elisabeth Scranton History Award was presented to Alex Turner of Taylorsville. It is given in honor of a former professor of history to the student(s) who has attained the highest academic average during his or her senior year and who represents the ideals of liberal scholarship in the area of history. 

The Braun Award in Physics, established by 1934 alumna Mrs. Anne Blodgett Bashore, was given to Devan Shell of Ferguson, Lee Brackman of Athens, Ga., and John Minter of Sanford.  It is given in recognition of the student(s) showing the most meritorious work in the field of physics. 

Hannah Przelomski of Rocky Mount was presented the Chemistry Prize.  This award is given annually to a student(s) selected by the chemistry faculty who, in their opinion, best represents the qualities of good character, overall scholarship, and excellence in chemistry course work. 

The CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award was given to Sydney Goertzen of Salisbury, Md.  It is awarded annually to a chemistry major(s) during their freshman year in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement.

The recipient of the Mathematics Award was Kerry Aitken of Spencer. This award is presented annually by the mathematics department faculty to a student(s) who has demonstrated outstanding ability, scholarship and interest in the field of mathematics.

Elizabeth Howard, an employee of the Center for the Environment, was the recipient of the Environmental Programs Award.  It is presented annually to a senior who has best demonstrated dedication, inspiration and academic achievement in the field of environmental science. awards-rocko.jpg

Kristen Rocko  (pictured right) of Johns Creek, Ga., and Alicia Olvey of Thomasville were the recipients of the Shirley L. Haworth Prospective Teacher Award.  It is presented to a senior(s) with a 3.0 grade point average or better who majors or minors in education and who has demonstrated outstanding potential as a teacher based on observation in classroom setting by faculty and cooperating teachers.  The recipient is chosen by the Department of Teacher Education faculty.

Lauren Isenhour of Salisbury received the Student Education Association/Cynthia Osterhus Award.  It is given to the student who has made an outstanding contribution to the student education association and who has shown potential to become an excellent teacher.  The award is named in honor of Cynthia Osterhus ’73 of Salisbury, a former North Carolina Teacher of the Year, and now a faculty member in Catawba’s Teacher Education Department and director of the College’s Shirley Peeler Ritchie Academy for Teaching. 1H9A5221.JPG

The College Chairman’s Award in Music went to Destiny Stone (pictured left) of Holly Springs, Miss., for her significant contribution to the programs of the music department and for her promise of future success in the field of music. 

Shannon Wright of Salisbury was the recipient of the Roberts Senior Psychology Award.  Named in honor of long-time Psychology Department Chair, Dr. A. E. Roberts, it is given annually to a psychology major who has been judged presented to the psychology major who has been judged by graduating psychology majors as having made outstanding contributions to the various activities of the Psychology Department. 

Prentice Clark of Charleston, S.C., was the recipient of the Sociology Award, presented annually to the graduating senior who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement in the field of sociology and exemplifies the qualities of the sociological imagination.

Olivia Taylor of Mount Airy received the Whitley Award in recognition of academic excellence, loyalty, and dedication and for outstanding service to both the physical education department and the community.  The award was established in 1999 by the Physical Education Department and the Student Majors Club in honor of Dr. Patricia Whitley. 

Joshua Stewart of Graham received the William L. Russell Award.  It will be presented annually to the student who best demonstrates the values of Catawba College – scholarship, character, culture and service and in recognition of academic excellence, leadership, loyalty and dedication.  The award, for outstanding service to the Department of Sport and Health Sciences and the community, is given in memory of Dr. Bill Russell.

Elizabeth George of Salisbury received the Daniel E. Kirk Biology Award.  It is given in honor of Dr. Daniel E. Kirk, former professor and chair of Catawba’s Department of Biology and former Dean of the College.  It is presented to a senior(s) who has exhibited outstanding service and achievement in the Department of Biology. 

Alex Turner of Taylorsville, was the recipient of the Bruce A. Wentz Philosophy Award.  Given in memory of Dr. Bruce A. Wentz, long-time teacher of philosophy at Catawba, the award recognizes a junior or senior who has shown excellence in the study of philosophy. 

