2023 Catawba College Awards Ceremony Honors Students, Faculty, and Staff for Achievement and Service

Catawba College held its annual Awards Convocation on Thursday, April 20 in Omwake-Dearborn Chapel. Dr. Constance Rogers-Lowery, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, thanked all of the award recipients who have demonstrated the qualities upon which Catawba College was founded: scholarship, character, culture, and service.

Campus members who presented awards include: President David Nelson, Dr. Jared Tice, Dean Earl Givens, Dr. Forrest Anderson, Dr. Jay Bolin, Dr. Kimberly Creamer, Dr. Phillip Burgess, Dr. Sharon Sullivan, Dr. Jim Hand, Dr. Connie Rogers-Lowery, and Mr. Bob Arnold.  

Student Government Association 

Miracle Etim-Andy received the Student Government President's Award and was presented with a gavel, awarded to the retiring president at the end of the academic year. She served as SGA president during the ’22-’23 academic year.  New SGA officers who will serve during the 2023-24 year were recognized as follows: Suzie Rodriguez, President; Lauren Swallow, Vice President; and Leon Heiermann, Treasurer.

The new Ms. And Mr. Catawba, elected by the student body to serve the College in the 2023-24 academic years, were announced. They are Evie Kauserud and Ryan Celesto.

Service to the Community & Leadership Awards

The David Hoyle Award for Outstanding Service in Student Activities was awarded to Evie Kauserud. 

Zachary Bryant was awarded The Sara Cook Award for Student Involvement. This award was established by Student Affairs in recognition of the work of Board of Trustee Member Sara Cook and her role in alcohol education, policy ad programs that have changed the campus culture of student life at Catawba. It is presented annually to the member of the student body who demonstrates a concern for the well-being of fellow students through student life programs outside the classroom. The Office of Student Affairs nominates candidates and makes final choices on the award winner. 

Kristen Ault was awarded the Francis Decker Wentz Award. Established by the Corriher-Linn-Black Library staff in honor of the late Mrs. Frances Wentz, the award is presented annually to an upperclass student(s) who demonstrate a real concern and aptitude for theory and practice of library science and service.   

Michael Frederick, Director, Internships and Career Planning, was the recipient of the Kenneth Clapp Tri-Delta Award. Established by the Class of 2000 in recognition of the work of Dr. Ken Clapp, College Senior Vice President and Chaplain, it is presented annually to a member of the faculty or staff who demonstrates dedication, devotion, and dependability. 

The President's Award for Community Service was presented to Steffanie West, IT Operations Director and Project Manager. The award is given annually to a member of the campus community who has distinguished himself or herself in significant service to the local Rowan-Salisbury community. The recipient is selected through nominations from the faculty and staff with final selection from the nominations being made by the college president.

The Paul Fisher Service Award is presented to a student and a faculty or staff member who has made the greatest contribution throughout the year in service to others. Salem Fleming and Zac Smith are this year’s student recipients, and Jeff Bostian is the staff recipient.

Academic Achievement Awards

The Hurley School of Arts and Sciences, Humanities division:

The Rebecca H. Frantz Essay Prize, awarded annually to the writer of an essay judged by faculty to be the most original, was awarded to Lindsay Hoos. 

Marcus Miller received the Bethany and Aidan Sinnott Poetry Award, given to the student who demonstrates the most significant potential as a poet. 

Mason McLain received the Martha Morehead Award for outstanding single work or contribution to The Arrowhead

The Rice, Andrews, Young Award was presented to Jenifer Castillo Pacas and is awarded to a foreign language major or minor who has made the highest grade in their foreign language studies.

The Elisabeth Scranton History Award, given to the student who best represents the ideals of liberal education and scholarship in history, was presented to Paige Carter. 

Lilliana Rebilas received the Religion Award, given by the ministers of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ to a junior or senior in recognition of academic excellence in Religion and Philosophy.

The Hurley School of Arts and Sciences, Science division:

The Leader in Environmental Stewardship is awarded to a student and a faculty or staff member who exhibits outstanding leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship. This year’s student recipient is Graycen Murray and Dr. Mercedes Quesada-Embid is the faculty recipient. 

Sharon Mayes and Salano Birch received the Braun Award in Physics, given to the student or students showing the most meritorious work in physics.

The Chemistry Prize was awarded to Jacob Hiatt and represents the senior who best represents character, scholarship, and excellence in chemistry.

Alex Baquie was the recipient of the Freshman Achievement Award, giving recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement in Chemistry during the freshman year.

The Biochemistry Award presented to a Biochemistry major for outstanding scholastic achievement during their senior year was awarded to William Roque.

The Environment and Sustainability Award given to a senior class member who best demonstrated dedication, inspiration, and academic achievement in environmental science. This year's recipients are Rachel Bentley and Willow Gatewood. 

Jacob Hiatt received the Daniel E. Kirk Biology Award, presented to the senior who has exhibited outstanding service and achievement in the Department of Biology.         

The Biology Service Award recognizing the student who demonstrates outstanding leadership and exceptional service was presented to Jalen Garner and Will Roque.

The Goodman School of Education and Hurley School of Arts and Sciences, Social Sciences division:

The Shirley L. Haworth Prospective Teacher Award presented to an education major or minor who has demonstrated outstanding potential as a teacher was awarded to Jessica Grubb and Migdy Gonzalez. 

