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Catawba College Trustees Direct Administrators to Refine Targeted Master Plan and to Appeal NCAA Ruling Concerning Catawba's Indians

October 24, 2005

Category: Alumni

The Catawba College Board of Trustees authorized college administrators to refine a targeted master plan for the campus and to appeal a recent NCAA ruling against the use of the term “Catawba Indians” by the institution's athletic teams.  These actions were based on unanimous votes by the trustees at their semi-annual meeting held October 18 on campus.

Targeted Campus Master Plan
In May of this year, College officials retained the services of Knoxville, Tennessee-based consulting firm of Lawler-Wood to complete a targeted master plan for the development of campus facilities and spaces.  Representatives of that firm presented their final report, which emphasized student housing needs on campus, to Trustees. 

The report included a series of projects, divided into five phases, which would be undertaken over a four-year period, along with a timeline for each phase, and a project and development budget with financing option recommendations.  Total cost for the projects, including financing options, is $29.2 million.  

Recommendations in the report included: Phase 1 – expansion and renovation of the existing library into a new academic center (a project already in the works with Salisbury architect Bill Burgin); Phase II – development of a new residence hall which would entail the elimination of Abernethy and Foil House residence halls, and the cosmetic upgrade of Woodson Hall; Phase III – expansion of the existing Cannon Student Center; Phase IV – renovation of the existing Cannon Student Center; and Phase V – development of a new physical plant facility and additional campus parking. 

Representatives of Lawler-Wood spoke about their reliance on Catawba’s Strategic Plan in guiding their work on the targeted master plan.  Its key elements include the institution’s commitment to embrace scholarship, character, culture, and service; to increase academic standards of its incoming students in order to move Catawba from a select to a more select institution; and to be a purposeful and open community.  The consultants also compared Catawba’s existing facilities with those of its targeted aspirant institutions, including Centre College in Kentucky, Hendrix College in Arkansas, and Rhodes College in Tennessee. 

Lawler-Wood Vice President Scott Seaman said razing Abernethy and Foil House and building a new residence hall on campus which would have both apartment and suite-style residential units for students would make Catawba more competitive with its peer institutions.  

Expansion and renovation of the Cannon Student Center, renovated in the 1980s, would provide more places for students to gather and interact outside of classrooms and residence halls.  These changes would provide more formal and informal spaces for campus and communityEvents, a larger book store, and would relocate the campus wellness center from the basement of Hoke Hall to the Cannon Student Center. 

Expansion of the Cannon Student center would necessitate the demolition of the current maintenance/storage building and require construction of a new physical plant facility and additional parking at another location on campus. 

At the conclusion of Lawler-Wood's presentation, trustees passed a resolution which endorsed the concepts and recommendations outlined in the Targeted Master Plan and authorized College administrators to consult further with that firm to refine the proposal. A final proposal would then be acted on by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

NCAA Appeal
College Administrators reported to trustees on the work that has been completed since a summer ruling by the NCAA concerning Catawba and 17 other institutions' use of Indian names and mascots for their athletic teams.  The NCAA ruled that the use of Indian names and mascots by those institutions was “hostile and abusive.” The athletic governing body also warned that those institutions could face sanctions such as being prohibited from playoff competition if they did not either change their mascots or team names or provide a strong appeal to counter the NCAA ruling. 

Working with the College's Athletic Task Force, administrators formulated a plan of action which entailed meeting with Gilbert Blue, chief of the Catawba Indian Nation in Rock Hill, S.C.  After that meeting, Chief Blue provided Catawba with a letter wherein his tribe sanctioned the use of the term, “Catawba Indians,” by Catawba's athletic teams.  As an additional outcome of that meeting , Chief Blue and College officials agreed to work closely together to promote awareness of the heritage of the Catawba Indians in the Carolinas and to develop collaborative programs which would benefit both the tribe and the College.

Based on the information provided them, Trustees authorized College officials to appeal the NCAA's ruling against Catawba.

Other Business
In other matters, Catawba College Trustee and Chairman of Catawba's Endowment Campaign Chester A. “Junie” Michael III '70 of Mooresville gave trustees an update on the College's campaign effort to date.  He said that $22.5 million had been raised toward the $35 million goal.  He noted that 30 of the 48 trustees who had been contacted about making gifts to this effort had responded positively with contributions. 

Michael serves as campaign chair, while Trustees James F. Hurley and Ralph W. Ketner, both of Salisbury, serve as honorary co-chairmen of the endowment campaign.  Trustee William Graham serves as the Rowan County campaign chair.  Other members of the campaign steering committee include trustees Darlene L. Ball '62 of Greensboro, Barry D. Leonard '65 of Greensboro, Samuel A. Penninger Jr. '63 of Alpharetta, Ga., Charles G. Potts '53 of Charlotte, Richard J. Seiwell '67 (ex-officio) of West Chester, Pa., Ronald L. Smith of Salisbury, and Tom E. Smith '64 (ex officio) of Salisbury. 

In addition to raising funds for the endowment which will allow Catawba to provide scholarships for students, the campaign effort will raise funds to endow professorships, to maintain and upgrade specific facilities, including the Leonard Lounge of the Cannon Student Center, to establish endowment funds for academic and student programs and the College's work study program which provides on-campus employment for students. 

Trustees approved the annual audit and the current fund budget for 2005-2006.  They also voted unanimously to grant Trustee Richard “Dick” McGimsey of Roanoke, Va., who recently resigned from the board after 22 years of service, trustee emeritus status.

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