A college alumnus and three graduating seniors received special recognition during the commencement exercises.
2010 O.B. Michael Award Recipient
A 1982 Catawba College alumnus, C. Shuford Abernethy, III of Conover, N.C., was honored as the recipient of the O.B. Michael Award for 2010. The O. B. Michael Award has been presented annually since 1938 by the Catawba College Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, to a graduate of the College who has made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the larger society. Originally called the Citizenship Cup, it was established by the Reverend O.B. Michael, Class of 1919, in memory of his father, an alumnus of Catawba College and pioneer teacher and preacher.
Abernethy served as student body president and managed the campus radio station WNDN while he was a student at Catawba. He majored in business administration and economics and minored in German and computer services. He was selected to be the Class of 1982's male recipient of the Whitener Award, the highest student award Catawba bestows.
He joined the Catawba College Board of Trustees in 1983 at age 23 and holds the distinction of being the youngest appointee to that Board. He has served since his appointment and his service on the board overlapped for more than 25 years with that of his father, the late Claude Abernethy, Jr., who served as a college trustee for 50 years. Abernethy co-chairs the board's academic and student affairs committee.
Abernethy and wife Jayne are parents of four children: Clara, Clay, Sam and Rose. He is president of Abingdon Senior Housing Services, Inc., located in Hickory, N.C. He is a member and leader at Corinth United Church of Christ and he has served as a scoutmaster for the oldest troop in America.
2010 Whitener Award Recipients
Two graduates in Catawba's traditional day program were recognized as the 2010 recipients of the Whitener Award. Amber Michelle Hughes of Seattle, Washington, and Grant Alexander Gibson of Owen Sound, Ontario, were honored with the most prestigious awards given by the college to 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 awards, actually medals, have been presented annually since 1927 and 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.
Hughes majored in sociology and her academic prowess led to her induction into several honor societies on campus, including Alpha Chi, Phi Epsilon, and Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre arts honor society. Her strong academic standing allowed her name to appear regularly on both the Dean's List and the Presidential Honor Roll and she was tapped for service to the college as a Junior Marshal. She was among those listed in Who's Who Among American College Students for 2010.
At Catawba College's Awards Convocation last month, Hughes was the recipient of the Frances Decker Wentz award, given annually to the upper class student who has demonstrated, through distinguished performance of responsibilities, a real concern and aptitude for the theory and practice of library science and service.
Hughes is a member of the Blue Masque and has participated in numerous theatre productions. She has been active in the Retreat Leadership Corps, helping plan and lead freshman retreats and spiritual growth retreats. Through her work with Volunteer Catawba, she has spent time working with Habitat for Humanity, the Horse Protection Society, Rowan Helping Ministries, and Trinity Oaks. She has been involved with Young Life at West Rowan High School, spending 10 to 12 hours each week conducting Bible Studies, club events and attending sporting events.
Gibson was the first Sustainable Business major to be inducted into the Ketner School of Business Honor Society. In recognition of his outstanding academic performance, he was inducted into Alpha Chi national honor society, and Gamma Sigma Epsilon national chemistry honor society. He also is an active member of the Dead Athenian Society (DAS), serving as that organization's president, and a member of the Order of the Blue and White. He is a member of the campus project team organized to help obtain LEED certification for the College's Center for the Environment.
He was the captain of the Men's Swim Team and holds school records in the 1650 and 1000 freestyle, and was part of the team that set a new 4 x 200 freestyle school record earlier this year.
His community service activities have been an integral part of his college life. He has volunteered with the Red Cross, Rowan Helping Ministries and Habitat for Humanity. He has also helped organize some key campus events for his colleagues, including the popular DAS Luau, Catawba palooza and Dive-In Movies. Over breaks and during the summer, he has served as a volunteer coach for his club swim team back home.
2010 Barbara Andrews Award Recipient
John Eugene Setliff, Jr., a graduating senior in Catawba's School of Evening and Graduate Studies was the recipient of the Barbara Andrews Award.
That award is given each year to the graduating senior in the School of Evening and Graduate Studies who most successfully embodies the attributes of character, leadership and scholarship. The award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews, the first director of the evening program at Catawba. 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.
Setliff, who is employed by the Rowan County Tax Assessor's Office as manager of business personal property, received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in the 2 p.m. commencement exercise. He entered the workforce decades ago with an associate's degree from a community college. Initially, he worked for Fieldcrest Mills as a general accountant, and then was promoted to supervisor of general accounting for Fieldcrest Cannon and later to manager of corporate accounting. When Fieldcrest was purchased by Pillowtex, Setliff continued as manager of corporate accounting until that operation was closed in 2003.
Due to Setliff's academic standing, he was tapped for membership in Catawba's Beta Sigma Chi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society. He is a member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Salisbury where he has served on the church vestry and other committees. He has volunteered with Rowan Helping Ministries and United Way and is a supporter of the American Red Cross, as a 30-year blood donor and more recently as a platelet donor.
Married to wife Karen for 33 years, Setliff and she make their home in Salisbury and are parents of two adult children, Emily and John.
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