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Catawba College honors employees for length of service

SALISBURY — Catawba College took a moment Monday to recognize people who have worked for the institution for anywhere from five to 30 years.

The college would normally recognize its employees in the spring for how long they have been with the college, but this year the event was postponed due to COVID-19. The college will give every employee a gift as well. This time, the event was held outside, and the college arranged for a pair of food trucks to serve everyone. There was some seating, but President David Nelson recognized many people would want to go back to their offices to eat because the weather, windy and overcast, was not great.

Nelson read the names of everyone receiving an award. Those who were able to attend were handed the award by Drew Davis, Catawba’s director of Human Resources.

The lunch was not just about service. An internal email described it as a lunch to celebrate the fact that “we made it through the end of the semester.”

Nelson noted the college managed to stay in the “green” on its color coded COVID-19 monitoring system through the semester. Though, the college had a few scares where it looked like it may jump into “yellow.” It saw a slow climb in active cases during the semester.

Students were released for Thanksgiving last week and are now taking final exams online. They will not be back until Jan. 25, a delayed start.

“We made it,” Nelson said to the crowd, noting he knew many were concerned the college would have to move all online early in the semester.

Nelson told the Post there is a great deal of relief the college succeeded at holding a fall semester, but Catawba is only halfway through the academic year.

“Right now we’re focusing on the fact everyone worked so enormously hard to make this work for the fall,” Nelson said.

Religion professor Barry Sang, who was recognized for 35 years of service, said the people at Catawba feel more like family to him every year.

“Watching my colleagues grow into even more astounding types of professors and people is a privilege,” Sang said.

Sang said the people the college attracts, both the students and the faculty, are good people who care about each other. If he had to choose, Sang said, the care he sees for students by professors is the most important thing for him.

“It’s beautiful to see how deeply they care, how willing they are to help the students out,” Sang said.

Sang, a generalist who teaches a variety of courses, said he also just loves talking about the material.

“That means I get to talk about lots of neat things, and that’s a treat,” Sang said.

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