Catawba College holds annual awards convocation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

The focus was on student, faculty and staff achievement in service, leadership, academics and special merit during Catawba College’s annual awards convocation held April 11 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel.

Continuing an institutional tradition, most awards distributed were eco-friendly, made of Catawba-blue recycled glass, to symbolize the college’s commitment to sustainability.

Student Government Association officers and college representatives recognized

The outgoing Student Government Association president, Payton Coleman of Charlotte, was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. Coleman served as president during 2018-19 academic year.

Other outgoing officers recognized for their service were Vice President D. Reginald Pulley II of Baltimore; Treasurer Justin Potter of Surry, Virginia; and Secretary Adna Music of Salisbury.

Officers who will serve for the 2019-20 academic year were recognized, including President Pulley; Vice President Sarah Grace Cuthbert of Arlington, Virginia; Treasurer Emily Avalos of Rockwell; and Secretary Cassie James of Robbins. As one of his first acts as the incoming president, Pulley assisted with awards presentations.

The new Ms. and Mr. Catawba, elected by students to serve in the 2019-2020 academic year, were announced. They are Ashleigh Bornkamp of Mooresville and Federico Borrego Higareda of Mexico City, Mexico.

Service to the Community & Leadership Awards

Caylin Smith of Concord received the David Hoyle Award for Outstanding Service in student activities.

Malissa Giannetti of Arden received the Sara Cook Award for Student Involvement. This award was established by Student Affairs in recognition of the work of trustee Sara Cook and her role in alcohol education, policy and programs that have changed the campus culture. It is presented annually to s student who demonstrates a concern for the well-being of fellow students.

The Office of Student Affairs nominates candidates and makes final choices on the award winner.

Jessica Pautz of Mooresville, editor of “The Pioneer” student newspaper, received the Pioneer Award for her work and leadership on the paper’s staff.

Tafari Lanclos of Greensboro was awarded the Frances Decker Wentz Award. Established by the Corriher-Linn-Black Library staff in honor of the late Frances Wentz, the award is presented to an upper-class student who has demonstrated a concern and aptitude for theory and practice of library science and service.

Johnathon Boles, associate director of the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values, received the Kenneth Clapp Tri-Delta Award. Established by the Class of 2000 in recognition of the work of Ken Clapp, college senior vice president and chaplain, it is presented annually to a member of the faculty or staff who demonstrates dedication, devotion and dependability.

Students Jessie Willis of Albemarle and Alberto Borges of Nairobi, Kenya, along with Student Activities Director Jan Gillean, were recognized as Leaders in Environmental Stewardship. This award is presented to the those who best exhibit leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship. 

The President’s Award for Community Service was presented to John Wear, founder and executive director of the Center for the Environment and associate professor of biology and environmental science. The award is given to a member of the campus community for significant service to the Rowan-Salisbury community. The recipient is selected through nominations by the faculty and staff with final selection by the college president. 

Students Emily Wong of Kernersville, Oryan Malul of Rishon lesion, Israel, and Merritt Robinson of Salisbury received the Paul Fisher Service Award and Scholarship. It recognizes contributions throughout the year in service to others. The recipient of the scholarship award is chosen from among monthly Paul Fisher Service Award winners. The winner receives a scholarship provided by F&M Bank and the recycled glass award.

Darin Spencer, an assistant professor of accounting, also received the Paul Fisher Service Award. 

Members of Catawba’s team who participated in and were the overall winners the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities annual Ethics Bowl this year were recognized with certificates of appreciation. They are Bryana Eller of Randleman, Cassandra James of Robbins, Eleanor King of Matthews, and Hannah Ryan of Rosanna, Australia. The team coordinator was Norris Feeney, assistant professor of politics.

Academic Achievement Award

Aly Helal of Cairo, Egypt, received the Sherrill & Smith Award in Business Administration. It is given by the partners of Sherrill & Smith to the senior in the Ralph W. Ketner School of Business who achieves the best scholastic average during the year. 

