Claude Shuford Abernethy, Jr. '48
Claude Abernethy's arrival as a Davidson freshman already hinted at the character of his future success and service. He was bright and ambitious. Halfway through his senior year in high school, this Eagle Scout took a test which gave him a diploma early and put him on his way to college. He was also practical. Chapel Hill wanted him there, but it was World War II, and gasoline rationing persuaded him that a college nearer his Catawba County home made sense. He and his family also had high personal standards and felt that Davidson would support these better than would a large university setting. Being bright, practical, and holding to high standards became a pattern for life and service for this Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude Davidson graduate of 1948.
With his Harvard M.B.A. in hand two years later, Claude settled right away among homefolks, beginning to advise them and play a key role in the then new Interstate Securities Corporation. With an office adjacent to his keen uncle's, he learned how and when to counsel his client neighbors. Having been advised at Harvard that inflation was here to stay, he was prepared for economic changes witnessed in the next several decades. At a remarkably early age he also showed himself loyal to his ten-generation family ties to region and church and became a mainstay to key institutions of both, especially so to Catawba College. Their fiscal welfare, as well as that of his clients and family, has been a daily concern for a half century.
Through the years he has made alma mater proud to claim him as a Davidsonian. In younger years he was an Alumni Chapter President. More recently he served on the Steering Committee of the Catawba Valley regional effort in The Campaign For Davidson. He is a member of the Davidson College Board of Visitors, and he and Raenelle also are regulars in the Ne Ultra Society. In the early 1960s, with the daring of Christopher Columbus, Claude set off in his family boat from Catawba County -- with crew of just Raenelle and their two small children -- across the new and largely unexplored waters of Lake Norman to Davidson College's just-christened Lake Campus, gaining special press coverage back home. This may have helped influence young Anne Abernethy to join in another great Davidson College adventure -- co-education -- becoming in 1978 one of our early women graduates.
For being so good a Davidson representative that your first-born would join one of our first co-educational classes, for being so winsome a Davidsonian that family and friends would feel good about supporting your college, for applying your Davidson training in ways which strengthened other educational efforts in our area, for helping develop major business ventures as well as the nest eggs of neighbors, for frankness, fairness and friendship, the Davidson College Alumni Association honors you Claude Shuford Abernethy, Jr., Class of 1948, with this Alumni Service Award, on the occasion of your 50th Reunion.