Robert S. Erwin, Jr. '52
If you ask him, Bob Erwin will tell you that he's very surprised to be standing here tonight, and that a career in the poultry business hardly qualifies him for distinction. Bob's life, however, is about more than just chicken feed. It is a truly outstanding example of the balance of humane instincts, unpretentious leadership, and constant service which mark most of Davidson's distinguished graduates.
Born in Hickory, North Carolina, Bob earned his Davidson degree in Business Administration, then spent two years as an infantry officer with the U.S. Army. After the Army and a job in Charlotte, Bob returned to the North Carolina mountains to work for B & L Feed & Supply in Morganton, a branch of a business founded by his father-in-law. He stayed with the business for his entire career, making it so successful that a national operator eventually bought it out. Along the way Bob was chosen by his peers to be President of the North Carolina Feed Manufacturers Association in 1967, President of the North Carolina Poultry Federation in 1970, and to serve from 1984 to 1988 as a members of the national board of the American Feed Manufacturers Association. In August 2001 he capped his career in the poultry industry by being selected for the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame.
While paying attention to the nourishment of hens, roosters, and his industry, Bob also looked after the health, education, and spiritual well being of his community. He served on the Board of Advisers at Pfeiffer College, as Vice Chairman of the Grace Hospital Board of Trustees, and on the boards of The Children's Home, Inc. in Winston-Salem, and Givens Methodist Retirement Home in Asheville. As a churchman, Bob was Lay Leader of First United Methodist Church in Morganton, and a leader of the Marion District of the United Methodist Church. Nor did Bob neglect alma mater, volunteering as Annual Fund Chair for the Class of 1952, as a member of the Catawba Valley Steering Committee during the Campaign for Davidson, and as a Ne Ultra Society member since 1989.
Bob's avocations (tennis, fly fishing, hiking in the mountains, photography and travel--most recently to South America) have been as various as his business and community activities. Most important of all are Bob's roles as husband of Sara Breeden Erwin and father to sons John (Davidson Class of 1979) and Charles.
Bob, for your exceptional ability to harmoniously blend success in business with exemplary contributions to others through your Church, your civic work, your family, and your support of our College, Davidson is pleased and proud to honor you with this Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of your 50th Class Reunion.