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WI NTE R 2014





A passion for entrepreurship has taken Mital Patel L’09 beyond his law practice in Raleigh, N.C., to conference rooms around the world—including the White House.



Professor Emeritus of History and University Historian George Troxler shares a sneak preview of From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University, a new book detailing the university’s history.

Cover Story




I AM ELON  BY KIM WALKER Jason Waterman ‘15 still remembers the Jason was introduced to new cultures at an youth soccer camp coach who told him he would early age. When he was in fifth grade, his family never succeed in the sport. Fast-forward to last fall, adopted Patrick, an orphaned boy from Uganda. when the striker on the Elon men’s soccer team The two became fast friends, despite the language received many academic and athletic accolades— barrier. “We started playing soccer together and including leading the team in points and being quickly formed a special relationship without named an Academic All-American—and it’s having words,” he says. clear challenges translate into motivation for the Rounding out his diverse interests is a lifelong accomplished athlete. love: soccer. The only unrecruited walk-on on That’s why the communication science major Elon’s squad, Jason and his teammates had a seeks challenges in all realms of his life. He opted stellar 2013 season. The team won its third straight to study abroad in India in 2013, for instance, Southern Conference Tournament title, with Jason because he wanted to go to the place most unlike scoring the game-winning goal. He later scored his home country. The mayhem of India, in direct the penalty kick that won them the first round of opposition to his preference for meticulous the NCAA Tournament. “I’ve been watching NCAA planning, taught him a new perspective. “I learned games since I was 4,” he says. “To stand on that that I can just relax a little and things will work field and realize there were kids watching me just themselves out,” he says. like I did so many years ago, it was just surreal.” He is also one of 11 students participating in Elon’s Executive Intern Program, which allows him Jason is Elon. Visit to see to work with senior administrators. “Not many more of Jason’s story, part of our “I Am Elon” students get to see this perspective, and it’s been multimedia series featuring Elon students in their fascinating to learn about what people like Smith Jackson do on a daily basis,” he says. own words.

As interest in concussions has increased nationally, a partnership between academics and athletics at Elon has led to an interdisciplinary program focused on concussion assessment, research and safer return-to-play decisions.




The opening of Elon’s Martin Alumni Center in the heart of campus is one of many efforts by the Office of Alumni Engagment to help alumni stay connected with their alma mater.

2 Under the Oaks 10 Phoenix Sports 26 Alumni Action 30 Class Notes 39 Making a Difference




e have passed the four-year mark on the Elon Commitment strategic plan, which seeks to make Elon an exemplary model for higher education as the preeminent community for engaged learning. While the Elon Commitment plan was originally intended to guide the university’s development through 2020, we have already accomplished more than half of the key goals. Next fall the Board of Trustees will devote its agenda to an on-campus retreat to examine closely the work yet to be done to fully meet the aspirations of the Elon Commitment. A strong characteristic of the Elon culture is to look forward and anticipate greater progress. And yet, as we begin 2014, it is important to reflect upon what we have already accomplished through the Elon Commitment. Major headlines of which we should be proud include:

{ Student Professional Development Center } { Physician Assistant Studies master’s program }

ՔՔEstablishing a new School of Health

Sciences, including a new Physician Assistant Studies master’s program and the opening of the Gerald L. Francis Center as the school’s new home

ՔՔCompleting the Ever Elon Campaign, nearly doubling the university’s endowment to $184 million, with most new funds devoted to increased student financial aid

Development Center and enhancing career and internship placement in the professional schools and Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences

ՔՔMaintaining our best-value focus and

earning a top-25 Kiplinger’s best-value ranking

ՔՔFocusing on the importance of alumni to Elon’s future and opening the Martin Alumni Center

ՔՔEarning a top-50 Bloomberg

Businessweek ranking for the Love School of Business

ՔՔAttending to the spiritual and

religious life dimension of campus through the construction of the Numen Lumen Pavilion, the opening of the Sklut Hillel Center and the establishment of the Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society

ՔՔLaunching financial initiatives to pro-

vide 100 percent access to global study for all undergraduates

ՔՔFocusing on success after Elon by creating the Student Professional

{ 100 percent access to global study }

ՔՔMoving to the Colonial Athletic

Association this fall, adding women’s lacrosse and making many notable improvements to athletic facilities, including construction of Alumni Field House and Hunt Softball Park and the renovation of Alumni Gym

ՔՔMaking dozens of facility improve{ The Station at Mill Point }

ՔՔRemaking the residential campus,

with new student residences added at the Colonnades, the Station at Mill Point and the Global Neighborhood, along with the opening of Lakeside Dining Hall


{ Numen Lumen Pavilion }

ments to the physical campus, including constructing the Inman Admissions Welcome Center, Scott Studios (performing arts expansion), South Campus expansion (new health services and arts and sciences academic space), the Elon Town Center and Moseley Center renovation.



eyond the headlines of new buildings, new academic programs and growing national prominence in the rankings, there is also much vital, steady work taking place every day under the auspices of the Elon Commitment, strengthening core academic functions and the overall student and campus experience. Some examples:

and learning. Through the center, Elon aspires to be a convener of national and international conferences and meetings and a center of scholarship about engaged learning and high-impact practices.

ՔՔThe Center for Access and Success has

been launched, ensuring Elon is doing all it can to support K-12 students in achieving their goal of a college education by marshaling and integrating the resources of The Village Project, the Elon Academy and the Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program.

ՔՔA faculty and staff salary plan has { Alumni Field House}

ՔՔThe Writing Excellence Initiative,

an all-university program, has been launched to ensure that writing is a signature part of each Elon student’s experience.

been put in place to reward and retain our most important resource for students.

ՔՔInnovative pathways to obtain an

Elon education have been established, including the new first-year Gap Semester Program and new professional master’s programs to augment the undergraduate degree.

ՔՔThe Study USA program has

ՔՔWe are building an identity for our

ՔՔThe Office of National and

ՔՔWe are opening the campus to people

been launched as a part of the acclaimed Isabella Cannon Global Education Center. International Fellowships has been created to help students compete for Fulbright and other prestigious post-graduate fellowships. Elon has been named a “top producer” of Fulbright Scholars, and junior Madison Clough has been named a Clinton Scholar to study in Dubai.

young law school, which was recently named one of the top-20 most innovative law schools by the National Jurist. aged 50 and older in the surrounding community through the popular Life@Elon program.

ՔՔElon has worked hard to become a

more inclusive and welcoming campus under the leadership of Interim Associate Provost for Inclusive Com­ munity Brooke Barnett and faculty and staff leaders across campus.

ՔՔThe Center for Engaged Learning has

been established, which has already hosted a high-profile international meeting on the scholarship of teaching

{ Study USA }

{ Center for Access and Success }

Of course there is much more important work to be done. The Elon Commitment speaks to a major expansion of the School of Communications facilities; additional space for sciences; construction of a convocation center; continued emphasis on endowment building, especially for scholarships to keep Elon a best value; support students and faculty efforts to strengthen the intellectual climate on campus; complete a successful transition to the Colonial Athletic Association; and much more! Strategic visioning and planning are strengths of our campus community, and we are equally strong in following through with action and achieving results. The Elon Commitment was conceived as a community-wide effort, with the involvement and support of trustees, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni and friends. Each of these constituencies has been critical to the progress we have achieved together. The past four years have flown by and 2020 is just around the corner. Thank you for your interest and support as we work together to define, build and strengthen one of the finest universities in the nation. Leo M. Lambert President

winter 2014  3

UNDER THE OAKS The Magazine of Elon winter 2014 | Vol. 76, No. 1

Sports commentator Mary Carillo to deliver 2014 Commencement address

The Magazine of Elon is published quarterly for alumni, parents and friends by the Office of University Communications. © 2014, Elon University EDITOR

Keren Rivas ’04 DESIGNERS

Christopher Eyl Garry Graham PHOTOGRAPHY

Kim Walker Belk Library Archives and Special Collections EDITORIAL STAFF

Holley Berry Katie DeGraff Philip Jones Roselee Papandrea Eric Townsend STUDENT CONTRIBUTORS

Erin M. Turner ’15 Natalie Brubaker ’16 Shakori Fletcher ’16 VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS


The Magazine of Elon 2030 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244-2020 (336) 278-7415 BOARD OF TRUSTEES, CHAIR

Wesley R. Elingburg P’11 Greensboro, N.C.

Luke Bierman named Elon Law dean Elon University has named Luke Bierman, an accomplished attorney, legal scholar and teacher, and national leader in experiential legal education, as the next dean of Elon University School of Law. Bierman will join Elon Law on June 1, succeeding George Johnson, who is stepping down as dean after five years of service and will continue to serve as a full-time Elon Law faculty member. Bierman is currently associate dean for experiential education and distinguished professor of the practice of law at Northeastern University School of Law. He previously served as general counsel for the Office of the New York State Comptroller, was executive director of the Institute for Emerging Issues at North Carolina State University, founded the Justice Center and directed the Judicial Division at the American Bar Association, and served as chief attorney for the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court.

