• 55°

Over 300 receive degrees during Catawba’s 167th commencement

By Andie Foley

SALISBURY — Saturday proved to be a day long awaited for students at Catawba College and their families, as over 300 were awarded diplomas during two commencement ceremonies.

For day students, the ceremony was held 10 a.m. in Keppel Auditorium with over 230 graduates. This 167th graduation ceremony drew a near full house with celebrating friends and family.

But one faculty member was absent: Dr. Barry Sang, professor of religion, who recently underwent heart surgery.

It was the first time he’d missed commencement in 33 years.

Brien Lewis, president of the college, decided to include him by giving him a call from the podium.

After being greeted with a mass “We love you, Dr. Sang,” the absent professor gave the graduates his best wishes.

“Please tell them that I pray for God’s blessings for their lives and for meaningful service and that I’ll miss them very much,” he said.

Next, Catawba professor and faculty senate chair, Erin Dougherty, encouraged students to keep moving forward on their paths of self-discovery.

“I’m also sure there are a number of you who are excited or nervous about what comes next,” she said. “Rest assured that wherever you have landed, it is temporary in the grand scheme of things. … There will be a path forward and even if it is not what you would have expected or anticipated it will be yours and where you are meant to be.”

Her message was extended to everyone, she said: those who had already landed the perfect job or those who may have been relegated to their parents’ couches while they searched for this opportunity.

“Each turn, each sidetrack, each setback allows you to learn something further about yourself,” said Dougherty. “Try not to be discouraged.”

Before the conferring of degrees, Catawba provost Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery took time to honor this year’s lone-retiring faculty member, Dr. Cheryl Peevy.

Peevy, a professor of modern foreign language, joined the college faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of Spanish.

Since then, she has served as chair of the college’s faculty senate on two separate occasions. She has also served as chair of the faculty tenure and promotion committee and the curriculum committee.

For the 1995-1996 academic year, Peevy was awarded the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching.

She was also awarded the Earl C. Poovey Professorship of Foreign Language from 2015 to 2017.

Rogers-Lowery said Peevy had recently become renowned for her volunteerism for the local animal shelter.

“She is known on campus as a fierce advocate for four-legged creatures,” said Rogers-Lowery, telling of her work with the Shelter Guardians, a local nonprofit that assists in fundraising efforts and adoption events at the shelter.

Peevy even started a Catawba College branch of the organization in 2015.

Lewis then recognized recipients of the Whitener Medals and O.B. Michael Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Kristen Rocko and Alex Turner received the Whitener Medals, and J. William “Bill” Hall, Jr. received the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Hall received the award once before in 2008.

After presenting the graduates with their degrees, Lewis gave them a charge.

“I charge you to go forth and pursue a life of purpose and of service, … to go forth and approach every opportunity and every challenge with enthusiasm, persistence (and) goodwill,” he said. “I charge you to go forth and pursue excellence. Make your alma mater proud.”

To view Catawba’s list of graduates for 2018, click here.



Salisbury man arrested for running from deputies in smoke shop, tossing gun under table


Blotter: Salisbury man charged with indecent liberties, first degree sex offense


Council to discuss potential changes to Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program


Election 2021: Bowman challenging Taylor in Rockwell mayor’s race


Public safety, city manager, economy: Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss city’s biggest issues


Political Notebook: Rowan Democratic Party makes endorsements for municipal races


Spencer looking for big impact from new storefront grants

Granite Quarry

Election 2021: Granite Quarry’s new mayor will be a veteran or a newcomer

Ask Us

Ask Us: If I received my vaccine in another county, is it recorded in Rowan?


Young entrepreneur raises $1,000 for Rowan County United Way with lemonade stand


Election 2021: Candidates in East Spencer hoping to continue moving town forward


Election 2021: Candidates detail their visions, goals if elected to Salisbury City Council

China Grove

Election 2021: China Grove Town Council candidates detail approaches to handling economic, residential growth


Election 2021: Four candidates competing for three seats in town of Cleveland


County hopes software will streamline foster home licensing process


Election 2021:Four vie for pair of seats on Granite Quarry board

High School

High school volleyball: Carson tops Mustangs again


Judge: No waiting on NC budget to act on school funding


2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles


Man jailed for shooting at Davie detectives in Rowan County given $560,000 bond


County Commissioner Craig Pierce pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated


Overdose call turns into homicide investigation on Ted Lane


Court judgment requires occupants to vacate Gheen Road home, site of two murders


Blotter: Oct. 17