Catawba awarded $25,000 grant supporting pursuit scholarship

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2022

SALISBURY — The Teagle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Catawba College a $25,000 grant to support The Pursuit, a humanities scholarship program for first-year students.

“I am absolutely thrilled that we received this grant from the Teagle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Assistant Professor of English Patrick Swaney. “Thanks to a generous gift from a donor, we were able to start The Pursuit, and the funding and resources from the grant will allow us to further develop the program and provide students with opportunities for meaningful engagement with the humanities.”

The Pursuit introduces Catawba students to the humanities through transformative texts and provides them with important context for their remaining coursework, academic endeavors, and professional aspirations. While improving their reading, writing, critical thinking, and communication skills, students will engage with big questions, like what is happiness, what does it mean to be successful, how do you lead a life of purpose, virtue, and fulfillment.  They will gain a broader lens, across culture and time, through which to view their studies, career, and life goals.

“This fall, I’ll be teaching a section of the first course in The Pursuit’s two- course sequence,” continued Swaney. “The course is organized around the theme of the hero’s journey. We will be reading texts such as Beowulf and Euripides’ Medea as we explore the way collective storytelling both shapes and reflects culture, community, and individual identity.“

Students are invited to apply for the program to receive a $2,000 scholarship their first year, with additional funding opportunities available in their following four years at Catawba.

To receive the initial $2000 scholarship, students complete two courses in their first year—a special section of GEN 1200: First-Year Seminar in the Fall and HUM 2000: Transformative Texts in the Spring. These courses satisfy
credits toward graduation.

“In my section of HUM 2000, which is oriented toward students planning careers in business, I want them to consider their eventual ’real lives‘ and not just their professional aspirations and earning potential,” said Mike Wilson, Catawba College professor of modern foreign languages. “We will use great writers and thinkers of the past, including Poe, Melville, Franklin, Miller, Cheever, and Garcia Marquez as well as great films including “Citizen Kane,” to explore the inner selves of interesting characters. Ultimately, we want our graduates to do well, but – perhaps more importantly – to do good.”

Throughout their freshman year, students also participate in a variety of enrichment activities unique to The Pursuit. Students attend lectures with important scholars, have dinners with successful and well-connected alumni of Catawba, visit museums, attend literary readings, see performances, and more. The first event—open to the public—will be an evening with Maria Dahvana Headley, translator of Beowulf, on September 20.

Students accepted to Catawba College for Fall 2023 are encouraged to apply to join The Pursuit by completing an application and writing a short essay in response to an assigned question.

The Scholarship Award
If selected to join The Pursuit, students will receive a $2000 scholarship as part of their financial aid package during their first year at Catawba College. Students who decide to minor in the humanities, English, history, modern doreign languages, or religion will qualify for $2000 per year until their senior year. Students who decide to major in a
humanities field will receive $2,500 per year until their senior year.

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