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Catawba College Inducts 30 into New Honors Society for First-Generation College Students

April 8, 2019

Category: Academics, Events, Students

co-trialpha.pngThirty Catawba College first-generation students were inducted into a newly established honors society, Alpha Alpha Alpha in a 3 p.m. ceremony held Sunday, April 7, in the Hurley Room on campus.

Catawba College is only the second higher education institution in North Carolina to establish a chapter of Tri-Alpha, specifically for first-generation college students. Two Catawba first-year employees, Dr. Kimberly A. Smith, an Associate Professor of Exercise Science, and Marcus Washington, Director of Housing and Residence Life, are the impetus and the new advisors behind the establishment of the Alpha Alpha Alpha Honors Society.

Catawba students inducted during the inaugural ceremony include Jhalisa Bell of San Diego, Calif; Megan Braun of Salisbury; Sarah Brown of Concord; Dustin Chapman of Whiteville; Alana Cooper of Mt. Pleasant; Christina D’Amelio of Kannapolis; Sarah Ducote of Mocksville; Rebecca Fortner of Salisbury; Amy Gardner of Winston-Salem; Andrea Garrido-Lecca of Salisbury; Malissa Giannetti of Arden; Melisa Greene of Charlotte; Tannon Guard of China Grove; Larry Harvey of Rockwell; Kira Harwood of Salisbury; Nicole Hunter of Salisbury; Katelyn Jones of Apex; Brittney Lawhorn of Midlothian, Va.; Cindra Martin of Mooresville; Angel Paez of Charlotte; Karla Fragoso-Perez of Salisbury; Emily Poteat of West Jefferson; Justin Potter of Surry, Va.; Andrew Romano of Mooresville; Yeimi Reyni Romero of Concord; Carine Shami of High Point; Patrisha Strickland of Mooresville; Danyelle Thompson of Yadkinville; Jasmine Wiitala of Morrisville; and Gavin Wooten of Lexington.

co-trialpha2.pngInduction into Tri-Alpha is earned by outstanding academic achievement and lasts for a lifetime. The Society’s mission is to encourage and reward academic excellence among first-generation college students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accredited institutions of higher learning.

To be eligible for membership in Tri-Alpha, students must have earned at least 36 credit hours towards a baccalaureate degree, have achieved an overall GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, and neither of the students’ parents, nor step-parents, nor legal guardians, have completed a bachelor’s degree.

Traditionally recognized as an institution that assists first-generation college students in achieving their highest potential, Catawba’s 2018-2019 student enrollment is made up 463 first-generation students, or approximately 36 percent of the overall student population of 1,301. 

An active Tri-Alpha chapter promotes academic excellence and provides opportunities for personal growth, leadership development, and campus and community service for first-generation college students.

The inaugural chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha was founded March 24, 2018 at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with over 100 members, including undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and honorary members, inducted that day. After that successful induction, Moravian College took steps to incorporate Tri-Alpha as a not-for-profit organization, so other chapters could start at campuses across the country.

To learn more about Alpha Alpha Alpha, visit

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