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Catawba College to Host Graduation Exercises May 15

May 3, 2010

Category: Academics, Events

GraduateCatawba College's Keppel Auditorium of the Robertson College-Community Center will be the site of two graduation exercises on Saturday, May 15, and those planning to attend will need a ticket.

On that day, 173 students in the College's traditional day program have the opportunity to participate in a 10 a.m. exercise, and 109 adult students in the College's School of Evening and Graduate Studies program will receive their diplomas in a 2 p.m. exercise. Each prospective graduate planning to take part in the ceremonies is offered a limited number of tickets for friends and family, and college officials note that persons without tickets should not expect to be admitted to the 1450-seat venue.

Catawba College President Dr. Craig Turner will deliver his charge to each group of graduates and the duration of each ceremony is expected to be less than two hours. The Whitener Awards, given annually to the top academic male and female in the traditional program's graduating class, will be presented during the 10 a.m. exercise, while the Barbara Andrews Award, given annually to the top academic student in the evening program, will be presented during the 2 p.m. exercise. Additionally, during the 10 a.m. exercise, the annual O.B. Michael Distinguished Alumnus Award will be presented.

O.B. Michael Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipient
Catawba College alumnus C. Shuford Abernethy, III '82 of Conover, N.C., is this year's recipient of the annual O.B. Michael Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award is given annually by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in memory of the Reverend O.B. Michael, class of 1919. The award is presented to an alumnus or alumna who has made a valuable contribution to the College and/or to society.

Abernethy served as student body president and managed the campus radio station WNDN while a student at Catawba. He majored in business administration and economics and minored in German and computer services. He was selected to be the Class of 1982's male recipient of the Whitener Award, the highest student award Catawba bestows.

He holds the distinction of being the youngest appointee to the Catawba College Board of Trustees. He was asked to join that board at age 23, in 1983, and has served since that time. His service on the board overlapped for more than 25 years with that of his father, the late Claude Abernethy, Jr., who served as a college trustee for 50 years. Abernethy has a special interest in student affairs and co-chairs the board's academic and student affairs committee.

Abernethy and his wife, Jayne, are parents of four children:  Clara, Clay, Sam and Rose. He is president of Abingdon Senior Housing Services, Inc., located in Hickory, N.C.  He is a member and leader at Corinth United Church of Christ and he has served as a scoutmaster for the oldest troop in America.

Baccalaureate Service, May 14th
Graduating seniors from both the traditional day and the School of Evening and Graduate Studies programs will attend Catawba's Baccalaureate Service at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 14 in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on campus and tickets are not required.

Mamie McCullough, Ph.D., one of the country's most popular motivational speakers whose message is "it's not what happens to you, but what you make out of what happens that counts," will the homilist for the Baccalaureate Service.

McCullough, the "I Can" lady, worked with Zig Ziglar for 10 years as a speaker and author before forming her company, Mamie McCullough and Associates of Dallas, Texas, in 1989. She will share life-changing principles instrumental in providing others with ideas, suggestions and facts on how to "get life together".

McCullough's professional background is widely varied and peppered with personal triumphs. She has overcome poverty and other adversities, including cancer. She started her business career as a secretary and became vice president of 13 corporations by age 28. Later, she became a sales director for a direct sales organization and during one year was among the top 10 in recruiting. She has also worked as an educator, teaching every level from eighth grade through college, and has served as a principal of a large Georgia high school.

Following the Baccalaureate Service, the graduating class will process by candlelight in the traditional Marshal's Walk from the chapel, along Oliver's Way, to the exterior of the Robertson College-Community Center. After College Marshal David Pulliam speaks with the graduating seniors about the symbolism of their lighted candles, the outgoing and incoming student body presidents, as well as the senior class president, will offer brief remarks to their graduating classmates.

For a complete listing of graduation activities, visit


PhotosPHOTOS: Graduation 2010


President Turner's Commencement Address


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InfoGraduation 2010 Info

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