Chaz Cable of Weaverville received the Augustin Daly Award for Outstanding Student of the Year in Theatre Arts.  This award is named in memory of one of North Carolina’s most historically important theatre figures and voted on by the Theater Arts faculty.

Malen Eiriksdottir of Reykjavik, Iceland, was the recipient of the Dr. Karl E. Hales Communication Award.  This award was established in honor of Dr. Karl Hales, who taught Communications and Speech at Catawba from 1966 until his retirement in 2005.  Dr. Hales is also the well-known Voice of the Catawba Indians, announcing Catawba’s home football games in the stadium for over 30 years. 

Dagur Ebenezersson of Reykjavik, Iceland, was the recipient of the Paul L. Baker Computer Science Award.   This is a new award this year given in honor of Dr. Paul L. Baker, professor emeritus of mathematics. The award is presented by the faculty of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science to a student who has demonstrated outstanding ability, scholarship, and interest in computer science.

Awards of Special Merit and Achievement
Ashley Wagoner of Roaring River received the Dean Grove Award, given annually to a student athlete(s) majoring in mathematics or science who demonstrates leadership abilities in both areas.  The late Dr. Rodger H. Lofland ‘61 established the Dean Grove Award in tribute to Dean N. Grove ’40, Lofland’s high school coach, biology teacher and mentor. 

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award was given to Ethan Chirico of Salisbury and Mrs. Rose Ann Pannell, administrative assistant in the Music Department. A committee of students and faculty choose both a student and a staff member annually to receive this award.  It is given in recognition of fine spiritual qualities practically applied to daily living and with the belief that these persons will uphold the spiritual standards of Catawba by their noble characteristics.  The award was established by the New York Southern Society as a permanent reminder of the noblest human qualities expressed and followed in the life of its first president Algernon Sydney Sullivan. 

Catawba’s 2016-2017 Staff Member of the Year Award went to Ms. Sharon Newsome, administrative assistant to the Dean of Students. This award is presented annually and selection is made by a popular vote of the students. 

Dr. Gary Freeze, a professor of history, was selected as Professor of the Year for 2016-2017.  The recipient, who is chosen by a popular vote of the students, demonstrates the best in classroom rapport, evidence of concern for students, and intellectual stimulation. 

Ms. Leslie Dent, a preceptor in the Athletic Training Education program, was honored as the recipient of the Louise Tucker Staff Council Award.  The award is given to a staff member who demonstrates outstanding work ethic and performance in their area, with nominations made by members of the faculty and staff and the recipient selected by a vote of the Staff Council. 

The President’s Award for Staff Excellence was presented to Ralph Michael, a Public Safety Officer.  The award is given annually to a member of the college staff who has distinguished him or herself in achieving excellence in job performance and who has contributed to strengthening of community spirit on campus.  The recipient is selected through nominations from the entire faculty and staff, with a final selection from the college president. 

Dr. Buster Smith, chair and associate professor of sociology, was the recipient of the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teacher. The selection was made by the Faculty Senate to a member of the faculty judged to be an outstanding classroom teacher.  The award was created by a gift from the late Hearne Swink, former Rowan County resident, official with Cannon Mills Company, and friend of the College.1H9A5337.JPG

Dr. Steve Coggin (pictured right), a professor of biology and director of the Center for International Studies on campus, was the recipient of the Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College. The award is given annually to the person or persons judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the institution.  The recipient is recommended by the Catawba College Faculty Senate and endorsed by the Board of Trustees’ Governance Committee.

Whitener Medal Recipients
The recipients of the Whitener Medals were announced at the awards convocation but will actually receive their awards during Catawba’s May 13th graduation exercise.  They are Kristen Rocko of Johns Creek, Ga., and Alex Turner of Taylorsville.  Named in honor of the late Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point who served as president of the Catawba Board of Trustees from 1925-44, these awards are presented annually to the man and woman in the graduating class who combine in themselves, in the highest degree, the equalities of character, leadership and scholarship.  Selection is made by the faculty from the three men and three women who have received the highest number of votes in an election in which only members of the junior and senior class may vote. 


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