Skip to main content

Sign into the Catawba College community portal:

Login to CatLink

Future Students

Apply online or check the status of your Admissions application:

Admission Portal

REMAIN AT CATAWBA  |  Take the Pledge  |  Ask a Question

Awards Convocation Focuses on Service, Leadership, Academic Achievements, & Special Merit

April 12, 2019

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


2019 Catawba College Award Recipients

The focus was on student, faculty and staff achievement in service, leadership, academics, and special merit during Catawba College’s annual Awards Convocation held April 11 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel.

Continuing an institutional tradition, most awards distributed were eco-friendly, made of Catawba blue, 100% recycled glass to symbolize the college’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Student Government Association Officers and College Representatives Recognized
The outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) president, Payton Coleman of Charlotte was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. Coleman served as SGA president during ’18-’19 academic year.  Other outgoing SGA Executive officers thanked for their service included Vice President D. Reginald Pulley II of Baltimore, Md.; Treasurer Justin Potter of Surry, Va.; and Secretary Adna Music of Salisbury.

SGA officers who will serve during the 2019-2020 academic year were recognized, including President D. Reginald Pulley of Baltimore, Md.; Vice President Sarah Grace Cuthbert of Arlington, Va.; Treasurer Emily Avalos of Rockwell; and Secretary Cassie James of Robbins. As one of his first acts as the incoming SGA President, Pulley 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 2019-2020 academic year, were announced at the convocation.  They are Ashleigh Bornkamp of Mooresville and Federico Borrego Higareda of Mexico City, Mexico.

Service to the Community & Leadership Awards
Caylin Smith 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.


Jessica Pautz receives the Pioneer Award 

Malissa Giannetti of Arden 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.

Jessica Pautz of Mooresville, the editor of “The Pioneer” student newspaper, received the Pioneer Award, for her hard work and leadership on the staff of this publication.

Tafari Lanclos of Greensboro was awarded 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.

Johnathon Boles, associate director of the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values, 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.

Students Jessie Willis of Albemarle and Alberto Borges of Nairobi, Kenya, along with Student Activities Director Jan Gillean, were recognized as Leaders in Environmental Stewardship.  This award is presented to the person(s) who best exhibits outstanding leadership and uncommon commitment to environmental stewardship. 

The President’s Award for Community Service was presented to Dr. John Wear, founder and executive director of the Center for the Environment and associate professor of biology and environmental science.  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. 


Dr. Darin Spencer receives the Paul Fisher Service Award 

Students Emily Wong of Kernersville, Oryan Malul of Rishon lesion, Israel, and Merritt Robinson of Salisbury 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. Darin Spencer, an assistant professor of Accounting, was also recognized as a recipient of the Paul Fisher Service Award. 

Members of Catawba’s team who participated in and were the overall winners the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities annual Ethics Bowl this year were recognized with certificates of appreciation.  They included Bryana Eller of Randleman, Cassandra James of Robbins, Eleanor King of Matthews, and Hannah Ryan of Rosanna, Australia. The team coordinator was Dr. Norris Feeney, an assistant professor of politics.

Academic Achievement Awards
Aly Helal of Cairo, Egypt was the recipient 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. 


Aly Helal receives the Sherrill & Smith
Award in Business Administration

The Millard F. Wilson Award for Excellence in Business was presented to Luca Picci of Salisbury and Lukas Helbing of Biggingen an der Teck, Germany. 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.

Peyton Hedrick of Hickory 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.  

Nilya Holcomb of Garner 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. 

Vanna Christian of Salisbury 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 Arrowead’s success.

Rebekah Jones of Gold Hill, Linda Hughes of Gainesville, Fla., and Sara Barbee of Salisbury shared 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 Tyler McHargue of Statesville. 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.


Tyler McHargue receives the Elisabeth Scranton
History Award

The Braun Award in Physics, established by 1934 alumna Mrs. Anne Blodgett Bashore, was given to Mitchell Harris of Greensboro and Robert Morrison of Warrenton, Va.  It is given in recognition of the student(s) showing the most meritorious work in the field of physics. 