Former professional tennis star and Elon parent Mary Carillo P’14, who serves as a sports analyst for CBS, NBC and the Tennis Channel, will deliver the university’s 124th Commence­ ment address on May 24. Carillo, a native of Queens, N.Y., played on the professional tennis tour from 1977–80 and cemented her reputation as a star when she won the mixed doubles with John McEnroe at the 1977 French Open. Since then, her analyses and insights for various sports networks have earned her accolades throughout the industry, including the distinction of being named “Best Sports Analyst of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated. The winner of two Peabody Awards, she works as a correspondent for HBO Sports on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and will cover the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in February. Carillo’s daughter, Rachel, graduates this spring from Elon University with a degree in business administration.


Julia Strange Chase ’84 P’13 Richmond, Va.


Dave Dziok ’05

Falls Church, Va.


Jill & Josh Baker P’14

Great Falls, Va.


Russell R. Wilson P’86 & P. Scott Moffitt P’14

Burlington, N.C.


David Gergen

Cambridge, Mass.


Brian Williams p’13

New Canaan, Conn.


Michael Radutzky P’12 P’17 Summit, N.J.


William S. Creekmuir p’09 p’10

Atlanta, Ga.


Mike Cross

Burlington, N.C.


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT Kevin Amaya ’15, Alexandra Barteldt ’16, Ana Brambila ’15, Caleigh Erickson ’15, Alejandra Orellana-Portillo ’15 and Alexandra Robinson ’15 have each received funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program to study abroad this spring. Awarded by the U.S. Department of State, the program offers grants to undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens to pursue academic studies or internships abroad.

Senior Alessandra Losa took first place in the speedselling event and second place overall at the 2013 Russ Berrie Institute National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University. Losa, a marketing and journalism double major, and senior Laura Beckstead, a business administration and marketing double major, both placed in the top 10 in the sales call role-play event, with Losa placing eighth and Beckstead fifth. As a team, Elon placed second overall at the November competition.

A public service announcement created by junior Delaney McHugo won the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s 2013 RAINN Day Multimedia Contest in September. The 41-second clip shows two stick figures huddled under an umbrella protecting them from “rain” showering them with sexual assault statistics. McHugo, a cinema and creative writing double major, co-leads Elon Feminist for Equality Change and Transformation and serves as a SPARKS peer educator on campus.

{ Madison Clough ’15 }

Junior Madison Ann “Maddy” Clough became the first Elon student this fall to receive a William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship, which awards full scholarships to college students with an interest in the Middle East to study for a semester in the United Arab Emirates. An international studies major, Clough will continue studying Arabic and Islamic civilization at the American University in Dubai this spring.




REL379: Jewish-Christian Dialogue


ne holds a deep interest in the way Christians and Jews interact. The other has spent much of his career researching Christian complicity in the Holocaust. Together, they created a course that explores the evolution of the relationship { Jeffrey C. Pugh & Geoffrey Claussen } between adherents of both belief systems. In Jewish-Christian Dialogue, offered for the first time last fall, professors Geoffrey Claussen and Jeffrey C. Pugh challenged students to consider historical and normative questions. What led the earliest followers of Jesus to separate from the Jewish community? How did the Holocaust change both faith traditions? And do Christians and Jews have common ground on which to discuss issues at the heart of their traditions? These topics and more are central to understanding the relationship between Jews and Christians in the 21st century. For much of the past two millennia, a mutual hatred characterized that relationship, stemming from the early Christian community’s attempts to separate itself from its Jewish origins by blaming Jews for Jesus’ death. The turning point in their interaction was Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Most German ABOUT THE PROFESSORS Christians, if not directly supportive of Hitler’s genocide of the Jews based partly on Martin Geoffrey Claussen is the Lori and Eric Luther’s words, turned a blind eye to unspeakable Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies. horrors against their neighbors. Guilt and shame Since joining Elon in 2011, he has led among Christians of all stripes soon redefined the courses covering the whole history of once-virulent connection. the Jewish tradition, from the Hebrew “Most people are simply unaware of the deep Bible to contemporary Judaism. Jeffrey C. and abiding responsibility that Christianity has Pugh, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of [in the Holocaust],” Pugh says. “The historical Religious Studies, came to Elon in 1986. record is important, and it’s a record that has been The author of five books, Pugh has taught glossed over.” courses on Christian traditions, God and Yet Claussen and Pugh want their students politics, and religion in a global context. to be just as forward thinking as they are knowledgeable of the past. Their hope is that RECOMMENDED READINGS students “construct a potential path for the future” of Jewish and Christian relations, considering The Misunderstood Jew: The the shared values and histories of the two faith Church and the Scandal of the traditions. They also hope their course helps Jewish Jesus by Amy Jill Levine facilitate discussions outside of the classroom. Betrayal: German Churches and the “Some students have told us about deepened Holocaust by Robert P. Ericksen conversations with friends and roommates who and Susannah Heschel, eds. come from other religious traditions,” Claussen says. “We’re thrilled that our students have been Christianity in Jewish Terms by able to bring many other members of the Elon Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David community into the sorts of conversations that Novak, Peter Ochs, David Sandmel, we’ve been having during the semester.” and Michael Signer, eds.

{ Elon MBA and Law students in Vietnam. }

Elon’s study abroad, MBA programs top rankings Elon garnered national recognition in the fall for its study abroad and MBA programs. With 1,094 students studying abroad in the 2011–12 academic year, Elon maintained its long-held position as the nation’s top master’s-level university for international study in the Open Doors 2013 report by the Institute of International Education. The Elon Commitment strategic plan has set a goal of achieving 100 percent access to a global engagement experience by the year 2020, and the university is expanding financial aid to assist students who cannot afford the cost of study abroad. Among members of the Class of 2013, 72 percent of Elon graduates had studied abroad at least once during their collegiate studies, compared with the national average of less than 10 percent. In its 2013 rankings, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Elon’s part-time MBA program #1 in the South and #5 in the nation, with high marks in student satisfaction and an A+ grade in curriculum. The program is rated best for career advancers and the average completion rate is 91 percent. Bloomberg Businessweek noted the program “won high marks in student satisfaction, and grads raved that the contemporary curriculum made it possible to take classroom material learned in the evening and apply it at work the following day.”

winter 2014  5



{ Michael Matthews }

Assistant Professor of History Michael Matthews has published his first book, The Civilizing Machine: A Cultural History of Mexican Railroads, 1876–1910. In the book, part of The Mexican Experience series by the University of Nebraska Press, Matthews explores how railroads shaped the way citizens of the young republic viewed industrialization and technology as they struggled to form their national identity. Professor of Law Henry Gabriel has been elected to a third term on the International Institute for the Unification of Private International Law governing council. Based in Rome, UNIDROIT seeks to harmonize law across the globe through international conventions and the production of model laws. Gabriel was the sole candidate from the United States; he was nominated by the U.S. Department of State. Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology Janet MacFall, Associate Professor of English Drew Perry and Professor of Philosophy Anthony Weston have been selected as Senior Faculty Research Fellows for the 2014–15 and 2015–16 academic years. The award comprises a two-course reassignment for both years, plus $2,000 per year in research funding, in support of a significant project or set of projects that advance an already well-established and promising research agenda. An original work by Associate Professor of Music Todd Coleman premiered at an Oct. 6 campus concert. Commissioned as part of Elon University’s quasquicentennial celebration, “Numen Lumen” is a composition for strings and organ inspired by the Elon University motto and promotes the notion of searching for meaning and truth as an essential element of human nature.


J. Earl Danieley ’46 to headline special Spring Convocation Elon University continues its quasquicentennial celebrations in April with a special Spring Convocation featuring President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley ’46, whose lifetime commitment to Elon has impacted generations of students and placed the school on a path toward national prominence. As part of the April 2 event, Danieley will share personal stories and reflections on his 72-year association with the university as a student, professor of chemistry, dean of the college and president. Danieley was named Elon’s sixth president in 1957 at age 32, making him one of the youngest college presidents in the nation at the time. As president, he put in place the building blocks for the modern Elon by racially integrating the campus, establishing early study abroad programs and the 4-1-4 academic calendar, increasing fundraising, growing enrollment and adding new buildings. Tickets will be available to the public beginning March 12. Please call the university Box Office at (336) 278-5610 for more information.

