Gaston & Catawba

College and university news

Belmont Abbey College

Owen honored: Belmont Abbey College senior McKenzie Owen was selected as the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.

A forward, Owen averaged 20.5 points per game in two games, as she opened the season with a 20 point, eight rebound game in a loss to Newberry. In the Abbey’s win at Coker, Owen scored 21 points, with seven rebounds and an assist.

Student-Athlete of Week: Patrick Mestrez of Belmont Abbey College was named the OrthoCarolina male Student-Athlete of the Week for Nov. 17.

A redshirt senior on the Crusaders wrestling team, Mestrez moved his record to 2-0 with an 11-2 win at St. Andrews College. Both of Mestrez’s victories this season have come by major decision.

Chamber singers perform: The UNC Charlotte Chamber Singers will present an eclectic concert of sacred music from the 16th century through the 20th century at 3 p.m. Nov. 23 in the Belmont Abbey Basilica. The performance will feature William Byrd’s “Mass for Four Voices.”

An auditioned group of 14 singers from different majors on campus, the UNC Charlotte Chamber Singers travels and performs regularly across the state and region. The undergraduate ensemble specializes in a cappella repertoire and is directed by UNCC Director of Choral Activities Randy Haldeman.

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted. For information, call 704-461-6813 or email Karen Hite Jacob at


Registration for new students: Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute will register new students for the spring semester through Dec. 4 on both the Caldwell and Watauga campuses. Final registration will be held Jan. 6. Spring classes begin Jan. 8.

Financial aid options are available for students who qualify.

In addition to classes for adults, CCC&TI offers opportunities for Caldwell and Watauga county high school students to earn college credit through the Career and College Promise program. CCC&TI offers pathways in business, engineering, math, social sciences, health sciences and more.

For information, call Student Services at 828-726-2700 on the Caldwell Campus and 828-297-3811 on the Watauga Campus.


Students of the semester: Catawba Valley Community College students Gabriel “Ben” Ou and Margy Berry were recently named Students of the Semester.

Selection is based on academic achievements, school leadership and community involvement. Winners receive gift certificates for the CVCC food service and Campus Store.

Ou is a Taylorsville resident enrolled in the Automotive Systems Technology associate degree program. He serves as secretary of the SkillsUSA chapter and president of the Automotive Services Club. He was nominated to participate in the 2014-2015 Student Leadership Academy and is completing a work study in the automotive lab in the fall semester. The son of Lidia and George Ou of Taylorsville, Ou is active in his church youth group.

Berry, a graduate of Western Carolina University, is a career changer enrolled in the Respiratory Therapy associate degree program. She plans to graduate in May. A lifelong resident of Hickory, she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Her two daughters are graduates of the Challenger Early College High School at CVCC.

Skills USA chapter wins national award: Catawba Valley Community College’s SkillsUSA chapter recently finished second in a national recruitment campaign to register students for HP LIFE e-Learning initiative.

The free online training program helps students and entrepreneurs gain real-life IT and business skills needed to start or grow a business.

CVCC’s chapter recruited 355 people, including students, faculty and staff, to register for the online, interactive program. The students’ efforts resulted in earning $605 toward the SkillsUSA chapter’s travel expenses to attend next year’s state conference.

Innovation Award: The Catawba Valley Community College Small Business Center was recently recognized with the North Carolina Small Business Center Network’s 2014 Innovation Award for its partnership with The MESH network and development of The Entrepreneur Exchange podcast.

The Innovation Award is given each year to a Small Business Center which finds a creative way to support small business and business start-ups.

The Entrepreneur Exchange is a monthly podcast available on The Mesh website, as well as on iTunes. A discussion of ideas and strategies to help new and existing small businesses, the podcast is hosted by CVCC Small Business Center Director Jeff Neuville and CVCC School of Business and Industry Dean Gary Muller.

Hosts and guests discuss topics such as small business marketing, raising capital and using social media to promote business. In addition, Neuville and Muller highlight successful small businesses in the “Small Business of the Month” feature.

The podcast is downloaded by approximately 400 people each month.

Neuville accepted the award at the Small Business Center Network’s Professional Development meeting Oct. 23 in Greensboro.