The Millard F. Wilson Award for Excellence in Business was presented to Luca Picci of Salisbury and Lukas Helbing of Biggingen an der Teck, Germany. Given annually to seniors to recognize outstanding service to the School of Business, the award also recognizes academic achievement. The late Professor Millard F. Wilson, chairman of the business department at Catawba from 1949 to 1979, established the award.

Peyton Hedrick of Hickory received the Rebecca H. Frantz Essay Prize this year. This prize is given by an alumnus, Edwin Nance of Altoona, Pennsylvania, in memory of the mother of three former Catawba students. It is awarded to the writer of an essay judged by faculty to be the most original.  

Nilya Holcomb of Garner received the Bethany and Aidan Sinnott Poetry Award. It was established by the English Department in honor of Bethany Sinnott and in memory of Aidan Sinnott. The award recognizes potential as a poet, based on a portfolio of the student’s work. 

Vanna Christian of Salisbury was awarded the Martha H. Morehead Award for the outstanding single work — poem, short story or graphic contribution to The Arrowhead — during the year with the selection made by the English Department. The award is given in honor the late Martha Morehead, professor of English, whose nurturing of the arts at Catawba College was vital to The Arrowhead’s success.

Rebekah Jones of Gold Hill, Linda Hughes of Gainesville, Florida, and Sara Barbee of Salisbury shared the Rice, Andrews, Young Award. It is given in honor of the former chairs of the department of modern foreign languages to the foreign language major or minor who made the highest grades in foreign language studies. 

The Elisabeth Scranton History Award was presented to Tyler McHargue of Statesville. It is given in honor of a former professor of history to the student with the highest academic average during senior year and who represents the ideals of liberal scholarship in the area of history.

The Braun Award in Physics, established by 1934 alumna Anne Blodgett Bashore, was given to Mitchell Harris of Greensboro and Robert Morrison of Warrenton, Virginia. It is given in recognition of meritorious work in physics. 

Devan Shell of Ferguson was presented the Chemistry Prize. It is given to a student selected by the chemistry faculty who best represents the qualities of good character, overall scholarship, and excellence in chemistry coursework. 

The CRC Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award went to Caleigh Keena-Shadrick of Cape Coral, Florida, and Angel Mesimer of Richfield. It is awarded to chemistry majors in their freshman year in recognition of scholastic achievement.

The recipient of the Mathematics Award was Marcia-Mariel Erhart of Rodgau, Germany. It is presented annually by the mathematics department faculty to recognize outstanding ability, scholarship and interest in the field of mathematics.

Emily Pratt of Knoxville, Tennessee, received the Environment and Sustainability Award, given to the senior who has best demonstrated dedication, inspiration and academic achievement in the field of environmental science. 

Leah Huggins of Hope Mills and Laura Isenhour of Salisbury received the Shirley L. Haworth Prospective Teacher Award. It is presented to education majors or minors who have demonstrated outstanding potential as teachers based on classroom observations.

Zachary Alford of Mooresville received the Student Education Association/Cynthia B. Osterhus Award. It recognizes contributions to the Student North Carolina Association of Educators and the student who has shown the potential to become an excellent teacher. The recipient is chosen by the department of teacher education faculty. 

The College Chairman’s Award in Music went to Dustin Chapman of Whiteville. Given annually in recognition of past chairs of the department of music, it is presented by the faculty to recognized contributions to the department and the promise of future success in music. 

Malorie Ritchie of Salisbury received the Roberts Senior Psychology Award, named in honor of longtime psychology department Chairman A.E. Roberts. The award is presented to the psychology major who has been judged by graduating psychology majors as having made outstanding contributions to the department. 

Emily Brewer of Mooresville received the Sociology Award, recognizing a graduating senior for academic achievement in sociology and qualities sociological imagination.