Trustees honor George and Carole Troxler The Elon University Board of Trustees has named the Department of History and Geography seminar room in honor of emeriti professors of history George W. Troxler and Carole Watterson Troxler. With a combined 77 years of service to the Elon community, the Troxlers are accomplished scholars who have contributed to the preservation and public dissemination of history. They have also been philanthropic supporters of the university, establishing the Troxler-Watterson Endowed History Scholarship and the Watterson-Troxler Scholarship to assist students studying history. “We are thrilled to recognize Carole and George Troxler’s contributions in a most appropriate way, naming an academic facility that will be used by generations of future history and geography students,” Elon President Leo M. Lambert said. The George and Carole Troxler Seminar Room is located in Martha S. and Carl H. Lindner III Hall in Elon’s Academic Village. Carole Troxler retired from Elon in 2003 after 33 years of teaching. She has written several books and articles focused on the American Revolution in the southern backcountry and loyalist migration after the war. George Troxler spent 16 years as a history faculty member before being appointed to lead Elon’s cultural programs in 1985. A year prior to his retirement in 2010, George Troxler began research for the new book, From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University, which will be published in March. Read more about the book starting on page 14.


You don’t need to spend much time with Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler—or MVP as her students affectionately call her—to notice her infectious passion and amiable character. After 19 years at Elon, the professor of psychology has established herself as a model teacher-scholar-mentor with a passion for working with students outside of the classroom while also investing in her own research. “I have always seen undergraduate research mentorship as a great integration of my role as both a teacher and a scholar,” she says. That has led several of Vandermaas-Peeler’s students to conduct research alongside her, a partnership that not only offers students a chance to think creatively and problem-solve, but also keeps Vandermaas-Peeler engaged in her field of study. This summer she will co-lead an Elon Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar on excellence in mentoring undergraduate research, which attracts faculty and staff from around the world. Vandermaas-Peeler’s passion for mentorship and undergraduate research is matched by her interest in engaged learning in international contexts. She helped develop a study abroad program in Hawaii, led a program in London for several years and started a program for Honors Fellows in Istanbul. “It’s an important part of who I am and what I study,” she says. Besides being an accomplished Elon teacher, scholar and mentor, Vandermaas-Peeler is also a proud Elon parent. Her daughter, Alex, enrolled as a first-year student in the fall, thus bringing her Elon career full circle: When she first interviewed at Elon, Vandermaas-Peeler was eight months pregnant with Alex. “It’s interesting; you learn more about campus life” as a parent, she says. “ I now have more in-depth knowledge of the student experience than I ever did before.” What faculty or staff member do you think is uncommon? Send a suggestion to



{ Kevin Holland ’78 P’12 P’14 (right) was among the class and affinity reunion volunteers who presented checks to President Leo M. Lambert during a Nov. 8 celebration. }

Reunion programs celebrate success at Homecoming 2013 For months they worked. They reconnected with old friends, called former classmates and shared stories of Elon’s growth and future goals. The big payoff came Nov. 8 at Homecoming, when volunteers for the university’s reunion giving programs announced alumni donated more than $1.4 million to support Elon. “The way we build energy and excitement is through person-to-person outreach,” says Jeremy Allen ’07, associate director of annual giving. “It’s incredible when you watch people reconnect after years apart.” Each of Elon’s milestone reunions was well represented with more than 1,500 alumni generously donating. The Class of 1963 led the way in class reunion participation. Members of Elon’s Golden Alumni 50th reunion group participated



at an impressive rate of 51 percent with a total of $83,233. Mary Briggs Haskell ’63 rallied her classmates throughout the year to donate to the class gift and says the chance to celebrate their generosity at Homecoming was unparalleled. “My 50th reunion was a very special milestone,” she says. “It was a wonderful time of celebration and reconnecting with classmates, some I had not seen in 50 years.” Elon’s affinity reunions also had a strong showing at Homecoming, with the sorority Zeta Phi Beta achieving 51 percent participation, followed by fraternities Kappa Sigma and Tau Kappa Epsilon with 36 percent and 34 percent participation, respectively. Alpha Xi Delta, Sigma Kappa, Omega Psi Phi, Habitat for Humanity and Elon Volunteers! also celebrated reunions.

The reunion gift process is a nearly year-round activity, Allen says. Volunteers are identified each fall, trained and then empowered to reach out to their classmates to contribute. Kebbler Williams ’98, an Elon trustee and a member of the Elon Black Alumni Network who served as reunion chair for the Class of 1998, says she volunteers to demonstrate her commitment to the university. “Our lives have diverged in many ways since we graduated, but the one constant that will forever and always be the same is our love for our alma mater,” she adds. The ability to connect alumni through the reunion giving program is part of the university’s commitment to empower alumni as partners, advocates and investors in support of Elon. The funds raised through alumni giving are used for student scholarships, campus construction and a host of other projects, but Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement, says connecting alumni with their university is about more than dollars and cents. “We are developing a new culture of keeping alumni engaged in the life of the university,” Piatt says. Last year Elon raised more than $17 million in gifts, which is countertrend in the percentage of alumni giving to their university. In the past five years, the percentage of Elon alumni who have made a philanthropic commitment to Elon increased from 16 percent to 21 percent. Conversely, alumni giving at peer institutions fell from an average of 23 percent to 17 percent in the past five years. Piatt attributes Elon’s success to several factors, including personal outreach efforts such as peer-to-peer reunion giving programs that allow alumni not only to connect with old friends, but also to learn about how Elon has evolved since their graduation. Allen says he looks forward to building a larger volunteer base in the future and hosting a spring event for volunteers to reconnect and learn more about the outreach process. “We want to create a culture of reunions at Elon,” Allen says. “It’s a tremendous benefit to the university when we can involve alumni in helping to build a better Elon.”


Rob Bacchus named director of annual giving and parent programs Robert “Rob” E. Bacchus III, a fundraising professional who supervised a wide range of annual giving efforts for Southwestern University in Texas, has been named Elon University’s new director of annual giving and parent programs. Bacchus supervises six staff members working to build a vibrant alumni network, foster a culture of philanthropy and support efforts to increase alumni and parent giving. He also provides day-today leadership and oversight to growing programs that engage alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the university, and encourage their financial support of the institution at all levels. “I’m honored to join the Elon community,” Bacchus said. “Elon would not be the place it is without strong support and I’m excited to play a role ensuring our students, faculty and staff have the resources they need to succeed.” At Southwestern University, Bacchus was responsible for directing the university’s annual giving efforts. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s of nonprofit administration from the University of Notre Dame.

Anonymous gifts endow need-based scholarship Anonymous gifts from two sets of Elon parents and grandparents have helped create a new need-based scholarship. The gifts, totaling $612,500, support the Odyssey Scholars program, which aligns with the donors’ mission to help students who may benefit from additional institutional assistance. The program, which is part of the Watson and Odyssey Scholars Program in Elon’s Center for Access and Success, is a selective four-year program consisting of talented individuals who are academically strong, civically engaged, action-oriented leaders in their communities who will benefit from an Elon education but have significant financial need. Endowment support provides opportunities for students of many backgrounds to attend Elon. For more information on how to support student scholarships, call the Office of University Advancement at (336) 278-7440.

Rich Skrosky named Elon’s head football coach Rich Skrosky, who served as a top assistant to former Elon football coach Pete Lembo, has been named the new Phoenix head football coach. He is the 21st head football coach in school history. “We are very excited to have Rich Skrosky return to Elon University as our head football coach,” Director of Athletics Dave Blank said during a Dec. 12 news conference. “Rich has seen what it takes to win at Elon and has the experience needed to build a successful program that achieves both academic and athletic excellence. We are excited about his enthusiasm and we are confident that he is the right coach to guide our football program as we transition into the Colonial Athletic Association.” Skrosky, who has 26 years of collegiate coaching experience, is making a return to Elon where he served under Lembo as the team’s offensive line coach (2006–08) as well as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (2009–10). For the past three seasons, he has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

“I am extremely humbled to be named the head football coach at Elon,” Skrosky said. “I am returning to a place that is very special to [my wife] Suzanne and me. I grew professionally, but more importantly, I grew as a person because of the community and people at Elon. I look forward to working with the talented student-athletes on the team, the entire athletics staff, our loyal fans and everyone associated with Phoenix athletics to achieve excellence and be a source of pride for the entire Elon community.”