Sommer Gray received the Student Education Associate/Cynthia B. Osterhaus Award for outstanding contribution to the Student North Carolina Association of Educators.

The Roberts Senior Psychology Award for outstanding contribution to the activities of the psychology department was presented to Haleigh Mitchell and Riley Dorman.

Alice Sylven was the recipient of The Bolick Sociology Award for outstanding achievement in the field of Sociology the Sociological Imagination.

The Shuford School of the Performing and Fine Arts:

The Chairman’s Award in Music in recognition of significant contributions to the Music Department and promise of future success in the music field was awarded to Bailey Hunter.

Sarah Ann Burke received the Augustin Daly Award for Outstanding Student in Theatre Arts.

The Ketner School of Business:

The Pioneer Award is given in recognition of their contributions to The Pioneer and goes to Ivan Ontiveros. 

The Dr. Karl E. Hales Communication Award goes to Kane Elkin and Chloe Mullins.

The Sherrill & Smith Award in Business Administration for the best scholastic record in accounting goes to Madeline Cabe.

The Millard F. Wilson Award for Excellence in Business in recognition of outstanding service to and academic achievement in the Ketner School of Business goes to Connor Garcia. 

The Mathematics Award for outstanding ability, scholarship, and interest in mathematics goes to Ashley Johnson and Jaxon Wheeler. 

The Paul L. Baker Computer Science Award in recognition of outstanding ability, scholarship, and interest in computer science goes to Brooke Lowry.

The School of Health Sciences and Human Performance awards the following:

The Whitley Award given to a junior or senior female student in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and service to the Department of Sport and Health Sciences goes to Miracle Etim-Andy. 

The William L. Russell Award, given to the junior or senior male student in recognition of outstanding academic achievement and service to the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, goes to Alex Seufert.

The Nursing Academic Excellence Award presented to the student with the highest GPA in the Nursing program goes to Camryn Bost.

Awards of Special Merit and Achievement 

This year, Catawba College was invited to compete in the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Ethics Bowl.  A competitive process was used to select five students who would represent Catawba and these students spent long hours researching and preparing for the debates. The following team members were given certificates of appreciation:  Anna Armstrong, Jennifer Carbajal, Rachel Davis, Suzie Rodriquez, and Claire Vinskus. 

The Dean N. Grove Award is presented to a student-athlete majoring in math or science who demonstrates leadership abilities in one of these fields as well as in athletics and goes to Helen Summerell.

Brannon Burns and David Najarian received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan awards, given by the New York Southern Society for the purpose of establishing a permanent reminder of the noblest human qualities as expressed and followed in the life of its first president, Algernon Sydney Sullivan. A committee consisting of students and faculty of Catawba College has chosen two persons, one student and one staff member, to receive these awards in recognition of spiritual qualities practically applied to daily living and with the belief that these persons will uphold the spiritual standards of Catawba College by their noble characteristics. 

The 2022-2023 Staff Member of the Year is Johnathon Boles. This award is an annual recognition by the members of the student body of a Catawba College staff member who has been outstanding in their work for the College. 

The 2022-2023 professor of the year is Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery, Professor of Sociology, and Director of the College Honors Program. This award is presented to a faculty member selected by a popular vote of the students. The recipient is chosen for those qualities that the students believe represent the best in classroom rapport, evidence of student concern, and intellectual stimulation. 

Kelli Hand is the recipient of the Louise Tucker Staff Council Award, given to a staff member who demonstrates outstanding work ethic and performance in his or her area. Nominations are made by members of the faculty and staff and the recipient is selected by a vote of the Staff Council. 

The President’s Award for Staff Excellence is given annually to a member of the Catawba College staff who has distinguished him or herself in achieving excellence in job performance and has contributed to strengthening the community spirit on campus. The award recipient is selected through nominations to the Staff Council from the entire faculty and staff.  The President makes the final selection of the recipient. This year’s recipient of the President’s Award for Staff Excellence is David Kirkland.

The Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching was presented to Dr. Sue Calcagni, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, and the Department of Environmental Science. This award goes to a member of the Catawba College faculty who has shown consistent excellence in teaching. A gift from the late Hearne Swink, former Rowan County resident, an official with Cannon Mills Company, and a friend of the College.  The recipient is nominated by members of the faculty and chosen by the faculty senate. 

The Trustee Award for Outstanding Contribution to Catawba College is given annually to the individual deemed to have made an outstanding contribution in service to Catawba College. The recipient is recommended by the Catawba College Faculty Senate and endorsed by the Board of Trustees Governance Committee. The award is presented by the College on behalf of the Board of Trustees. This year’s recipient of the Trustee Award is Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery.

The 2022-2023 Whitener Medal recipients are Abba Williard and Ofek Malul. The Whitener Medals are given annually in memory of the late Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, North Carolina, who served as president of the Catawba Board of Trustees from 1925 to 1944. The medals are presented to the man and woman in the graduating class who combine in themselves, in the highest degree, the qualities of character, leadership, and scholarship. The faculty make a selection from among three men and three women who have received the highest votes in an election in which only the members of the junior and senior classes may vote. This year's recipients will be presented with their medals during the Commencement ceremony on May 6.

Video and Photos from the Ceremony

View video and a gallery of photos from this year’s ceremony below:

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