Three Catawba College graduates were recognized for academic excellence during Commencement Exercises on May 12. 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. ceremony.
The Whitener Awards are the most prestigious awards given by Catawba College to graduating seniors in the traditional day program. 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.
Claire E. Robinson
The female recipient of the Whitener Award for 2012 is Claire E. Robinson of Houston, Texas. A theatre arts major, with a concentration in design and production, she minored in English, distinguishing herself both in and out of the classroom.
She has been involved with Blue Masque — a Catawba student organization founded in support of theatre arts, Alpha Psi Omega — the theatre arts honor society, Alpha Chi — an academic honor society, and Phi Epsilon — an honorary scholastic society.
An Honors student at Catawba, she has been active in the college's Honors Program Student Council, serving as a representative on it for two years and as its chair for two years. She has been instrumental in organizing her fellow Honors students in preparing and serving breakfast several times a semester at the local Rowan Helping Ministries.
She has served as a tutor in our Writing Center, working with her peers of all skill levels in one-on-one sessions to improve their writing skills. She has also served as co-manager for the Corner Coffee and in that capacity, she has helped organize campus events and develop work schedules and work shifts at the coffeehouse.
The male recipient of the 2012 Whitener Award is Yakir Malul of Rishon Le-Zion, Israel. He majored in business administration, with a concentration in accounting, and minored in sociology. His efforts in the classroom have consistently landed him on the Dean's List.
In recognition of his academic performance in his major concentration — accounting, he was recently a accepted into the Master of Accountancy program at North Carolina State University and is currently one of the 14 finalists for a full fellowship into that program.
A competitive student-athlete, he has been a member of the Swim Team during his college career, earning academic all-American honors. He has also served as a resident assistant.
Active in the Student Government Association on campus, he has served as sophomore class senator, executive treasurer, and most recently, as executive president. He has been a member of the Philomathians, a men's service organization on campus, and has served on the CatawbaPalooza Planning Committee. He has found time off campus to be an active volunteer at the local homeless shelter and the animal shelter. He has even volunteered to provide swimming lessons to children at Nazareth's Children's Home.
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.
Dawna Marie Messier
Dawna Marie Messier is the 2012 recipient of the Barbara Andrews Award. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, following in her husband's footsteps by earning her degree from Catawba, after he earned his in May 2010. She also has two children who are currently college students, one enrolled at UNC Charlotte and the other at UNC Chapel Hill.
Prior to attending Catawba, she attended the University of New Hampshire and Keene State College. Her future educational plans may include pursuing a master's degree in library science since she says she would love to work in a library. Messier currently works as a guidance secretary at Harris Road Middle School in Concord and her prior employment has been in the grocery industry.
Active in the community, she is a former Girl Scout pack leader and PTSO member. She has volunteered at numerous shelters and delivered meals on wheels.
PHOTOS: Graduation 2012
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List of Graduates
Tweets from Graduation 2012