Elon buys property in downtown Greensboro

Elon has purchased eight properties along North Greene Street in downtown Greensboro, north of Elon University School of Law’s H. Michael Weaver Building. The purchase, which includes seven buildings and a parking lot, completes acquisition of the square block bounded by North Greene Street, Bellemeade Street, Commerce Place and Sternberger Place. It was completed through a financial partnership with the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, which

provided start-up funding for the law school in 2006 and continues to be an Elon supporter. “Elon University takes the longterm view with regard to campus expansion opportunities,” President Leo M. Lambert said. “We believe this is a wonderful opportunity to plan for future growth and academic program development, and we are grateful for the generosity of the Bryan Foundation in supporting Elon once again.” In the past few years, Elon has acquired several properties in the areas surrounding the law school to support its distinctive experiential approach to legal education. Elon Law has also begun new ventures, such as creating 3+3 programs with nearby colleges and universities, and growing the school’s business law program. winter 2014  9


ONE FOR THE BOOKS The Elon men’s soccer team 2013 campaign had many highlights, including the program’s first advancement in the NCAA Tournament. BY SHAKORI FLETCHER ’16


he Elon men’s soccer team is no stranger to success. During his nine years at Elon, Coach Darren Powell has led the team to the Southern Conference Tournament three times. Going into this year’s postseason, the team ranked 18th nationally, tying its highest ranking from the previous season. And while the groundwork for this season’s accomplishments was built upon the success of former standouts like Chris Thomas ’13, the 2013 team made its own history and delivered a dream season for its five returning seniors. The team led the conference in points (122), shots (305) and assists (44—the second highest in the country) and boasted the conference’s second highest number of goals (39). The 2013 season marked the team’s greatest success in NCAA Tournament competition. After winning the SoCon Tournament and earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the team won its first matchup against Clemson in a 4–1 shootout battle at home, amidst the cheers of more than 3,300 fans who packed the

10  the MAGAZINE of ELON

fences surrounding Rudd Field, the largest crowd ever assembled in a tournament game in school history. “That energy from the crowd really helped the guys,” Powell says. “[It] kept them focused … and allowed us to get that victory.” Players then traveled to California to take on top-ranked UCLA, and although the team fell 0–4, the national exposure capped an already memorable season. “I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” Powell says. “What they’ve achieved this year, how they’ve worked and what they have gone through to get to that point, it’s a fantastic accomplishment.” As if that weren’t enough, Powell and senior midfielder Dan Lovitz were named SoCon Coach and Player of the Year, respectively. This is the second year the Phoenix swept the top two conference honors, and Powell became the program’s all-time winningest coach with his 93rd career win over Wofford in the conference title game. Lovitz also made the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-South Region teams alongside senior Matt Wescoe and

juniors Jason Waterman and Nathan Dean. In January Lovitz became the highest Major League Soccer draft pick in the history of the program when he was selected 24th overall by Toronto FC in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft. For Powell, being named Coach of the Year is an indicator that the team is doing well, which is more important than his own notoriety. “I always think that it’s more of a coaching staff award and a team award,” he says. “Everyone’s involvement has the same goal—and that’s to see these guys be successful on and off the field. So the Coach of the Year doesn’t really mean much for me, but for the team, I think it’s an honor, one that we hope to continue. “I think the character of the group and the commitment of the group is really what’s separated us the past couple years.” Lovitz shares Powell’s sentiments for looking at individual awards as a measure of overall success. “It’s really been one of the more successful seasons we’ve had,” he says. “So it’s really been not your traditional roller coaster as it has been in past years, in terms of a lot of highs and lows. It’s really been a consistent rise, a few spells of low points, and then right back to the level we like to operate at, which is where we are now.” Looking forward, the team hopes the excitement from this season fuels the program in the coming years to achieve new levels of success. “It’s hard to get here, and hopefully we can try and maintain that level and maybe even beyond,” Powell says.


GREAT EXPECTATIONS The Phoenix men’s basketball team carries momentum from last season to the court with plans for an even better 2013–14 season. BY ERIN M. TURNER ’15

Dennion named SoCon Player of the Year BY SHAKORI FLETCHER ’16

Women’s soccer forward Nicole Dennion, a sophomore from Ewing, N.J., who tied for conference lead in goals (15), was named the Southern Conference Player of the Year in 2013. She also received All-Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. The accolades were particularly important for Dennion, who played little in 2012 due to sickness and injury. She attributes her turnaround to the drive of the team. “Going into the season we were all really excited and wanted to get out there and work really hard,” she says. “I think that helped me a lot as a player.” Dennion has already set her sights on preparation for the next season. She says the team is excited to compete and win on the next level. “Going into a new division it’s going to be difficult to adjust to the teams we’re playing because they’re obviously a higher caliber,” she says. “It makes me more determined to work harder and do better next season.”

As the basketball season opened in the fall, there was much expectation for the Elon men’s squad, which returned with the same core players who led the team to a 21–12 record and North Division title last season. “There has been a great deal of anticipation and it comes from the way that our players have improved as a team over the past several years,” head coach Matt Matheny says. “With this kind of anticipation comes great expectations, but our guys have had a great spring, summer and fall that really prepared them for this season.” The squad had not seen a season like the 2012–13 in more than 40 years. This success led league head coaches and media members to predict Elon as a strong contender to win the Southern Conference Championship in March. While having such predictions is a reflection of a job well done, the team prefers to keep a measured approach. “We like to take things one game at a time; when you look too far ahead you tend to lose sight of what the goal of the game is,” senior forward Lucas Troutman says. “The goal that we have set as a team is to get better each game so that we can be where we want to be at the end of the season.” Leadership and mentoring of younger players has played a key role this season

for the team, Matheny says, adding that as seniors have each gotten stronger and better, their energy is passed to juniors, sophomores and newcomers. That’s certainly been the case with sophomore guard Tanner Samson, who in December ranked fourth in the conference in field-goal percentage (.550) and third in three-point percentage, while leading the league with 3.3 made triples per game. “Incorporating the younger guys into the system and getting them used to playing with the older guys, so that we gel together, has been really important in allowing us to stay on the right track,” senior guard Jack Isenbarger says. Regardless of their final record, the team believes Elon’s move to the Colonial Athletic Association in the fall will take the program to a new level by placing it on a national stage while opening doors for better recruitment options and marketability. “The CAA is a bigger conference and making this change will give us the opportunity to play bigger and better teams,” senior forward Ryley Beaumont says. “It will allow us to push ourselves to win harder games.” For more information on the men’s basketball team and to follow their progress throughout the season, visit

{ l-r: Seniors Sebastian Koch, Ryley Beaumont, Jack Isenbarger, Egheosa Edomwonyi and Lucas Troutman. }

winter 2014  11


A passion for entrepreneurship has taken Mital Patel L’09 beyond his law practice in Raleigh, N.C., to conference rooms around the world— including the White House.



he year 2013 was particularly memorable for Mital Patel L’09. After all, it’s not every year you get to make a presentation at the White House, ring the NASDAQ closing bell, meet Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Rio de Janeiro. “It’s been a fun run,” he says thinking back. “I’m probably forgetting a few things. My wife gets mad at me because I don’t think too far ahead sometimes. And I really just take it one day at a time. When you do that, I think you forget about how all this was crunched up into this past year.” But don’t think his reluctance to recollect means he isn’t grateful for a series of once-ina-lifetime experiences that were all wedged into just one year. “I’m blown away by it,” the Raleigh-based attorney and entrepreneur says. “I’ve gotten a chance to do some awesome things.” His focus on what’s right in front of him might make it harder to look back, but it’s also part of what helped him arrive where he is. Patel owns Triangle Business Law, the boutique law firm he founded in Raleigh not long after he graduated as a member of the charter class of the Elon University School of Law in 2009. It’s not your typical law firm— and Patel is not your typical lawyer. “The law school tags itself as a law school with a difference,” he says. “It’s about doing things differently. It’s about getting practical experience. It’s about being entrepreneurial … [and] thinking like entrepreneurs just as much as thinking like lawyers.” Patel does plenty of lawyerly thinking. His firm handles business incorporation, contract reviews, intellectual property work and mergers and acquisitions. But clients can get that kind of service anywhere. “How we really try to differentiate ourselves is we try to be more than just lawyers,” he says. “We do a great job on the legal work, but we like to see ourselves as an extension of the management team in the business.” In short, Patel builds businesses by building relationships. “I’ve always had a deep knowledge that business is more than just dollars and cents,” he says. “It affects lives.” If anyone should know that, it’s him. Patel grew up in Morehead City, N.C., watching his parents run their own small business—a motel called the Royal Inn. He only got to watch for so long, though, because even at a young age, he became an active participant. “[I] had experience doing everything, from cleaning toilets to picking up phones to cutting the grass around the property,” he says. “I answered phones when I was probably way too young

