Rotary honors deceased Hatcher

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It couldn’t have been a more fitting occasion.

The Troy Rotary Club gathered in the Trojan Arena on campus Tuesday for its annual International Day luncheon, a day set aside to honor the international students at Troy University.

It was the twentieth time the two groups came together, but that wasn’t the only reason Tuesday’s event was special.

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“It is fitting today we honor Nolan Hatcher,” said Troy Rotary President Robert Hawkins.

Hatcher, a long-time Rotarian and a key player in the university’s international student program, now deceased, was honored as the new namesake for the club’s annual scholarship.

The “Nolan Hatcher Service Above Self” scholarship will be the new name of the club’s annual scholarship for high school seniors. But, it will also be higher than any of those the rotary has ever awarded.

“Nolan Hatcher was so many things in his life,” Hawkins said. “He was a World War II Veteran, role model, true friend, rotarian and a loving husband.”

And for those reasons, Hawkins said the group will change the scholarship’s name and increase the amount to $4,000 for four years of college.

Hatcher was not just a member of the rotary club though. He has played a key role in the international student programs at the university, almost since it’s beginning.

“When he first came they had very few (international students). The first time they had 10 total,” said Willeta Hatcher, the late Hatcher’s wife.

While Hatcher didn’t start the program, Willeta said it’s safe to say he “built it up.”

“It’s very important. He would have appreciated it,” Willeta Hatcher said.

The club had something to say to her, as well.

“Ms. Hatcher, this scholarship can not be named after a better man,” Hawkins said.

Rotarian Sandi Gouge said Hatcher was one of the most pleasant people she has known.

“One day I asked him, ‘How are you in such a good mood all the time?’” Gouge said.

“He said, ‘I didn’t like the alternative.’ He was a great man.”