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Catawba College Plans Fall Re-Opening for Students

May 7, 2020

Category: Academics, Alumni, Athletics, Events, Faculty, Staff, Students

Catawba College is planning to re-open to students in the fall, with the campus undergoing deep cleaning during the summer months in preparation, according to an announcement this week by Dr. Ken Clapp, Interim President.

Students left campus in March during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the spring semester was completed remotely.

“Our number one goal is to provide a safe, healthy environment where you are provided the quality education and experience Catawba provides her students and community members,” Dr. Clapp said. “Some things no doubt will be different,” he added, such as wearing facemasks and practicing social distancing in the classroom and other places.

The plans are “barring the unforeseen or another spike in cases of COVID-19,“ he said. In preparation for re-opening, Tom Smith Auditorium is getting new equipment, the Ketner School of Business building will re-open after extensive renovations, and artificial turf is being installed at Shuford Stadium. Catawba’s new President, Dr. David P. Nelson, will be on campus in June. He is currently president of Boston’s Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt).

Dr. Clapp said that Catawba’s future remains strong, even during the difficult times of the pandemic, “thanks in large part to very generous gifts of persons who believe strongly in the mission and work of the College.

“I want to assure you that you have no need to be anxious about the state of Catawba College,” he said. “We are having to make some budget cuts for next year but not nearly as severe as many institutions. We are not making wholesale reductions in faculty or staff. Some staff will be furloughed for short periods of time this summer, but this will be done in a way not to create economic hardship for them.”

In addition, the College is able to provide some assistance to students whose families have been severely impacted by COVID-19, “again, in large part due to the generous gifts from donors,” he said.

Returning students have registered in record numbers for the fall, and admission numbers are better than projections at some other schools, he said.

To help support prospective students and families, the College has extended its fall decision deadline until June 1 and has made available over 35 online course offerings at a reduced tuition rate of $349 a credit hour so that new students can get a jumpstart on their Catawba education.

“We know there is a great deal of uncertainty during this time for our prospective students and families about the fall semester,” said Dr. Jared Tice, Senior Vice President for the College Experience and Dean of Students.  “However, the College is committed to creating additional access and affordability for new students and stands ready to make the Catawba Experience, grounded in our Mission and Values, a reality for students wanting a residential experience grounded in personal attention with a focus on career preparation this fall,” Dr. Tice added. 

Dr. Clapp also said that 2020 graduating seniors will hold their commencement ceremonies later this year, with the College working toward a date in August, since graduates prefer that month. “For now, please accept my words of congratulations,” he said, addressing graduates. “On behalf of all of the Catawba community, the faculty who have taught you, the staff who have served you in a variety of capacities, the fans who have cheered you on the field or court or pool, at the presentations you have made, as you have represented Catawba, fellow classmates with whom you have shared all kind of experiences…on behalf of these and family members who have made the journey with you, I extend congratulations,” he said.

 Of the pandemic, he said, “The current situation is not as severe as some other past situations that have been weathered by Catawba. This history of persevering under difficult circumstances is due to the remarkable commitment of faculty and staff, of dedicated alumni and friends of the college and a commitment to a God given mission that provides value to the lives of students and our community and world.”

He reminded returning students to “do the things necessary to stay healthy so we can be together in the fall. 

“And to our alumni and friends, know that Catawba College is well positioned to continue its mission and looks forward to a strong future.”

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