“Where I find my passion is rooted in this idea that entrepreneurship is the secret sauce of the United States.” Mital Patel L’09

to do that. Luckily, customers didn’t know the difference.” What Patel learned living and working in the family business along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast helped shape what now drives him to make the Tar Heel State and the United States hotbeds for entrepreneurship. “Where I find my passion is rooted in this idea that entrepreneurship is the secret sauce of the United States,” he says. “On a bigger level, the thing that we’ve done best out of any country in the world is be entrepreneurial, and I think that’s what’s going to continue to get us out of the current recession. It’s going to be one of the things that continues to drive us forward in making changes in the world.” Patel is doing his part to keep pushing in that direction. Not long after he graduated from Elon Law, he volunteered to revive the Triangle chapter of an effort called Startup Weekend. The program pairs entrepreneurs with mentors for a 54-hour boot camp that allows for discussion, design and development of entrepreneurial ideas. He even played a role in helping Elon University’s Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership host a Startup Weekend event in November. Patel, who studied computer science during his undergraduate years at N.C. State, also launched the North Carolina chapter of an organization called Startup America, whose goal is to connect entrepreneurs with the resources, ideas and clients to make their efforts grow. “One of the focuses of Elon Law School is to create lawyers who are leaders,” Patel says. “When I helped launch Startup North Carolina, I applied a lot of the things I learned about leadership at Elon Law to my approach to doing that.” The success of that approach led to the White House event that kicked off Patel’s run of outstanding opportunities to further the entrepreneurship cause. He and a delegation of other Startup North Carolina members were invited to Washington to pitch and present on the state’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem.” They had an audience with the senior administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the country’s chief technology officer, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and

the acting director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In March, just weeks after the White House visit, Patel was off to Rio de Janeiro to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, which bills itself as “a gathering of startup champions from around the world.” His meeting with Steve Wozniak came when the Apple Computer cofounder visited Elon University’s campus in early October to headline Fall Convocation. The year 2013 also saw the national Startup Weekend and Startup America organizations merge to create a new champion of entrepreneurship called UP Global, in which Patel remains actively involved. In fact, in late October, UP Global included him in its contingent that rang the NASDAQ closing bell. A steadfast belief that “net job creation comes from small businesses that are just getting started” fuels Patel’s desire to see startups grow. His hope is to keep his home state at the forefront of entrepreneurial culture and to see it climb out of the economic doldrums of the last few years. “For somebody who is from and plans to stay in North Carolina, I really take the approach that I’m going to be here for a long time,” Patel says. “Let’s try to build the business community up as much as we can.” If there’s anything his whirlwind year, and particularly his trip to Rio, has taught him, it’s that he faces competition in achieving those goals. “The things that we’re doing locally in North Carolina and nationally in the United States to re-spark entrepreneurship—the rest of the world is doing the same things,” Patel says. “The silver lining for the United States is that, if you look at it athletically, we have more pure talent in entrepreneurship. But the rest of the world is going to the gym quite a bit.” Patel is confident more entrepreneurial talent is in the pipeline for this country, particularly in the form of his millennial generation. “One of the things that’s baked into what we are is that we want to change the world in some way,” he says. “In any way that we want to change the world as millennials and generations after that, it’s entrepreneurship—that’s going to allow us to do it most effectively.” winter 2014  13

which have taken inspiration from Elon to begin their own journeys of reinvention and rejuvenation. All Elon students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees, parents, and friends will take pride in both this enlightening book and their respective roles as builders and shapers of the Elon University we love today. Thousands of intelligent and courageous people have made Elon history by crafting bold plans for campus development and fundraising, pioneering study abroad, pursuing racial integration in the 1960s, experiencing athletics glories as Fighting Christians or Phoenix, or winning the first Fulbright, Mitchell, and Goldwater fellowships. We ask that God will continue to bless and guide us on the journey ahead and that we will keep as a sacred trust the responsibility to secure Elon for future generations. Long Live Elon!

Consistent with Elon’s collegial ethos, this publication is the result of many contributions of time and professional talents. Recently retired university designer Carolyn Nelson advised us through planning and in the wise selection of BW&A Books to design and produce the book. Far beyond the role of reference librarians and university archivists, Katie Nash, Shaunta Alvarez, Connie Keller, and Linda Lashendock have provided research assistance and located photographs that I never would have found, and Christopher Eyl prepared the campus map. University photographer Kim Walker made the exact recent photographs I had in mind. Elon alumni and former faculty and staff have enriched the university’s archives by participating in recorded interviews that add substance and new insights into the story of Elon. Janie Brown, Earl Danieley, Sandra Fields, Gerry Francis, Leo Lambert, Nan Perkins, Jerry Tolley, Alan White, Mary Wise, and Fred Young have read portions of the manuscript and provided clarification and careful editing. Others have answered numerous questions and contributed photographs. James Waggoner’s The Fighting Chris-

Leo M. Lambert President


tians and Durward Stokes’s Elon College: Its History and Traditions will continue to be valuable resources for future generations. Professor Stokes’s book remains the most detailed and authoritative study of Elon’s first ninety years. I cherish the close friendship I had with Durward Stokes, and this volume benefits from the long conversations I had with the remarkable man and the insights he shared. As the publication deadline for From a Grove of Oaks approached, my wife, Carole Watterson Troxler, laid aside her own research to work with me. As a historian she has provided clear insights, new sources, and historical perspective. My closest colleague and best friend for the past forty-six years, she was my full-time editorial assistant during the final six months of manuscript preparation. We have been enriched by the experience of exploring afresh Elon’s remarkable story. Errors and omissions remain my responsibility. George W. Troxler Professor Emeritus of History


for e wor d

ch a p t er one

The Grove of Oaks, 1889–1911



Elon began quietly, in the manner of hundreds of other church-initiated colleges of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Typically located beyond urban centers, these private institutions shared a goal of educating the children of their supporting congregations. Ministerial training was a focus for most, and the new schools were intended to supply an educated ministry for areas where opportunities for higher education, particularly theological education, were rare. The degree of openness to other denominations and faith traditions varied. A few of the schools were intended for separate education of women, and still fewer were coeducational. Even before Elon came into being, the organizations that shaped it valued coeducation and openness in religious matters as well as theological studies.

As with similar colleges, the initiatives that created Elon were place specific. The college’s birthing ground was Virginia and North Carolina. Elon’s originating body formed in 1793–94 in response to the objections of some Methodist ministers in Virginia and North Carolina to the authority of an American bishop after the nation achieved independence. The members of the breakaway group, led by James O’Kelly, originally called themselves “Republican Methodists.” Soon they chose the name “Christian” for its simplicity and inclusiveness, and they were one of three distinct clusters evolving concurrently in the new nation to choose that name. The “Christian Church” in New England was led by Abner Jones and had its origins in Baptist circles. The third group to take the name “Christian” consisted of

( facing) Influential in Methodist and Christian circles during his lifetime (pre-1741–1826), O’Kelly preached in circuits that included present-day Alamance County. In pulpit and press, he attacked slavery as unchristian, and he insisted on equal authority among ministers. In 1926 the Southern Christian Convention voted to erect a memorial to O’Kelly on the campus of Elon College. Unveiled in 1929, it stands adjacent to what was then the circle driveway at the main entrance to the campus, facing the railroad on the south side of Alamance. The urn in the center of the monument was vandalized in the 1940s and replaced during 1966–67 with a copper cross. Shown in the 1929 photo (left to right) are President William A. Harper and former president Emmett L. Moffitt.

followers of Barton Stone, who left the Presbyterian Church in 1803 in the wake of the Great Revival, in Kentucky and Tennessee. By 1820 the three organizations were known as the “Christian Connection” and were exchanging letters and discussing possible union. In 1832 Stone’s group united with followers of Alexander Campbell, a frontier publisher shaped by the Scottish Enlightenment in his homeland, and from this union came the Disciples of Christ. Correspondence, visits, and exchanges between the northern and southern “Christian” organizations continued sporadically until the merger in 1922 of the Southern Christian Convention and the American Christian Convention. The united denomination’s governing body became the General Convention of the Christian Church.1 Further Christian unity remained a goal of the newly formed Christian Church, and it opened negotiations with the National Council of Congregational Churches. The move culminated in a convention in Seattle, Washington, in 1931 and the formation of the Congregational Christian Church. A third merger in 1957 brought together the German-originated Evangelical and Reformed Church with the Congregational Christian Church to form the United Church of Christ, with which Elon University remains affiliated. In 1889 on the eve of Elon’s formation, the Southern Christian Convention’s relatively small membership remained concentrated in Virginia and North Carolina. The General Convention met every four years, with Extraordinary Sessions held at the call of the president. Regional conferences meeting annually handled most affairs of the linked churches. In 1889 four of the five conferences were located in Virginia and North Carolina. The fifth conference, in Georgia and Alabama, embraced only nine churches. The convention published proceedings of the annual conferences in the Christians’ Almanac and Annual. In 1889 the five conferences in the Southern Christian Church—Elon’s founder—had a total of 138 churches. The 129 churches reporting their membership listed a total of 12,467 members.2 Elon College had an antebellum precursor in Alamance County, also fostered by Christian churches. The Graham Institute opened in the county seat in 1852 and was chartered as Graham College in 1859, a cooperative effort of the North Carolina and Virginia Conference and the Eastern Virginia Conference. Their efforts had originated three years earlier when the Union Ridge congregation in

northern Alamance County requested the Southern Christian Convention to establish a seminary in the new county. Graham Institute was built on Graham’s Main Street between the courthouse and what is now Interstate 85/40. Despite financial difficulties and frequent changes in leadership, the school survived until wartime conditions forced a suspension of operations in 1863. Later the same year, the trustees sold the college property to satisfy a claim against the institution. After liquidating the debt, the trustees invested the remaining funds in Confederate bonds, and the churches’ hope for re-establishing the college vanished with the defeat of the Confederacy.3 After the war, new leadership that would culminate in the formation of Elon College emerged in the person of William S. Long, a graduate of Graham College and a minister in the Christian Church. He owned and operated Graham Female Seminary as a private venture, and in 1870 he offered the Southern Christian Convention use of his building for a denominational school. The North Carolina and Virginia Conference viewed his proposal favorably, but the Eastern Virginia Conference was in the process of establishing a similar school. The Suffolk Collegiate Institute in Suffolk, Virginia, opened in 1872, offering two years of college study as well as “preparatory” classes needed by students who had not had high schools available, a situation that was common well into the twentieth century. Long, still operating on his own, bought the Graham College property, and he and his brother Daniel opened a private school for both sexes in 1872. They incorporated it two years later as Graham High School. Then in 1881 the Longs added two years of college courses designed to prepare students for teaching in the public schools and changed the name to Graham Normal College. Although Graham Normal College remained a privately owned school, church leaders endorsed the venture, which was housed in the former Graham College building and presided over by a member of their clergy. News and advertisements of both the Suffolk Collegiate Institute and Graham Normal College appeared regularly in both the Southern Christian Convention’s Annual Reports and the church’s weekly newspaper, the Christian Sun. Writing in 1918, William A. Harper stated that when Elon opened its doors in 1890, only three ministers in the Southern Christian Church had completed four-year college degrees. In 1886 the Southern Convention’s committee on schools and colleges had cited the longstanding need for