Devan Shell of Ferguson 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 Caleigh Keena-Shadrick of Cape Coral, Fla., and Angel Mesimer of Richfield.  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 Marcia-Mariel Erhart of Rodgau, Germany. 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.

Emily Pratt of Knoxville, Tenn., was the recipient of the Environment and Sustainability Award. This award is given to a member of the senior class who has best demonstrated dedication, inspiration, and academic achievement in the field of environmental science. 

Leah Huggins of Hope Mills and Laura Isenhour of Salisbury were the recipients of the Shirley L. Haworth Prospective Teacher Award.  It is presented to education majors or minors who have demonstrated outstanding potential as teachers based on classroom observations.

Zachary Alford of Mooresville was the recipient of The Student Education Association/Cynthia B. Osterhus Award. This award is presented to the student who has made an outstanding contribution to the Student North Carolina Association of Educators and who has shown the potential to become an excellent teacher. The recipient is chosen by the Department of Teacher Education faculty. 


Emily Pratt receives the Environment and
Sustainability Award

The College Chairman’s Award in Music went to Dustin Chapman of Whiteville. Given annually in recognition of past chairs of the Department of Music at Catawba, the Chairman’s Award in Music is presented by the department faculty to students who have made a significant contribution to the programs of the Music Department and who show promise of future success in the field of music. 

Malorie Ritchie of Salisbury received the Roberts Senior Psychology Award, named in honor of long-time Psychology Department Chair, Dr. A. E. Roberts.  The award is 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. 

Emily Brewer of Mooresville 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.

Kyrbee Cheek of Burlington received The Whitley Award, which is presented annually in recognition of academic excellence, leadership, loyalty and dedication to the student who best demonstrates the values of Catawba College – Scholarship, Character, Culture and Service.  This award is for outstanding service to the Department of Sport and Health Sciences and the community. This honor is given to the junior or senior female student who best exemplifies the standard of excellence established by Dr. Pat Whitley.

Burke Fulcher of China Grove was awarded the William L. Russell Award, presented to the student who best demonstrates the values of Catawba College – Scholarship, Character, Culture and Service.  This award is for outstanding service to the Department of Sport and Health Sciences and the community. This honor is given to the junior or senior male student who best exemplifies the standard of excellence established by the late Dr. Bill Russell, who served as professor and chair of Physical Education. 

Luke Humble 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. 

Savannah Shaver of Salisbury 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.

Veronica Leasure of Salisbury 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.

Chase Cummins of Mooresville and Matthew Hefner of Salisbury were co-recipients of the Paul L. Baker Computer Science Award.   This is an award 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.



Savannah Shaver receives the Augustin Daly Award for Outstanding Student of the Year in Theatre Arts 

Awards of Special Merit and Achievement
Lee Brackman of Athens, Ga., 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 Dustin Chapman of Whiteville and Dr. Duane Aagaard, associate professor of Sport Management. 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 2018-2019 Staff Member of the Year Award went to Ms. Shelley Tyler-Smith, director of career services and internships. This award is presented annually and selection is made by a popular vote of the students. 

Dr. Darin Spencer, an associate professor of Accounting, was selected as Professor of the Year for 2018-2019. he 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. 

Mrs. Glenda Leonard, administrative assistant to the Provost, 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 Ms. Pam Barber, administrative assistant in Athletics.  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. Joe Poston, professor of Biology, 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.


2019 Whitener Medal Recipients, 
Emily Hoffler and Dustin Chapman

Dr. Jim Stringfield, professor of Teacher Education and dean of the Goodman School of Education, was honored with the Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College. He was recognized for his 25-year contribution to the academic life of Catawba College and for meritorious service to the College.  He embodies the four pillars of our Institution:  scholarship, character, culture, and service. 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 11th graduation exercise. They are Emily Hoffler of Palmyra, Pa., and Dustin Chapman of Whiteville. 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.

View Photos



« Return to Previous