Three Catawba College graduates were recognized during Commencement Exercises on campus for academic excellence. Two were honored as the Whitener Award recipients during the 10 a.m. ceremony, while one student was honored as the Barbara Andrews Award recipient during the 2 p.m.
The Whitener Medals are the most prestigious awards given by Catawba College to our graduating seniors. The awards are presented each year at the Graduation Ceremony in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, North Carolina, who served as a trustee of Catawba College from 1921 to 1966 and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944.
The medals honor the man and woman in the graduating class who embody, to a high degree, the qualities of good character, leadership, and scholarship. Recipients are nominated with final selections made by the faculty. This award has been presented annually since 1927.
Tiffany Yvonne Cox
The female recipient of the Whitener Award for 2007 was Tiffany Yvonne Cox of O'Fallon, Illinois. A theatre arts major, she distinguished herself both in and out of the classroom.
She has been a member of numerous organizations on campus, including the Dance Team, Blue Masque, Alpha Psi Omega, the Catholic Campus Ministry, the Catawba Crazies, Nature Safe, the Alpha Program, Dance Ensemble, Phi Sigma Iota, and the Student Government Association. She served as a resident assistant and member of the Residence Life Staff for two academic years.
She performed in numerous Catawba theatre productions, including "The Cradle Will Rock," "Exit the King," "Sweeney Todd," "Trojan Women," "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," and "I Love You You're Perfect Now Change." She also led efforts to commemorate Black History Month on campus, coordinating a series of events and activities to commemorate the occasion.
Cox participated in Katrina Relief efforts with her fellow students during a trip to the hard-hit Pascagoula area. Proceeds from the annual charity dance showcases which she has participated in and helped plan have benefited Godstock.
She was elected as a representative on the Homecoming Court in both 2003 and 2005 and chosen as Ms. Catawba in 2006-2007.
She has maintained a grade point average above 3.7 and remained on the Dean's list and the Presidential Honor Roll. She is a member of both the Alpha Chi National Honor Society and Phi Epsilon Honor Scholastic Society. In recognition of her collegiate achievements, her name appears among those listed in Who's Who Among American College Students.
Nikolas Dewight Kear
The male recipient of the 2007 Whitener Award is Nikolas Dewight Kear of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In his four years at Catawba, he completed two academic majors: one in theatre arts and the other in political science with an emphasis in American government.
His academic performance has consistently earned him a place on the Dean's List, membership in the Alpha Chi national honor society, Phi Epsilon Honor Scholastic Society and Alpha Psi Omega National Honorary Theatre Society. He served as a Junior Marshal for the college and has been involved in the College Honors program.
Kear has been a member of the Catawba Political Science Association, the Order of the Blue and White, the Blue Masque, and the Theatre Arts Student Advocacy Committee, holding leadership positions in several of these organizations.
He has served as assistant pianist at Cartertown Baptist Church in his hometown, and has been involved with food drives for the Sevier County Food Bank, also in his hometown. He has worked with children during weeklong church camps, and has participated regularly in Operation Christmas Child.
The Barbara Andrews Award
Each year, the college recognizes with the Barbara Andrews Award the graduating senior in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies who most successfully embodies the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship. This award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews, the first director of this Program at Catawba College.
The selection is made by the Catawba College faculty from the six graduating seniors in the program with the highest grade point averages. Students eligible are those who have attended Catawba for at least two years and have earned a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.5.
William Patrick Gibbs
William Patrick Gibbs is a native of Montana who grew up on a ranch, raising cattle and sheep. He now makes his home in Salisbury and is currently employed as parts manager at James River Equipment in Salisbury.
He enrolled at Catawba as a traditional student after earning an associate's degree at Casper College in Wyoming. After only a semester, he transferred to the College's evening program as a fulltime student. This allowed him to attend class fulltime while holding a fulltime job.
Despite working fulltime, this year's Barbara Andrews Award recipient has maintained a very high grade point average and has consistently held a place on the Dean's List and the President's Honor Roll. He was inducted into the Beta Sigma Chi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, the national honor society which promotes academic excellence in non-traditional programs. He was also tapped to serve as a Junior Marshal for the College during the 2004-2005 academic year.
Gibbs is married to 2002 Catawba alumna, the former Bridgette Edwards, and plans to attend graduate school.