Catawba graduation features noted author

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2011

By Tonia Black-Gold
Catawba College News Service
Catawba College’s two commencement exercises are slated for Saturday, May 14, in Keppel Auditorium of the Robertson College-Community Center.
On that day, the college will award baccalaureate degrees to 196 students graduating at 10 a.m. from the traditional day program and to 104 students graduating at 2 p.m. from the School of Evening and Graduate Studies. Seating is limited for both exercises and those planning to attend will need a ticket to enter the 1,450-seat venue.
Catawba College President Dr. Joseph Oxendine, ’52, will deliver his charge to each group of graduates and each ceremony is expected to last about two hours.
The Whitener Awards, given annually to the top academic male and female in the traditional program’s graduating class, will be presented during the 10 a.m. exercise, while the Barbara Andrews Award, given annually to the top academic student in the evening program, will be presented during the 2 p.m. exercise.
D.G. Martin, will be the commencement speaker at each ceremony. Martin, the host of “North Carolina Bookwatch” on UNC-TV and the author of a weekly newspaper column, “One on One,” is a retired lawyer, politician and university administrator. A native of Davidson, Martin attended Davidson College, where his father served as president. While there, he played basketball for former Davidson coach Lefty Driesell. After graduating, he was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served in its Special Forces. After leaving active military duty, Martin went on to graduate from Yale Law School and practiced law in Charlotte.
Martin has been involved with politics and public service throughout most of his life. He has served as interim vice chancellor for development and university affairs at both UNC-Pembroke and North Carolina Central University, and has served as the Carolinas director of the Trust for Public Land. He is also remembered for his 1998 campaign against John Edwards for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate.
Graduates and their families are invited to gather and visit over cookies and punch on the front lawn of the Robertson College-Community Center following each ceremony, weather permitting.
Graduating seniors from both the traditional day and the School of Evening and Graduate Studies programs will attend Catawba’s Baccalaureate Service at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on campus and tickets are not required.
Dr. W. Craig Turner, outgoing president of Catawba College, will deliver the homily at the service.
Following the Baccalaureate service, members of the graduating class will process by candlelight in the traditional Marshal’s Walk from the chapel, along Oliver’s Way, to the exterior of the Robertson College-Community Center. There, they will gather as College Marshal David Pulliam and other student representatives share brief remarks. A reception in Peeler Crystal Lounge for the graduates and their families will conclude the evening.
For a complete listing of graduation activities, visit the college website at