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

April 29, 2020

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

Catawba College, for this first time in its history, held its annual Awards Convocation remotely on April 27, because of restrictions associated with COVID-19. Dr. Kenneth Clapp, Interim President, Dr. Constance Lowery, Provost, and Dr. Phillip Burgess, Associate Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral/Vocal Studies, participated in the video. Graduating seniors, other students, faculty, and staff were recognized for academic achievement and service, honoring Catawba's values of Scholarship, Character, Culture and Service.

Dr. Lowery recognized students, faculty, staff, and alumni for their amazing efforts in meeting the challenges of COVID-19, saying that she was "proud of the way our community of learners has responded." She also thanked Brien Lewis, former President of the College, and his family for their service.

Continuing an institutional tradition, most awards to be distributed are eco-friendly, made of Catawba blue, 100 percent 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, D. Reginald Pulley, II, of Baltimore, Md., received the Student Government President's Award and was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. Pulley served as SGA president during '19-'20 academic year. Other outgoing SGA executive officers thanked for their service included Vice President Sarah Grace Cuthbert, Arlington, Va.; Treasurer Emily Avalos, Rockwell; and Secretary Cassie James, Robbins.

SGA officers who will serve during the 2020-2021 academic year were recognized, including President Ali Snider, Lexington; Vice President Alan Alford, York, S.C.; Treasurer Oryan Malul, Rishon lezion, Israel; and Secretary Fikemi Fawehinmi, Charlotte.

The new Ms. and Mr. Catawba, elected by the student body to serve the College in the 2020-2021 academic year, were announced. They are Alex Johnson, Durham, and Adwoa Ofori-Gyau, Accra, Ghana.


Service to the Community & Leadership Awards
Yeimi L. Reyna-Romero 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.

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

Emily Fogleman of Liberty 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.

Phyllis Wright of the Facilities and Environmental Services Department 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, interim President and 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 Shane McCormick of Wilmington, and staff member Jeff Hartley 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 Curtis Walker, head football coach. 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 Rebekah Davis (Clemmons), Samuel Young (Smithfield), Hannah Hutchens (Mocksville), and Emily Wong (Kernersville), and faculty member Dr. Barry Sang, Chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, were recipients of the annual Paul Fisher Service Award. It is presented to the members of the Catawba College community who have made the greatest contributions throughout the year in service to others and make service an integral part of their lives.

Rebekah Davis of Clemmons received the Paul Fisher Service Scholarship Award. The recipient 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.

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. The are Cassie James, Robbins; Eleanor King, Matthews; Hannah Ryan, Rosanna, Australia; Bryana Eller, Randleman; Sarah Grace Cuthbert, Charlotte; and Katie Webb, Murfreesboro, Tenn. The team coordinator and advisor was Dr. Norris Feeney, an assistant professor of politics.

Brooke Walser of Salisbury 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
Ashley Bornkamp of Mooresville 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.

The Millard F. Wilson Award for Excellence in Business was presented to Sam Young of Smithfield. 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.

Taylor Cielo of Raleigh received the Rebecca H. Frantz Essay Prize. Jordan Lett of Statesville received an honorable mention. This prize is given by an alumnus, Edwin Nance of Altoona, Penn., 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.

Abigail Birkhead 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 Arrowhead's success.

Shelby Vasich of Chatsworth, Calif. 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 Elisabeth Scranton History Award was presented to Zachary Lecius of Ft. Myers, Fla. 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 Sydney J. Goertzen of Salisbury, MD and Gemma M. F. Brown of Salisbury. It is given in recognition of the student(s) showing the most meritorious work in the field of physics.

George Mitchell Harris of Greensboro 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 Elin K. Sodersten of Jarfalla, W. Va. It is awarded annually to a chemistry major(s) during their freshman year in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement.

Recipients of the Mathematics Award were Federico Borrego Higareda of Mexico City, Mexico, and Branden Davis of Thomasville. 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.

Eleanor King of Matthews 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.

Zach Mayo of Concord and Ashley Becker of Rockwell 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 Troutman, 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.

The College Chairman's Award in Music went to Angel Paez of Charlotte and Jessica Yates of Salisbury. 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 L. Fogleman of Liberty 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.

Brittney Lawhorn of Midlothian, VA 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.

Hannah Mercer of Lexington 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 Arnold of Hillsboro, Ore. 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.

Nicole Grace Hall of Statesville 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.

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

Hannah I. Hutchens of Mocksville 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.

Zac Karvon of Concord 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.

Olivia Wooldridge of Porirua, New Zealand 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.

Rachel Martin, Lexington, and Patrick Dissosway, Lewisville, 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.

Cassandra Damery of Matthews 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
Morgan Hester of Salisbury 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 student Emory McNeely of Mooresville and Earl Givens Jr., Director of the Corriher-Linn-Black Library. 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 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 2019-2020 Staff Member of the Year Award went to Nurse Kathi Welborn of the Health Services Department. This award is presented annually and selection is made by a popular vote of the students.

Dr. Edith Bolick, Professor of Sociology, was selected as Professor of the Year for 2019-2020. 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.

Albert L. Rush Jr. of the Environmental Services 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 Amy Williams of the President's Office. 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. Phillip Burgess, Associate Chair of the Music Department and Director of Choral/Vocal Studies, 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.

Dr. Edith Bolick, Professor of Sociology, 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 Federico Borrego Higareda of Mexico City, Mexico, and Emily L. Fogleman of Liberty. 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 1925-44, 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 class may vote.

Watch Awards Presentation

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