"We've always felt that a college education is necessary for as many people as want to go get one. With our involvement in Catawba College's Chiefs Club and our interest in athletics here, we decided we would create an endowed scholarship with preference given to a student athlete, male or female."
That's how Catawba Alumnus Bill Hall '66 of Salisbury explains the new Bill and Rosemary Hall Endowed Scholarship that he and his wife recently established.
Hall, who grew up in Cleveland, says his parents "paid for the majority of my Catawba tuition and then, when I was a student, I worked in the athletic department as a football manager and worked with Dr. Earl Ruth, the then dean of students, as the director of the intramural program."
Hall graduated with a degree in health and physical education and a minor in history. Then thanks to Dr. Ruth, he explains, "I got into the grad program at UNC Chapel Hill, finished my master's degree in teaching in 1967 and came back to work at Catawba as an admissions counselor with Chub Richards."
"Chub and Earl Ruth are two of the people who probably structured my life as much as any two people did," Hall says. "Chub was the consummate gentleman who would do anything for anybody. Working for him for five years was a rewarding experience. Then, I became director of student activities in the Student Union which was located in what is now Hoke Hall. I did that for two years before I was named dean of students and I did that for three years, finally becoming dean of admissions, succeeding Chub."
He remembers with fondness the camaraderie with his peers at Catawba while he was an employee, especially Dr. Hans Roemer, Dr. Charles Turney and Warren Klawiter (head football coach in the mid-70s).
"One of unique things about my career is that I've only worked two places," says Hall, who is currently celebrating his 25th year of employment as a sales representative with Jostens' yearbook division. "I held different positions and had increasing levels of responsibility at Catawba and Jostens and I've worked many hours a day at both, but I can't imagine how I would fill those hours without working. I am asked about retirement all the time and do not have a proper answer to the question at this time. I truly enjoy the people I work with." He is happy to have Catawba Alumni Alison Klopp '95 and Luke Samples '05 as part of his sales and service staff.
Hall's Catawba employment experience has served him well in his work with Jostens. His current Jostens' territory spans 19 counties in North Carolina and Hall was familiar with all of the schools in it before he started to work for Jostens thanks to college fairs and admissions events he had attended for Catawba.
Hall, who serves on the Chiefs Club Board and has served two terms as its president, and wife Rosemary are known by many attending Catawba's home football games as the king and queen of tailgating. They and their tailgating cronies often turn their pre-game fun into substantial fundraisers for very good causes.
Around 2000, the Halls and friends whom Hall calls "the usual suspects," including Haney Honeycutt, Bob Setzer, Willie Lopez, Kent Rabon, Johnny Munday, Charlie Jarrell, John Isenberg and Steve Shuping began planning themed tailgate feedings for every home game. "We gave up stopping by KFC and getting buckets of chicken to eat in the parking lot, when football started being successful again," Hall explains. "We began doing themed feedings – seafood, Mexican, German, and beer can chicken. The last home game of the season is always thanksgiving – whatever your mother and grandmother put on your table at thanksgiving we had.
"Rosemary is in charge of donations and monies collected and dispensed. Sometimes those monies go to a good cause, other times it will go back into funding our future events," he continues. "Our group made a $1,000 donation to the Shuford Stadium lighting effort and the first year of block party at homecoming, our group paid for the band that played. We have even sponsored holes on the Catawba golf tournament."
Ironically, the theme plans for the 2008 home game tailgating were made this past December while Hall and his group watched Valdosta State and Northwest Missouri in the 2007 NCAA Division II Championship Game.
Hall jokes that Rosemary "has probably become the biggest Catawba fan who knew absolutely nothing about Catawba until she met me 20 years ago" and says Jarrell and Haney, the other non-alums among "the usual suspects" are adopted as Catawba alumni. A native of Kansas, Rosemary has experience as a customer service representative in Jostens' Topeka, Kansas plant. Hall met her at a private party in St. Louis and then had brunch with her the day after. That meeting and brunch began a two-year, long distance relationship which resulted in their marriage18 years ago.
Today, Rosemary is active in Meals on Wheels, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church and she's an avid sports fan. "There are seven televisions in our house and every one can be on so she doesn't miss anything going on," Hall quips. "People have told me that I have the perfect wife, a true sports fan who puts up with you and your friends."
Together, the couple has three adult children and six grandchildren
With a note of pride in his voice, Hall says, "I feel that Catawba is a better institution today than it was when I came here and overall the beauty of the campus is enhanced today. I can remember when the back of the campus was the heating plant and now it's the center of the campus since the addition of Frock Fields, the field house and the stadium.
"The stadium today is a showplace. It's the best-looking venue in our conference although some are larger with greater seating. And, there's always a sense of pride when I come here. Catawba is so important to this community and not just from an athletics standpoint, but from an arts and economics standpoint. I can't imagine Rowan County without Catawba, Livingstone, and Rowan Cabarrus Community College. The impact from educational and economic standpoints is tremendous."
Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress smiles as he speaks of Bill and Rosemary Hall. "They're truly a Catawba couple," Childress says. "They care so deeply about the institution, about its success, and their enthusiasm is contagious. And while they do have fun at the athletic events, they know what we're really about here – the students."