Catawba Presents Awards at Commencement Exercises
May 13, 2017
Several Catawba College students and a college alumnus were recognized during the College's May 13th Commencement Exercises held in Keppel Auditorium.
Two students from the day program were recipients of the Whitener Awards, while one student from the School of Evening and Graduate Studies was the recipient of the Barbara Andrews Award. College Chaplain and Senior Vice President, the Reverend Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp '70 received the O.B. Michael Award.
Anna S. Fields of Fairview and Justin M. Burroughs of Salisbury were the recipients of Catawba's prestigious Whitener Awards which have been presented each year at the graduation ceremony since 1927. They are given in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, who served as a trustee of Catawba College from 1921 to 1966 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944. The medals honor the man and woman in the graduating class who embody, to a high degree, the qualities of good character, leadership, and scholarship. Recipients are nominated, with final selections made by the faculty.
Fields' involvement has touched almost every sector of Catawba's campus. She has worked in the Writing Center as a peer-tutor for three years, served as an Alpha for two years, and was a Teaching Fellow in a First Year Seminar. Her fellow students voted her Ms. Catawba for 2016-2017. She has served as president and vice president of the Diversity Club, helping to organize campus-wide events during Diversity Week. In her role with the Diversity Club, she collaborated with other clubs to create inter-club events such as a Special Needs Fair held on campus last spring.
A West Scholar, Fields has plans for a career in teaching. She has been active in the Students North Carolina Association of Educators. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the teacher education honor society, Alpha Chi National Honor Society, and Phil Epsilon Honor Society on campus. She is a member of the Honors College and has been on the Dean's List every semester during her four years at Catawba. Her stellar academic performance earned her an invitation to serve as a Junior Marshal last year.
This young woman has also been active off campus, tutoring elementary students in literacy skills at the Rowan Public Library and assisting elementary students with English Language Learner barriers in learning to read. Since 2005, she has volunteered either in her home county or in Rowan County with the Special Olympics. She has also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity and Food for Thought.
Burroughs pursued an academic major in Chemistry and a minor in Biology during his time at Catawba. After graduation, he has been accepted as a Ph.D. candidate to study Polymer Chemistry at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
He is part of the Honors Program at Catawba, and is one of only nine students in this year's graduating class who wrote and presented a thesis. His honors thesis was entitled, “Changing the World through Chemistry: The Benefits of Biologically-Derived Molecules and Chemical Step Reduction in Manufacturing through the Analysis of the Triple Bottom Line Concept and Conscious Capitalism.”
While at Catawba, Burroughs was active in the Student Government Association, serving as Freshman Class Vice President, Executive Secretary, Executive President, Senator at Large, and Chair of the Student Issues Committee. He has served as a Retreat Leadership Corps Leader, as president of the Dead Athenian Society, and as secretary of the American Chemical Society on campus. He was a student member of the Honor Code Reform Group on campus, which helped recraft the college's honor code to be more understandable and relevant to today's students. He has also served as a teaching assistant for a First-Year Seminar class.
He has volunteered through Catawba Cares and put in service hours for organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Highway Cleanup, The Good Shepherd's Clinic, Rowan Helping Ministries, and for the United Church of Christ at the Black Lake Retreat Center.
Barbara Andrews Award
The 2017 recipient of the Barbara Andrews Award is April Roher of Concord.
Each year, the college presents this award to the graduating senior in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies who most successfully embodies the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship. This award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews, the first director of this Program at Catawba College. The selection is made by the Catawba College faculty from the six graduating seniors in the program with the highest grade point averages. Students eligible are those who have attended Catawba for at least two years and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.
Roher is in many ways a prototype of the typical working adult as she is now in her second career, the one in which she realized she needed a Bachelor's degree to advance. She started her college path at CPCC, and then entered Catawba's BBA in Management program. She is now actively working on a promotion with her current employer, where she has been for almost a decade.
Now that she has completed her degree and before she pursues a Master's degree, she hopes to spend some time crafting, and both line dancing and ballroom dancing.
O.B. Michael Award
A 1970 Catawba College alumnus who serves as our institution's Senior Vice President and Chaplain, the Reverend Dr. Kenneth Wayne Clapp was the recipient of the O.B. Michael Award.
Presented annually since 1938 by the Catawba College Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, it is given to a graduate of the College who has made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the larger society. Originally called the Citizenship Cup, it was established by the Reverend O.B. Michael, Class of 1919, in memory of his father, an alumnus of Catawba College and pioneer teacher and preacher.
A native of Whitsett, N.C., Dr. Clapp also serves the College as the Director of the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values.
He was first introduced to Catawba College while a teenager when he accompanied a group from his home church, Mt. Hope United Church of Christ, to the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel dedication in 1964. Because of Catawba's ties to the United Church of Christ, he felt called to the college as a student in 1966 to pursue his undergraduate degree in sociology.
While a student, he served as president of the Student Government Association, co-president of the Student Christian Association, chair of the Judicial Board and a member of the N.C. student legislature.
After graduating from Catawba, he went onto Yale Divinity School and Lancaster Theological Seminary and was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. His vocational calling led him first to serve as pastor of Emanuel UCC in Lincolnton, and then onto the UCC's Blowing Rock Assembly Grounds where he served as executive director of this facility before joining Catawba in 1989.
When he returned to Catawba as an employee, he was following in the footsteps of his great-great-great grand uncle's footsteps by taking a leadership role at Catawba; his family patriarch, Jacob C. Clapp, served as president of Old Catawba in Newton from 1861 until 1900.
Dr. Clapp served Catawba first as College Chaplain and Assistant Professor of Religion, then later as Chaplain and Vice-President for Student and Religious Life, responsible for all student services as well as teaching and the chaplaincy and two terms as interim dean of students. He then became Chaplain and Senior Vice-President and added to those duties was Facilities, Dining Services, Conferences and Transportation.
He has been and continues to be very supportive of his alma mater. He has served on the Catawba Alumni Association and chaired the Class of 1970's effort as it raised a $50,000 Challenge Gift in 1990. He has established a scholarship at the College in honor of his parents, the late Ernest and Lillian Clapp, who always encouraged his faith journey and his pursuit of education.
For decades, he has been a fixture on the sideline at home football games, cheering on his beloved students and serving as a visible reminder of his support and faith in them.
His service does not end at Catawba, however, he has chaired the First United Church of Christ Foundation, is a member of the advisory board of Piedmont Crossing Retirement Community, serves on the Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout Board of Review, is an advisor to Catawba's Dead Athenian Society, the Philomathean Society and to the Retreat Leadership Corps.
For his myriad service, he has been honored by Catawba with the Trustee Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, and the Professor of the Year Award on four different occasions during his tenure, and the Alpha Chi Award. In 2000, members of Catawba's senior class created an award named in his honor; The Kenneth Clapp Tri Delta Award. That award is given annually to a faculty or staff member who exemplifies his qualities of dedication, devotion and dependability. The United Church of Christ has honored him with its National Excellence in Teaching Award.