When Trudy Cathy White ’79 was director of Winshape Camps, she came to expect certain opening day introductions. Cathy White is the daughter of Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy, and she wasn’t surprised when parents would highlight the connection.
“On opening day, the campers and parents would come in and they always wanted to come up to me with their children and they would say ‘Look you know this is Ms. Trudy, she’s the camp director,’ and then they would say ‘But do you know who she really is?’”
When she spoke to Samford students during her campus visit Feb. 21, Cathy White explained that it was this question that her mom challenged her to remember the answer to.
“My mom used to tell me as a little girl when I’d walk out the back door, ‘Remember who you are and whose you are,’” she said. “When I think about who I am, I realize that I am because He is.”
Her mother’s words would continue to echo back to her as she matured into adulthood taking on many goals including managing a new Chick-fil-A location in Birmingham at only 19-years-old. Despite her achievements, Cathy White says remembering her origins in Christ keeps her grounded.
“If you look at yourself and your identity and you relate it simply to this question of ‘Who am I?’ or ‘What do I do?,’ you’re going to miss everything that God has for you,” she said.
Sophomore Abbey Cox, a former Winshape camp counselor and alumna of Cathy White’s Impact 360 Institute, said Cathy White’s message was one of assurance.
“I think it's a good reminder that even though there are multiple ways that we can choose to define ourselves, our identity is grounded in Christ and who He has created us to be,” Cox said. “It's refreshing to be reminded that even in the lowest valley or on the hardest part of the climb on our way up the mountain, we belong to Jesus.”
In addition to speaking at convocation in Reid Chapel, Cathy White’s visit also included a ribbon cutting at the University Center’s new Chick-fil-A, a luncheon with students and a public book signing for her newest release, Climb Every Mountain.
The book includes personal stories about her experiences with perseverance and developing her identity in Christ. The book’s theme comes from the symbolism mountains have offered in her lifetime.
“Mountains have always been very significant to me in my life. They are a symbol of God’s character and the fact that he is unchanging, steadfast, mighty and strong. At the same time, I’ve looked at mountains and they are also a symbol to me of life’s challenges,” she said. “I learned a lot through my challenges and difficulties through life so I’ve tried to write this book to share personal stories about the challenges I’ve faced throughout the years and how in every step of the journey I have found God to be so faithful.”