The scholarships provided by Ralph W. Ketner and his wife, Anne enabled 115 Rowan County students to attend Catawba College this academic year. Many of those students attended a luncheon held Thursday, Sept. 30 in Peeler Crystal Lounge on campus and shared their appreciation directly with the couple.
Junior Michelle Haynes of Rockwell, a 2002 graduate of East Rowan High School, spoke on behalf of her fellow scholarship recipients and thanked the Ketners “for your contributions that support our college education.” She recalled that receiving a Ketner Scholarship was a deciding factor in her decision to attend Catawba. She told the Ketners that her parents were also “very appreciative of your benevolence” since “they are still paying for my brother’s out-of-state tuition and he’s 29 years old.”
Haynes, a chemistry major with plans to attend medical school, noted that she, like the Ketners, plans to give back to Catawba when she finishes medical school and begins performing eye surgery.
Junior Nolan White, a graduate of South Rowan High School, recalled wondering if he would actually be able to go to college. He called the Ketner Scholarship he received “a gift” which allows him to enter the education field. “My professors are my heroes in a world where there are very few paragons of virtue.
“I am continually thankful that there are people like the Ketners because if they hadn’t given me a helping hand, I wouldn’t be able to give back in the future,” White concluded.
Sophomore Amanda McDaniel of Cleveland lamented that there were “not enough people like the Ketners in the world.” She told the couple that the scholarships each of the students received “means more to some than to others, but it means something to all of us.”
Sophomore Sherri Hill of East Spencer said that receiving a Ketner Scholarship in some way affirmed what her mother had always told her – that “good work never goes unnoticed.” Her scholarship, she contended, was her reward for her years of hard work in both high school and college.
The Ralph W. Ketner Rowan County Scholarships were first awarded in 2000 by Ketner, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Food Lion, and his wife Anne, as a way to show their gratitude to the people of Rowan County for their past support of Food Lion. Their munificence has grown each year since then, enabling more students to receive scholarships. In 2002 65 Catawba students were scholarship recipients and that increased to 96 Catawba students in 2003.
Catawba College President Dr. Robert Knott noted that Ralph Ketner was listed in a recent publication as one of the people in North Carolina who had made a significant difference in the state during the 20th century with his founding of the grocery store chain now known as Food Lion. Had a person bought a share of that fledgling company for $1,000 in 1957, in 1989, it would have been worth $16 million, he said.
Referring to the Ketners, Knott said, “These folks have helped transform this community and Catawba College. One of the ways we show our thanks is in the way we live and work and use the resources that they’ve given to us.”
Ralph Ketner encouraged those recipients of his scholarships to “make a success of your time here at Catawba in order to say ‘Thanks’ to your parents.” And Anne Ketner echoed his sentiments: “Neither Ralph nor I could pay for our college – we had to have help. When you get out there and are successful, pass it on! That is what we’re here for, to help each other.”
In addition to those aforementioned, other Ketner Scholarship recipients include Charlie Aldridge, Jonathan Allen, Starla Allen, Timothy Ayscue, Angela Bailey, Richelle Bates, Michael Beers, Pennie Benton, Kevin Biles, Tanya Blankenship, Timothy Brandt, Andrew Branning, Hollie Bruce, Kelly Burdeau, Hannah Burleson, Laura-Katherine Casner, Matthew Causey, Jason Chapman, James Davis, Ryan Dayvault, Rachel Derr, Justine Dionne, Austin Doby, Dacia Dryman, Amanda Durham, Eric Edmiston, Jennifer Everett, Sharon Everhart, Henry Fairley, Joshua Farmer, Mikel Fesperman, Enzley Fink, Carl Finney, Lauren Flynn, James Glenn, Jared Gordon, Bryan Graham, Steven Harvey, Jessica Hathcock, Brian Hatley, Toni Haynes, Jacob Helms, Rebecca Helms, Lindsay Hollifield, Amy Honeycutt, Elizabeth Ingle, Jessica Jones, Sara Jones, Christopher Junker, Nicholas Kalogeromitros, Tifani Kerr, James Kesler, Samuel Ketner, Jennifer Kidd, Nicholas Lefko, Paul Link, Alexander Lopez, Brant Marlin, Kristen McCachren, Michelle McIntosh, Justin McIntyre, Jonathan Menius, Shane Miller, Carly Moore, Michael Moore, Edward Moyer, Kelly Munday, Gail Murph, Taylor Osborne, Ashley Overcash, Matthew Pardue, Steven Patterson, James Peeler, Jennifer Pickler, David Pinkston, Jennifer Pitel, Kelly Poole, Charles Ramsey, Alesia Reavis, Aaron Rimer, Leslie Robertson, Douglas Royce, April Rummage, Johnathan Rummage, Laura Sanders, Blake Scearce, Danielle Scearce, Tyler Smith, Tabitha Solomon, Candice Spears, David Stoner, Stacy Suggs, Adam Taylor, Cheng Seng Thao, Raiza Toledo, Lyndsie Lee Tompkins, William Van Wieren, Shea Walker, Shelly Ward, Candace Weathers, Kacey Weaver, Lauren Weaver, Anthony Weddington, Ashley Wells, Jacqueline White, Amanda Wilson, Leslie Wilson, Aaron Young and Seiny Zapata.