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UPDATED: 3/31/20 - 11:28 a.m.

Ralph W. Ketner Honored at Video Premiere

August 28, 2015

Category: Business & Economics, Evening & Graduate, Staff

 Ketner was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine,
North Carolina's highest civilian honor.

A surprised and humble Ralph W. Ketner was honored with the North Carolina's highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, at an August 27th event that premiered a documentary video about his life as one of the co-founders of Food Lion. Ketner was surrounded by family, friends, Food Lion officials, and local dignitaries at the "Lessons in Leadership" premiere held in Keppel Auditorium on the Catawba College campus.

Food Lion agreed to produce the video when its concept was broached to them more than a year ago by then Dean of Catawba's Ketner School of Business Pam Thompson. During her remarks at the August 27th event, Food Lion President Meg Ham told Ketner, "Our gift to you is to preserve these memories and lessons in leadership for many years to come. There are some great stories in this video and leadership lessons we all need to be reminded of!"

Ham shared how Food Lion employees still love meeting Ketner and having their photos taken with him during special events. "He's a celebrity at Food Lion, too," she said of the iconic company co-founder.

 Ham thanks Ketner for his contributions to
Food Lion and to the community.

Speaking directly to Ketner, Ham added, "We're blessed to still have you here in the community, and on behalf of Food Lion's 64,000 associates, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"

In another surprise announcement, Salisbury City and Rowan County officials shared a joint proclamation, declaring Food Lion Day in the city and county on Friday, August 28, 2015.

Catawba President Brien Lewis used a phrase often quoted at the college, "We stand on the shoulders of giants," referencing Ketner's impact and influence, and noting, "No shoulders are larger than Mr. Ketner's." He pointed to Ketner's long-term service on the College Board of Trustees and quipped that no Catawba College student should be allowed to graduate without spending some time in conversation with Ketner.

Beyond the video premiere and the availability of the video on both the Food Lion and Catawba College websites, plans are being developed to distribute "Lessons in Leadership" and five lessons plans developed expressly to accompany it, into North Carolina high schools. These lessons plans were developed by several Rowan-Salisbury Schools educators to accompany the video and are currently available for download on the Catawba website at Information about the lessons plans and the video will be more broadly distributed to educators across the state on September 21, the day after Ketner's 95th birthday.

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