Mini-sessions offered: CVCC will offer a new intensive Winter Intersession or “mini-mester” between its fall and spring semesters.

The four-week session will include 13 online courses and is ideal for students who want to accelerate graduation, reduce a heavy course load in future semesters or save money. Winter Intersession will be held Dec. 8-Jan. 7.

Course offerings are available at Registration deadline is Nov. 26. Students enrolled at another college or university are also eligible as a special credit student. For details, visit

For information, email admissions director Laurie Wegner at

Gaston College

New program available: Gaston College recently introduced a new program in Healthcare Business Informatics to prepare students as specialists in installation, data management, system design and support and computer training for medical information systems.

Combining an interest in computers and the medical field, the 70-credit hour program will train students for an anticipated 78,000 job openings in the next decade. New jobs are emerging in health informatics, largely due to growth in the medical industry, advancements in computer technology and recent federal legislation regarding medical record-keeping.

For information, contact Michelle Byrd at 704-922-6262 or

Balancing Act seminar: Gaston College will offer a series of professional development seminars with information on what educators, friends, families and the community should know about students experiencing mental health issues while attending college.

Topics and dates are:

Oppositional Defiant Disorder, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Jan. 22

Addiction, noon-1 p.m. Feb. 13

Bipolar Disorder, noon-1 p.m. March 30.

All seminars will be held in the Robinson Classroom Building, Room 238, on the Dallas Campus. The workshops are free and open to the public. For information, call Hisayo Tokuro-Gallo at 704-922-6341.

Therapeutic massage classes: Applications will be accepted for the new Therapeutic Massage Program’s evening classes at Gaston College through Dec. 1. Students can earn a diploma or two-year associate’s degree.

Applications for the fall semester will be accepted Jan. 1-April 30. For information, visit massage/admission-requirements/.

For information, call 704-922-2275 or email

Cosmetology students offer services: The Cosmetology Program at Gaston College now offers skincare and haircare services to the public on two campuses.

An Esthetics Day Spa with facials, peels and other skincare services is open 9-11 a.m. weekdays and 6-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday on the Kimbrell Campus, 7220 Wilkinson Blvd. in Belmont. Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments can be made by calling 704-825-6295.

Hair services including cuts, styles, color, highlights, low lights, perms and relaxers and spa services including waxing, manicures, pedicures, gel polish and more are now available at the Cosmetology Salon on the Lincoln Campus. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and 5-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Seniors 55 and older receive half off the cost of services on weekdays. Other specials include $10 perms and relaxers on Wednesdays.

Walk-ins are welcome or call for an appointment at 704-748-5252.

Art exhibits: Gaston College will showcase several art exhibits this semester.

• A Visual Harvest, an annual juried art exhibition, will be presented through Dec. 10 in the Jeanne Rauch Gallery in the Rauch Science and Fine Arts Building on the Dallas Campus.

• A Holiday Art Show and Sale will be Dec. 3-4 in the D. F. Beam Center for Visual Arts Gallery on the Dallas Campus.

Jeanne Rauch Gallery and Beam Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday. For more information, contact Jason Story at 704-922-6245 or or Barbara Chadwick at 704-922-2231 or

Notary training courses: Gaston College will offer Notary Training courses on the Dallas and Kimbrell campuses this fall. The course may also be used for a current Notary’s re-commission.

Classes are available 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in Room 208 of the Dalpiaz Student Success Center on the Dallas Campus.

On the Kimbrell Campus in Belmont, classes will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and 3 in Room 201 of Harney Hall.

Students must be at least 18 years old or legally emancipated, reside in or have regular work in North Carolina, be a legal U.S. resident, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be able to speak, read and write the English language. Students must have no felony conviction or civil judgment.

A photo ID and a copy of the “Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina, Tenth Edition” also are required.

Registration is required. For information, visit

Lenoir-Rhyne University

Bear mascot: Professional tree carvers are creating a bear mascot in the stump of a red oak tree on Seventh Avenue N.E. at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

The aging tree died and had to be cut down.

Joey Rowe of Absolute Tree Service in Hickory and Jason Smathers of Cutting Edge Carvings in Washington, who are both Lenoir-Rhyne Bears fans, conducted the carving. The finished work will be a full-body bear standing 15 feet high and 8 feet across at the base.

