Catawba College Celebrates 173rd Commencement Ceremony

Catawba College welcomed family, friends, faculty, and staff to their 173rd Commencement Ceremony held on Saturday, May 4th in Keppel Auditorium. Four years after the height of COVID-19, a resilient group of students claimed their well-deserved undergraduate and graduate degrees. The event was a joyous culmination of hard work, dedication, and perseverance.

The ceremony honored graduates of Catawba’s five schools, including the James F. and Gerry T. Hurley School of Arts and Sciences, Ralph W. Ketner School of Business, Enoch A. and Dorothy H. Goodman School of Education, the School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, and the Adrian L., Jr. and Dorothy L. Shuford School of Performing Arts.

Emma Nantz (Denton, NC) was the female recipient of the Whitener Award and Leon Heiermann (Dattelin, Germany) was the male recipient. The Whitener Awards are the most prestigious awards distributed by the College to graduating seniors. These awards have been presented each year since 1927 to the man and woman in the graduating class who most embody the qualities of character, leadership, and scholarship. The awards are made in memory of Dr. Edgar Whitener of High Point, NC, who served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1921 – 1966 and as Chairman of the Board from 1925 – 1944.

Dylan Prevette (Statesville, NC) was awarded the Barbara Andrews Award. This medal is given to an undergraduate online student in the graduating class who embodies the qualities of character, leadership, and scholarship. The award was established and named in honor of Barbara Andrews of Salisbury, the first director of the program at Catawba College.

The O.B. Michael Award was presented to Shari ’83 and Bill ’83 Graham for their momentous support of Catawba College and the Salisbury-Rowan Community. This award is given annually by the Alumni Association Board of Directors in memory of the Reverend O.B. Michael, class of 1919. The award is presented to a member of the Alumni Association who has made a valuable contribution to the College and/or to society and is presented by the college president at the commencement ceremony.

Catawba College President David P. Nelson presided over the ceremonies along with Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Monica Cowart. Bob Arnold, a 1971 alum and Chair of Catawba’s Board of Trustees, provided congratulatory remarks on behalf of the board.

“One final reminder as you go out to explore the world and find your place in it,” offered President David P. Nelson. “Be curious. Catawba has taught you to how to learn. Humans are inquisitive and curious by nature. Don’t quit discovering and being curious. Let your imagination run free as you think about what this world could truly be like at its best and help create the world we all want to live in. Have the courage to do the right thing and take the right risks. Don’t fear failure. Remember who you are and make this world more like the place we all want to live in, Class of 2024.”

Catawba’s Senior Class President, Berta Vidal Carnero, and Student Government Association President, Suzie Rodriquez, provided words of encouragement to their fellow graduates.

Graduates from 18 states and 10 countries received degrees.

A special ceremony was held Friday evening to honor Catawba’s baseball student-athlete graduates. They were slated to play in a SAC Championship game at 11 AM on Saturday causing them to miss their official ceremony.

A live stream of Catawba’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony is available on Catawba’s website:
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View photos from Commencement events below:

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