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Catawba College 2021 Awards Ceremony Honors Students, Staff, Faculty for Achievement and Service

April 27, 2021

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

 Catawba College held its annual Awards Convocation virtually again this year because of restrictions associated with COVID-19. College President David Nelson, Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, thanked all of the award recipients for their dedication and hard work in earning these awards and recognitions. 

Campus members who presented awards include: President David Nelson, Dr. Forrest Anderson, Johnathon Boles, Dr. Edith Bolick, Dr. Sheila Brownlow, Dr. Ken Clapp, Dr. Kim Creamer, Dr. Steve Etters, Dr. Luke Dollar, Dr. Jim Hand, Dr. Eric Hake, Dr. Beth Homan, Dr. Erin Howard, Dr. Richard Macri, Ms. Whitney Owens, Dr. Valerie Rakes, Dr. Barry Sang, Ms. Ali Snider, and Dr. Jared Tice.

Student Government Association Officers and College Representatives Recognized
Ali Snider received the Student Government President's Award. He was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. He served as SGA president during the ’20-’21 academic year.  New SGA officers who will serve during the 2021-22 year were recognized as follows: Trey Germano, President; Fikemi Fawehinmi, Vice President: Leigh Ann Matuli, Treasurer; and Amira Carter-Cyrus, Secretary.

The new Ms. And Mr. Catawba, elected by the student body to serve the College in the 2021-22 academic years, were announced. They are Kathryn Webb and Brandon Stewart.

Service to the Community & Leadership Awards
The David Hoyle Award for Outstanding Service in Student Activities was awarded to Alana Cooper. 

Holly Kuhn was awarded 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 ad 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 through student life programs outside the classroom. The Office of Student Affairs nominates candidates and makes final choices on the award winner. 

Ariel Graham received The Pioneer Award for her work and leadership on the staff of the student newspaper, The Pioneer.

Jacob Ailton and Daniel Harvey were awarded the Francis 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 upperclass student(s) who demonstrate a real concern and aptitude for theory and practice of library science and service.   

Dr. ChaMarra Saner, Professor of Chemistry, 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 Malachi Gray, Madison Kluge and Nina MacKinnon were recognized as Leaders in Environmental Stewardship. This award is presented to the person(s) who best exhibit outstanding leadership and uncommon commitment to environmental stewardship. 

The President's Award for Community Service was presented to Dr. Jay Bolin, Professor of Biology. The award is given annually to a member of the campus community who has distinguished himself 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.

The Nursing Faculty and Staff received Paul Fisher Service Scholarship Awards. Recipients are chosen from those persons who have been designated as monthly Paul Fisher Service Award winners and receive a scholarship provided by F&M Bank and recycled glass award. 

Members of the Catawba team who participated in the N.C. Independent College and Universities annual Ethics Bowl this year were recognized with certificates of appreciation. They are Noah Brass, Bre Eller, Katie Webb, Nilya Holcomb, Paige Carter, Nicholas Trovato. The team coordinator and advisor was  Dr. Norris Feeney, Assistant Professor of Politics. 

Kasey Austyn Rowden received the Nursing Clinical Practice Excellence Award. This award is given for superior delivery of patient-centered care in a clinical setting, efficient and timely documentation in a clinical setting, interdisciplinary collaboration, and leadership in a clinical setting.

Academic Achievement Awards
Ben LaFevers was the recipient of the Sherrill & Smith Award in Accounting. 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 Jack Joel. Given annually to a senior 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. 

Abbey Birkhead received the Rebecca H. Frantz Essay Prize. The prize is given by an alumnus, Edwin Nance of Altoonz, Penn., in memory of the mother of three former Catawba College students. It is awarded annually to the writer of an essay judged by the faculty to be the most original. 

Jessica Brown 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. 

Dustin Sink 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. 

Adwoa Ofori-Gyau received 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 Elizabeth Scranton History Award was presented to Daniel Harvey. 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 in 1934 by alumna Mrs. Anne Blodgett Bashore, was given to Julia Southern. It is given in recognition of the student(s) showing the most meritorious work in the field of physics. 

Luke Carter was presented the Chemistry Prize. The 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 Hannah Dunn and Hunter Sjobom. It is awarded annually to a chemistry major(s) during their freshman year in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement.   

Recipient of the Mathematics Award was Kaitlin Koons. 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. 

Sandra Abbey was the recipient of the Environment & 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.

Shonda McKinney and Gracie Gibson 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. 

Haley Sloop and Paige Carter were the recipients of The Student NC Association of Educators/Cynthia B. Osterhus Award. The award is presented to the student who has shown the potential to become an excellent teacher. The recipient is chosen by the Department of Teacher Education faculty. 

The College Chairman's Award in Music went to Dylan Smith and Savannah Nunn. 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. 

Emily J. Avalos 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. 

Olivia Danner was the recipient of the Bolick Sociology Award, presented annually to the graduating senor who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement in the field of sociology and exemplifies the qualities of the sociological imagination. 

Shemya Stanback 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. 

Matthew Habina 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. 

Sydney J. Goertzen 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.

Zachary L. Francis received the Bruce A. Wentz Philosophy Award. This award is in memory of Dr. Bruce A. Wentz, longtime Professor of Philosophy, and recognizes the junior or senior who demonstrates excellence in the study of philosophy. 

Leah D. Terraglio received the Religion Award. This award is given to the junior or senior who has excelled in academic work in religion and philosophy and has contributed actively to the religious life of the campus community. 

Madison Dolchan 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 Theatre Arts faculty. 

Maddie Capel and Corey Polk were recipients 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. 

Miracle Etim-Andy was recipient 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. 

Madison Kaye Hunter received the Nursing Academic Excellence Award. The award is given to the nursing student who has an outstanding ability to cope with a challenging schedule, solve problems, apply the nursing process, and use nursing knowledge to earn the highest program GPA.


Awards of Special Merit and Achievement
Sydney Goertzen received the Dean N. 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 Awards were given to student Oryan Malul and staff member Teresa Bivins.
A committee of students and faculty chooses 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 he 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 2020-21 Staff Member of the Year Award went to Johnathon Boles. The award is presented annually and selection is made by a popular vote of the students.

Dr. ChaMarra Saner, Professor of Chemistry, was selected Professor of the Year for 2020-2021. The recipient, who is chosen by a popular vote of the students, demonstrates the best in classroom rapport, evidence of concern for student, and intellectual stimulation. 

Janet Waggoner, of the Biology/Chemistry Department, received the Louise Tucker Staff Council Award. The award is given to a staff member who demonstrates outstanding work ethic and performance in his 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 Steffanie West of the Admissions Office. The award is given annually to a member of the college staff who has distinguished himself 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. Beth Homan, Professor of Theatre Arts, was the recipient of the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching. 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 Co., and friend of the college. 

Dr. Doug Brown, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, received 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 Medals Recipients
The recipients of the Whitener Medals are Oryan Malul and Alberto Borges. The 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. Named in honor of the late Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, who served as president of the Catawba Board of Trustees from 1925-1944, recipients are selected 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 classes may vote.

Dr. Lowery thanked Catawba Conferences — Frannie Taylor, Jerissa Clifton, and Madison White — for setting up the Chapel during taping and Keppel Auditorium for the Viewing Party; David Kirkland for setting up and running the AV during the Viewing Party; Miller Davis Marketing Agency, for filming and producing the Award Convocation Ceremony; Glenda Leonard for organizing the event; and Ann Clifton and Dr. Anderson for helping with the awards set-up and distribution. 

To view this year’s ceremony, please visit

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