Elon’s first president, William S. Long, was born in Graham, North Carolina, on October 22, 1839. After graduating from Graham College, Long was licensed to preach by the North Carolina and Virginia Conference in 1860. He was ordained by the Southern Christian Church the following year and soon moved to Virginia with his bride, Artelia E.J. Faucette. In 1865 Long purchased the property of the old Graham Institute and opened the Graham Female Seminary. With several curricular and name changes, the school operated continuously until Long leased the property to the Southern Christian Convention in 1887. Long continued as president of the convention’s Graham College as it moved and became Elon College. For several years after his resignation as president in 1894, Long maintained his Elon home at the intersection of North O’Kelly and Lebanon Avenues and continued to serve the college as financial agent. After Long sold this house, the couple moved to Graham. After Artelia Long died in 1903, he married Virginia Gaskins Ames. They lived in Chapel Hill until Long died August 3, 1924, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile crash.


William B. Wellons, a prominent Christian Church minister, was founder and first president of Suffolk Collegiate Institute, which opened in 1872 in Suffolk, Virginia. Sponsored by the Eastern Virginia Association of the Southern Christian Church, Suffolk, like Graham College, was coeducational and offered college preparatory courses and two years of college study. At least six of the seventy-seven students who enrolled at Elon in September 1890 had studied at Suffolk. (Christian Annual, 1888, 31; Elon College Alumni News, March 1963, 3; Elon College Registration Book, 2–6.)

“a school in which candidates for the ministry can be educated.” On its recommendation, the convention authorized the committee to establish a theological department “in one of the schools or colleges now under the management of our people.” The conferences were to raise the funds to pay a professor’s salary and provide a suitable library. The convention elected William W. Staley, pastor of the Suffolk and Bethlehem churches in Virginia, as chair of theology and selected Suffolk Collegiate Institute as the school with which to connect the department. How the theological department at Suffolk functioned—for example, whether the conferences contributed the funds to support the position

or whether Staley, who continued to serve as pastor of the two churches, offered classes—is not known. When Staley resigned as chair of theology in May 1890, the convention transferred the position to Elon College, the convention’s school that was to open at its new location in September.4 Encouraged by the convention’s support of a theological department, the committee on schools and colleges sought to consolidate the Christian Church’s resources and establish a single four-year institution open to both sexes. In 1887 the committee signed a three-year lease for use of the Graham Normal School property and resumed use of the prewar name Graham College. William S. Long, who

headed the committee, continued as president of the reorganized school. As Long’s Graham Normal College transitioned to the Christian Church’s Graham College, there was little change in faculty and curriculum beyond the students’ opportunity to complete two additional years of college classes.5 In September 1888 the General Convention met in an Extraordinary Session at New Providence Christian Church in Graham to hear the report of its committee on schools and colleges. The convention approved the constitution and bylaws for Graham College that the committee submitted. While acknowledging the “hopeful” prospects for the school, the committee noted the need for new buildings and additional space. It recommended that the convention determine a permanent location for the college and appoint a board of trustees to establish and manage the institution. Already, Long had visited potential sites and solicited proposals from individuals interested in having the college in their communities. The convention received proposals from representatives of Graham, Burlington, Gibsonville, Greensboro, Morrisville, and Mill Point—a freight station on the Richmond and Danville Railroad five miles west of Burlington. The six communities offered pledges of cash and, in some cases, land, if the school were built in their communities. After considering the proposals, the convention appointed fifteen trustees for the college and named a five-member Provisional Board to construct buildings and begin operations. It asked the board to visit each of the proposed sites and to select one. Three members of the Provisional Board were also members of the committee on schools and colleges: the Reverend William S. Long, the chair of both the committee and board; the Reverend J. Pressley Barrett, editor of the Christian Sun; and Frank O. Moring, a Raleigh businessman. The other two members of the Provisional Board were James H. Harden, a prominent Alamance County layman, and Dr. George S. Watson of Union Ridge. All of the Provisional Board members except Barrett were trustees.6



The Provisional Board’s first choice was a site in Graham north of the Graham College building and near New Providence Christian Church, the largest church in the conference and a source of support. Moreover, the board wanted the college to be near the Graham school, for the latter would continue as a preparatory school and could provide students to the college. The board was unable to acquire all the property sought for the new Graham campus, however, and on December 22, 1888, decided to locate the school at Mill Point. The Mill Point freight depot had been built between the fall of 1887, when the railway approved the freight stop, and April 1888. The depot provided a convenient shipping point for textile mills at Ossipee and Altamahaw approximately seven miles north of the railroad. James N. Williamson, who owned the Ossipee Mill, and the owners of the Altamahaw Mill were eager for the depot to have sufficient business for the railroad to justify keeping it open. A college and the village that would develop around it would provide passenger and additional freight service for the station. William H. Trollinger of Haw River owned land at Mill Point and was a spokesman for the Mill Point interests. The

list of contributors found in the cornerstone box of the first building credits Trollinger with a contribution of thirtytwo acres of land and Williamson with a gift $750, the largest cash donation recorded. Minutes of the Christian Convention record that the promoters of Mill Point made an initial pledge of “$4,300, including forty or fifty acres of land.” Of the five locations, Mill Point initially offered the largest tract of land; only Burlington, whose proposal did not include land, offered a larger cash donation. Exact details of the offer were no doubt refined between the September convention session and the trustees’ decision in December.7 The rural setting of Mill Point offered advantages not available in the incorporated towns. The trustees were concerned about shielding students from corrupting influences. In response to their concerns, Graham officials had even offered to amend the town’s charter to prohibit the manufacture and sale of liquor within the town limits. The March 11, 1889, corporate charter for Elon College went further, prohibiting any game of chance, gambling, houses of ill fame, and the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors within one and one-half miles of the college.

Chr iSTi A N SUN, JA NUA rY 3, 1889

In the January 3, 1889, issue of the Christian Church’s weekly newspaper, William S. Long announced the selection of Mill Point as the college site. He pointed out, “Here we get the privilege of naming the depot and post office after the institution which will be a permanent advertisement and of great value.” In the same article, Long offered to name the college for a major donor: “Who will partly endow it and name it? There are those well able to endow it. What a blessing would be conferred! What honor achieved!”8




ared ools olars omed t stuy and were ment Cataore juudents ” (prets were tudents ts who e in the nd-year urned to

ore Elon th Carod Suffolk the state ht


J. Pressley Barrett, who was both editor of the Christian Sun and a member of the Provisional Board, kept his readers updated on the progress of the “College now known as Graham College.” The Friday, March 7, 1889, paper reported, “we cannot announce the college name this week as we had expected on account of the name selected conflicting with the name of places already established.” The following Tuesday, March 11, the state legislature incorporated Elon College. That Friday the Christian Sun announced the name followed by a question: “The name is Elon College. How do you like it?” The same issue carried a report that President Long had spent “about ten days in Raleigh before he succeeded in getting a charter for the College.”9

“Bon Air” was probably the “name [first] selected” to which Barrett referred. A one-sentence item in the “Gibsonville Gleanings” column of the March 21, 1889, Greensboro Patriot stated, “The name of Mill Point has recently been changed to the name of Bonair.” John U. Newman, a member of the Graham College faculty who would continue teaching at the new institution, told the writer of an article pub


fr om a gr ov e of oa k s

Between his responsibilities as president of Graham College and trips to eastern North Carolina and Virginia to raise funds for construction, Long supervised both the surveying of the town and construction of the first college buildings. Land clearing began before the deeds were recorded. Barrett reported in the January 24, 1889, issue of the Christian Sun that when he had visited the previous week, Asa Franklin Iseley, pastor of the nearby Shallowford Christian Church, was supervising the cutting of trees and clearing. Most of the larger trees were cut and the wood used to fuel the brick kilns. The smaller oaks on the campus were left and grew to become the grove of mature oaks with which future generations of alumni would identify.


