Dwight L. Hedrick Sr. of Lexington never went to college, but his hard work and sacrifices ensured that his three children had that opportunity.
As a way to pay tribute to his father, Dwight Hedrick Jr. '64 and wife Kathleen, also of Lexington, have established the Dwight L. Hedrick Sr. Endowed Scholarship at Catawba College. This scholarship will be available to any deserving student who demonstrates financial need.
"We appreciate Dwight's continued support of Catawba," said Catawba College Senior Vice President Tom Childress. "He was in my graduating class here and his longtime support makes me proud. He feels the need to give back and assure that future generations of our students are able to enjoy the same privilege of attending our institution that he had."
"My father's 85 years old and he made a lot of sacrifices for me to go to school. He deserves an honor," explained Dwight Hedrick Jr., whose mother, the late Beulah Maxine Canoy Hedrick of Randolph County, died in 1994. "I was the first to graduate from college in my family and I was the first grandchild on both sides of my family to graduate from college.
"I commuted and was a day student at Catawba because we had a farm and I had chores to help with," said Hedrick, a CPA who earned his degree in accounting and is a partner at Turlington and Company LLP. "We had a tough curriculum in my major but when you came out of there it was with a good all around background that you could put to work. It was fun – I mean we learned, but it was fun too.
"The campus has always been a friendly place for day students and my involvement in campus activities made me feel a part of it. I think it helped a lot of people stay in school and I really appreciated that," he noted.
Hedrick has fond memories of the late Professor Millard Wilson, who taught in Catawba's school of business, and he enjoyed religion classes he took on campus. "I find that teaching Sunday school, I still use a lot that I learned in my classes." He was exposed to drama which "believe it or not, I enjoyed," and, he vividly remembers the dink he wore as a first-year student and his "de-dinking ceremony."
After his graduation, Hedrick worked for the U.S. General Accounting Office between 1964 and 1966. From his home base in Atlanta, he traveled throughout the Southeast, including Huntsville, Ala.; Gainesville, Fla., Orlando, Fla., Charleston, S.C., and Nashville, Tenn. "It was a suitcase kind of existence, but it was interesting because I had never traveled much."
It was while he was working for the GAO and completing an audit at the Martin Marietta defense plant in Orlando that he met his future wife, Kathleen, who was employed there as a cost accountant. When he left the GAO in 1966 and moved back to Lexington to work for Turlington and Company LLP, he recalled that he "couldn't quite forget" Kathleen. The couple married in 1967.
Today, the Hedricks are parents of three adult children and eight grandchildren. They are active member of Memorial United Church of Christ in Lexington where Catawba College Alumnus Don M. Leonard '53 serves as pastor. Hedrick is a member of Catawba's Board of Visitors and continues his long tradition of providing annual support to his alma mater.