Kyrbee Cheek of Burlington received the Whitley Award, presented annually for academic excellence, leadership, loyalty and dedication to the  values of Catawba College — scholarship, character, culture and service. The award is for outstanding service to the department of sport and health sciences and the community. It goes to a junior or senior female student who best exemplifies the standard of excellence established by Professor Pat Whitley.

Burke Fulcher of China Grove was awarded the William L. Russell Award, presented to the student who best demonstrates the values of Catawba. It recognizes outstanding service to the department of sport and health sciences and the community and is given to the junior or senior male student who best exemplifies the standard of excellence established by the late Bill Russell, who served as professor and chairman of physical education. 

Luke Humble of Salisbury received the Daniel E. Kirk Biology Award. It is given in honor of Daniel E. Kirk, former professor and chairman of the department of biology and former dean of the college. It is presented to a senior who has exhibited outstanding service and achievement in the department. 

Savannah Shaver of Salisbury received the Augustin Daly Award for Outstanding Student of the Year in Theater Arts. It is named in memory of one of North Carolina’s most historically important theater figures and voted on by the theater arts faculty.

Veronica Leasure of Salisbury received the Dr. Karl E. Hales Communication Award. It honors Karl Hales, who taught communications and speech at Catawba from 1966 until 2005.

Chase Cummins of Mooresville and Matthew Hefner of Salisbury were co-recipients of the Paul L. Baker Computer Science Award. It is given in honor of Paul L. Baker, professor emeritus of mathematics. The award is presented by the mathematics and computer science faculty to a student who has demonstrated ability, scholarship and interest in computer science.

Awards of merit and achievement

Lee Brackman of Athens, Georgia, received the Dean Grove Award, given annually to a student athlete majoring in math or science who demonstrates leadership in both areas. The late Rodger H. Lofland established the award in tribute to his high school coach, biology teacher and mentor. 

The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award was given to Dustin Chapman of Whiteville and Duane Aagaard, associate professor of sport management. A committee of students and faculty choose both a student and a staff member annually to receive this award. It recognizes spiritual qualities practically applied to daily living. The award was established by the New York Southern Society as a reminder of the noblest human qualities expressed and followed in the life of its first president, Algernon Sydney Sullivan. 

Catawba’s 2018-19 Staff Member of the Year Award went to Shelley Tyler-Smith, director of career services and internships. The award is is made by a popular vote of students. 

Darin Spencer, associate professor of accounting, was named Professor of the Year. The recipient, who is chosen by a popular vote of the students, demonstrates the best in classroom rapport, concern for students, and intellectual stimulation. 

Glenda Leonard, administrative assistant to the provost, received the Louise Tucker Staff Council Award. It is given to a staff member who demonstrates work ethic and job performance, with nominations made by members of the faculty and staff and the recipient selected by a vote of the Staff Council. 

The President’s Award for Staff Excellence was presented to Pam Barber, administrative assistant in athletics. It recognizes a member of the college staff for excellence in job performance and contributions to strengthening community spirit on campus. The recipient is selected through nominations from the faculty and staff, with a final selection by the college president. 

Joe Poston, professor of biology, received the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teacher. The selection was made by the Faculty Senate. The award was created by a gift from the late Hearne Swink, a former Rowan County resident and official with Cannon Mills Co.

Jim Stringfield, professor of teacher education and dean of the Goodman School of Education, was honored with the Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to the College. He was recognized for his 25-year contribution to academic life and for service to the college. The recipient is recommended by the Faculty Senate and endorsed by the board of trustees’ governance committee.

Whitener Medal Recipients

Recipients of the Whitener Medals were announced at the awards convocation, but the awards will be presented during the May 11 graduation exercise. They are Emily Hoffler of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, and Dustin Chapman of Whiteville.

Named in honor of the late Edgar Whitener of High Point, who served as president of the Catawba board of trustees from 1925 to 1944, the awards are presented annually to members of  the graduating class to recognize character, leadership and scholarship. Selection is made by the faculty from the three men and three women who received the highest number of votes in an election by members of the junior and senior classes.