t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1



fr om a gr ov e of oa k s

The land purchased for the college and village was surveyed and platted by Silas A. Holleman, a member of the Graham College faculty who would be principal of the Preparatory Department when the school opened at Elon. Holleman was married to Long’s eldest daughter, Annie. Twenty-five acres were reserved for the college campus, with the remainder surveyed for residential and commercial lots. The “College Campus” marked on the plat was approximately the area enclosed by the brick wall that would be completed in 1925. The main building with its octagonal tower stood approximately where later Alamance Building would stand and faced south toward the railway. Main was nearly completed when school opened in September 1890, and East Dormitory opened in December. West Dormitory, the third structure, was built in 1906. Williamson and Trollinger Avenues were named for James N. Williamson and William H. Trollinger, who played key roles in locating the college at Mill Point, and Holt Avenue for the Alamance County family whose industrial interests included part ownership of nearby Altamahaw Mill. Antioch was named for the Syrian city where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians, and Lebanon recalled Old Lebanon Church in Surry County, Virginia, where the Christian Ch A pEL iN M A iN BUiLdiNg

This photo of the chapel on the second floor of Main Building appeared in Elon’s 1901 Bulletin. When additional seating was needed, the folding doors in the back were opened, adding twenty-nine feet to the room’s length. Funds for the improvements grew gradually. Collections given in chapel services paid for the oil chandelier and lamps on each side of the lectern in the spring of 1891, and pledges made by the students and faculty the following spring financed plastering the ceiling and walls. The “opera chairs” were added in 1893. The stove on the right near the front of the room was a coal-burning heater purchased in December 1894 to replace the original wood-burning stove. (“Minutes of the General Convention, May 5, 1890,” Christian Annual, 1891, 30–31; Christian Sun, March 26, 1891, 32; April 19, 1892, 219; June 29, 1893, 377; Faculty Minutes, December 31, 1894.)


While the college building was under construction, President Long assigned his son, William Long Jr., to remain on campus and supervise the clearing of underbrush and thinning of trees, leaving only the young oaks that were “tall and straight.” Oral tradition recounts that young Long left one dramatically bent oak because it appealed to his artistic sensibilities. Despite the president’s injunction that “nothing crooked” be spared, the tree remained. Students called it “the crooked oak” or “the hunchback oak,” and it became a meeting place and a site for class photographs. The class of 1913 chose to plant ivy around its base as its senior gift. Although the ivy did not survive, subsequent references to the tree identified it as “The Senior Oak.” Lightning damaged the tree in 1980, and it was removed after it shed its last leaves during the summer of 1981. (Dr. William S. Long Jr., “The College is Founded,” Christian Sun, October 5, 1939, 5.)


fr om a gr ov e of oa k s


t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1


NOwN as “Main Building,” “the Administration Building,” or “the College,” this building housed the school’s auditorium, library, society halls, faculty and administrative offices, and nearly all the classrooms when it burned in January 1923. In May 1890 President Long described the building then under construction as a most substantial building of brick 120 x 59 feet, with an octagonal front 25 x 25 feet. On the first floor are thirteen recitation and lecture rooms; on the second floor a chapel 71 x 56 feet, which can be made twentynine feet longer by means of folding doors when additional room is needed; a reading room, an office and five music rooms; on the third floor two society halls, library, museum and six dormitories. On the top of the tower is an observatory commanding an extensive view. The hallways are twelve feet wide, affording ample room to pass through the building. The chapel is entered by two broad stairways, making it easy of access and affording ample means of escape in case of danger. Every room has a fireplace and a separate flue for a stove, should it be at any time desirable to use stoves. . . . In the basement are two rooms for furnaces in case it should be hereafter determined to heat the building by hot air or steam; and one room under the tower for flowers, evergreens, etc.

Long expressed his hope that “other advantages and conveniences may be added soon in the way of electric lights, etc.” (“Minutes of the General Convention, May 5, 1890,” Christian Annual, 1891, 30–31.)

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Church had organized in 1794. Except for East and West College Avenues, the remaining streets were named for past and contemporary denominational leaders.13 The architect for the two buildings erected in 1889–90 was George W. Adkins of Wilson’s Mills, a community in Johnston County, North Carolina. Adkins was a member of a Disciples of Christ congregation in Wilson’s Mills that later affiliated with the Southern Christian Church. The contractors were Graham resident John William Long, President Long’s first cousin and a member of New Providence Christian Church, and William P. Anderson. The board awarded the contract for brick to William H. Trollinger and Peter Hughes, another local resident. When Hughes withdrew, Trollinger fulfilled the contract. Trollinger’s clay pit and brickyard were in the southeast corner of the village south of the railway, the site where the university would build track and intramural fields in 2003. The first building constructed was a three-room frame structure on the east side of the campus. William S. Long Jr. recalled that his parents “slept in one room, cooked in one, and fed the carpenters in the other.”14


ELON’S OLd WELL Photographed by Alonzo Hook between 1912 and 1923.

his phOtOgraph of East Dormitory and its residents was made between 1890 and 1906, and the hair and clothing display the “Gibson Girl” style of the 1890s. The matron sits near the center, and other staff of the residence stand at the bottom right. Annie Graham Lawrence ’93, who was one of East’s first residents in 1890, recalled, “For light we used oil lamps and for heat open fireplaces. Of course we had no running water so each room had in it a washbowl and pitcher.” In the years after East opened, the women complained about the lack of running water and bathrooms and also about the smell from the college’s pig sty near the building. A one-story annex on the north side of East Dormitory was used as a dining hall until a new dining hall was opened in the West Dormitory annex in 1906. Three years later, the East Dormitory annex was converted into additional dormitory rooms. In 1906 running water, a sewage system, steam heat, and electric lights were installed in all three college buildings. (Lawrence, “Early Years,” 2 (quotation); Boyd, “To Get Away from the Devil,” 143–44; Elon College Weekly, January 4, 1911, 1; Stokes, Elon College, 101.)

the carpenters during construction became the kitchen and dining hall for the male students and faculty members living on campus. The young men who were not living in Main Building roomed and took their meals at the “Elon College Hotel,” a recently constructed addition to the home of the depot agent, Walter “Buck” Smith, and his wife, Elsa. The female students had their meals and lived, four to a room, with Professor Silas A. Holleman and his wife, Annie Long Holleman, in the large house on Trollinger Avenue that the Hollemans rented from James N. Williamson, the Ossipee Mill owner. After East Dormitory was completed in mid-December, the women moved into their dormitory rooms before they left for the Christmas break.20 The public was invited to “bring a basket” and attend Elon’s opening on Tuesday, September 2, 1890. The Christian Sun, published two days later, gave an account of the opening day’s activities. The formal program began with prayer and scripture reading and included eight speakers, who addressed the importance of the school for the community and the school’s plans and needs. Following a picnic

dinner, seventy-six students enrolled at 4:00 p.m. Elon’s first registration book lists seventy-seven enrolling in September 1890. All students were from North Carolina and Virginia. The youngest preparatory students were thirteen years old; twenty-five of the seventy-seven students were twenty or older. Seventeen of those who registered had attended Graham College, and six were from Suffolk Collegiate Institute.21 Additional students joined them during the year. Elon’s 1890 Catalogue lists eighty-eight college and preparatory students enrolled during the 1890–91 academic year. The Catalogue also names eighteen additional “unclassified students,” younger children living in the village with their families. The following year, Bessie Moring, the sister of Elon’s painting and drawing instructor, opened a private school for young children in one room of the college building, and these students were no longer listed in the Catalogue. The private school continued in the college’s Main Building until a one-room public school was built in the town between 1895 and 1898.22 t he gr ov e of oa k s , 18 89 – 19 1 1

Literary societies were central to the academic program and social life of most colleges and universities in the nineteenth century, and Elon took pride in fostering them. In weekly meetings, society members presented papers, held formal debates, practiced their oratorical skills, and learned parliamentary procedure. The Elon faculty gave the societies a prominent place in the academic program and encouraged students to join. Students who were not active participants in literary societies were required to write essays

When this photograph appeared in the August 1907 Elon College Bulletin, the library and reading room occupied two adjoining rooms on the second floor of the college building. A third room with additional shelves was added in 1912. A faculty member served as curator of the library. It opened two hours each day until 1906 when Elon’s first librarian, Mamie Tate, was employed. Library hours became 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Tate was twenty-seven and lived with her elderly parents near the college. (Bulletin of Elon College, 1906, 11; Bulletin of Elon College, 1907, 6, 10–11; 30; 1900 census, Boon Station Township, Alamance County, North Carolina, E.D. 3:5B; 1910 census, Boon Station Township, Alamance County, North Carolina, E.D. 4:50.)