Smathers is a second-generation carver who has been carving full-time for 12 years. He competes throughout Washington, California and Oregon against some of the world’s best professional wood carvers.

Smathers is known for his 44-foot Veterans Memorial which he completed in Washington, as well as other carvings of bears, eastern diamondback rattle snakes and raccoons. His father, Dan Smathers, who is locally known as Mountain Dan, was a recognized carver in western North Carolina.

Rowe completed an apprenticeship with Dan Smathers, working with him for five and half years. Rowe has been a part-time carver for eight years and carves in western North Carolina and in several shows throughout the year including the N.C. State Mountain Fair and Waxhaw Art Festival.

Auditions for ‘The Crucible:’ The Lenoir-Rhyne Playmakers will hold open auditions for the upcoming production of Arthur Miller’s classic drama, “The Crucible,” 2-5 p.m. Nov. 23 and 6-10 p.m. Nov. 24 in Belk Centrum.

Auditions are open to members of the Lenoir-Rhyne campus as well as the greater Hickory community. Roles are available for a cast of 10 men and 11 women. Actors will read and perform scenes and monologues from the play in a cold reading format.

“The Crucible” runs Feb. 26-March 1 in P.E. Monroe Auditorium. Rehearsals will be held Sunday-Thursday evenings beginning in early January.

For information, contact Josh Yoder at or call 828-328-7161.


Building to be named for Burnett: The Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees recently announced plans to rename the Health Science Building to Jim W. Burnett Hall in recognition of the former president’s leadership and 41 years of service to the college.

Burnett served as WPCC president from 2006 through July 2014. During his tenure, Burnett led efforts to increase enrollment, start Burke Middle College and expand Western Piedmont Foundation holdings by 215 percent.

At the time his retirement, Burnett established the Jim W. Burnett Scholarship to provide professional development opportunities that cannot otherwise be funded through county, state and federal funds. The scholarship funds may be used to pay for conference registration, program or project costs, or to purchase equipment and supplies. All full-time faculty and staff employed by the college are eligible to apply.

The official renaming of the Health Science building to Jim W. Burnett Hall will occur in a public ceremony in the spring.

Resource fair: Early Childhood Education students at Western Piedmont Community College recently participated in the Burke County Library’s third annual Festival and Resource Fair.

The students, who are members of the program’s Exploration Activities and Language/Literacy Experiences classes, provided interactive activities including math games and flannel board stories. The ECE program also provided a display board of information with photos, an outline of the program of study, and brochures.

For information, contact Janet Fisher, program coordinator, at or 828-448-3131.

Apply for spring: New students planning to attend Western Piedmont Community College should submit an admission application by Dec. 9.

Applying by this date ensures new students complete placement testing and time to go through the financial aid process. Advisers are available in the new Advising Center in Hildebrand Hall.

For information, visit and select Apply Now. Printable applications are available by selecting Students and then Admission. To seek financial aid, students must visit and use the Federal School Code for WPCC of 002982.

Registration for spring classes will be held 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 8. For information, contact Student Services at 828-448-6046.

Classes begin Jan. 12.

Free business seminars: WPCC’s Small Business Center will offer several free seminars in December. The schedule includes:

How to Start a Business: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 9, both at FHEC. A starting point for the journey of business ownership, this course covers business structures, licensing and zoning, trademarks, copyrights, patents, insurance, financing alternatives, record keeping and taxes.

How to Find Money for Your Business: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 10, FHEC. Speaker Eddie McGimsey will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of funding sources and how to determine how much money is needed to start and grow a business.

Writing an Effective Business Plan: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 11, both at FHEC. Participants will discuss tools needed to write a business plan that helps raise capital and serve as a guide for business success.

To register for any of the seated seminars, visit Select Business & Industry, Small Business Center, then Business Center Seminars and Workshops.

Online entrepreneurship training: Western Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center will offer “HP LIFE Online Entrepreneurship Training,” an online course available on demand through Dec. 31.

HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs offers aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners valuable business skills for free. The program also is self-paced to accommodate the schedules of more aspiring business owners.

To register for the free online course, visit and select Business & Industry, Small Business Center and Business Center Seminars and Workshops.

Compiled by Leigh Pressley