philosophical course with a bachelor of philosophy (PhB) degree. The two degree programs were similar. Both required four semesters of mathematics, six semesters of both Latin and English, and one semester each of history, German, French, rhetoric, chemistry, logic, zoology and botany, constitutional and international law, psychology, astronomy, political economy, and ethics. The classical course required six semesters of Greek and Greek literature, and the philosophy course required additional courses in German, French, geography, and physiology. Students in music and art were allowed to substitute courses with the faculty’s approval. In the 1892–93 Announcement, the PhB degree was dropped, and the program became a second degree track for the classical or AB degree.25 Music and art classes were popular electives, particularly for women. During the first year, twenty-one students were enrolled in the music department, and nine were taking art classes; only two of the thirty were men. The gendered demand reflected the social value that women could expect from musical and artistic accomplishments but not


fr om a gr ov e of oa k s

ThE fir ST Y EAr

When Elon’s originating students arrived, the first two buildings were unfinished. Annie Graham Lawrence ’93 later recalled that when she entered in September 1890, Main Building had been “near enough completed to be usable.” Third-floor windows and several doors for the building had not been installed. Emmett L. Moffitt, a member of the first faculty and later Elon’s third president, recalled that Main Building “was far from completed—walls not

plastered, only a few split-bottom chairs for furnishings, no light but oil lamps, no heat but wood stoves, no water but the old college well.”19 Rooms on the first floor of Main Building were set aside as living quarters for faculty and their families. Most male students lived in the six unfinished dormitory rooms on the third floor. The one-story frame building on the east side of campus where the Long family had lived and fed t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1


r E A diNg rOOM A Nd LiBr A rY

Elon College awarded a total of sixty-three bachelor’s degrees (AB or PhB) at its first ten commencement ceremonies, held between 1891 and 1900. The number of graduates ranged from one in 1892 to twelve in 1899. Eleven members of the Class of 1899 are pictured with Professor of English Walter P. Lawrence ’94 ( first row, second from left). Estelle Walker (second row, left) and future Elon president William A. Harper (third row, left) married in October 1899. Ned F. Brannock ( fourth row, right) joined the faculty as professor of chemistry in 1908 and taught at Elon until his retirement in 1955. Four others have been identified: Charles E. Newman (second row, center), P. P. Barrett ( first row, right), Jennie Holland ( first row, left) and Everett D. Summers ( fourth row, left).

and agricultural areas of the country. Contributions and enrollment declined, and interest mounted on the debt that could not be paid. Needed improvements to the physical plant were delayed, and the school survived by frugal management.16 As funds became available, the school bought wood stoves to replace fireplaces for the offices and classrooms, and a former student gave the Psiphelian Society a stove for its hall. Some of the open fireplaces may still have been in use in 1906 when a central power plant was built to provide the steam heating and electricity for the college. Rooms were finished as funds became available. In October 1899 the faculty asked President Staley to “suggest some plan to finish the 1st & 2nd floors of the college.” Classroom furnishings were minimal in 1906 when the Clio Society gave the school blackboards, teachers’ desks, chairs, platforms, and 250 opera seats with table rests for the recitation rooms. In October 1894 the faculty permitted “the young men . . . to arrange a room on the third floor for the gymnasium,” provided they “remove the lumber” to a place designated by the custodian. Four years later, when the Philologian Society complained that its hall was being damaged by activities in the adjacent gym, the equipment was moved to another third-floor room. The third-floor gym was used until West Dormitory was built in 1906 and a men’s gym was completed on the first floor of West Dormitory annex.17 The uncompleted tower on Main Building created problems for the small faculty responsible for the safety of their students, including that of preparatory students in their early teens. Demerits were given to students who entered the tower without permission. In April 1895 the faculty voted to permit students to “put up a stairway in the tower provided it was equally nice as the other stairway.”18


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CL ASS Of 1899

The first brick for Main Building was laid on May 20, 1889, by President Long’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth Jane (“Lizzie”) Long. By July the foundation for Main Building was completed, and the public ceremony for laying the cornerstone was conducted by the Burlington Masonic Lodge on July 18. Leonidas Lafayette Polk, founder of the Progressive Farmer and president of the Southern Farmers’ Alliance, was to have been the featured speaker, but the popular figure was ill and unable to attend. In his absence John M. Moring, former speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives and brother of trustee Frank O. Moring, delivered the main address. A crowd of approximately 1,200–1,500 people brought picnic baskets and enjoyed music provided by the Glencoe Mill Cornet Band.15 A shortage of funds delayed construction during the spring and summer of 1890. Long’s son William Jr. worked at the site and later recalled his father’s having him take papers to Dr. George S. Watson of Union Ridge, a member of the Provisional Board. Watson signed a note to guarantee a loan that President Long used to pay the workers’ wages. The president sold his house and farm near Graham and used the money to continue construction. On May 5, 1890, Long reported to the General Convention that he was out of funds. Contributions and income from the sale of lots totaled $7,416.07. Long estimated that the balance required to complete construction of the two buildings was $8,583.94. The trustees agreed to borrow funds to complete the buildings and mortgage the college property by executing deeds of trust to supporters who lent the money necessary to complete the construction. Unfortunately, repayment of the debt during the 1890s was forestalled by a severe nationwide depression, symbolized by the Panic of 1893; part of an international agricultural depression, the economic disruption was felt especially hard in the rural

of one thousand words every two weeks. The faculty announced in February 1896 that students whose suspensions from their societies were upheld by the faculty would be expelled from the college. Three literary societies were formed at Elon: the Clio and Philologian Societies for men and the Psiphelian Society for women. The Clio and Philologian Societies had been established at Graham College, and they were “reorganized” at Elon the week following the opening of school.


The Psiphelians organized a few weeks later and replaced Graham College’s Victoria Society for women.27 The Clio and Philologian Societies held their first annual public debate in February 1891. It was attended by community residents and received a lengthy review in the Christian Sun. Their annual debate became a highlight of the academic year, although in 1906 the faculty banned the debate for a year because of “rowdy behavior.” The three literary societies produced Elon’s first student publication, the Elon College Monthly. The first issue in June 1891 contained essays and brief news items written by students. Irene Johnson ’92, one of the three co-editors,


contributed an article in the inaugural issue titled “Is CoEducation a Success?” She concluded that coeducation had a positive effect on both male and female students. Elon’s societies filled social as well as academic functions. The Elon College Monthly described the reception following the Psiphelians’ November 26, 1892, “comical entertainment” as “quite a success,” evidenced by the “never-ceasing promenade from one side of the chapel to the other.” The following October the Monthly reported that the oyster supper sponsored by the Psiphelians was “successful financially as well as socially.” Literary societies would continue at Elon until 1933.28

1915 pSiphELi A N LiTEr A rY SOCiET Y

from academic strengths. The school accommodated the ready market that coeducation brought, even to the extent of allowing students, upon request and with faculty approval, to substitute their music and art classes for required courses in their college and academic programs. During the school’s first year, its two pianos proved insufficient for the demand, and in December 1890 the faculty appropriated funds to purchase a third. Two additional pianos were bought the following October. The estimated expense per year for young men was $125 and $135, respectively, for first- and second-year academic students and $145 for those enrolled in college courses. The men furnished their own bedding, firewood, and lamps. The cost for women was $25 more and included a furnished room, fuel, lights, and regular cleaning. Additional fees were required for those enrolled in music and art classes. The fees were discounted 10 percent if two or more students were enrolled from the same family and 15 percent if three family members were enrolled. Children of ministers were admitted free of tuition, and ministerial candidates

All students were expected to be active members of a literary society. For Elon’s first thirtytwo years, there were two men’s societies and one women’s, the Psiphelian Society. A second literary society for women, the Psykaleon Society, would form in 1923.

1896 phiLOLOgi A N LiTEr A rY SOCiET Y

Men were members of either the Clio Society or the Philologian Society, shown here in 1896 with some faculty. Those who have been identified are (second row, in positions 4 through 7, and 9 from the left) professors J. U. Newman, W. W. Staley, W. P. Lawrence, S. A. Holleman, and C. H. Rowland; (third row, in positions 5, 9, and 10 from the left) L. Lassiter,  L. I. Cox, and J. E. Rawls; and ( fourth row, in positions 3 and 7 from the left) C. E. Newman, and J. W. Harrell.

Bulletin of Elon College 1890–91

signed individual notes for their tuitions that would be canceled if they entered the ministry. “For economy and to avoid unpleasant distinctions in dress,” women were required to wear dark blue or black “uniform” dresses. Trimmings and scarves could be “determined by the individual’s taste.” Annie Graham Lawrence

later recalled that the matron kept bolts of dress material and notions, which the girls could buy as they needed them. The men were to have “plain and substantial, but not expensive” clothing. Successive college bulletins advised parents, “As a general rule, the more money a student spends on dress the less time is given to study.”26

t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1





rene Johnson was Elon’s first female graduate and the only person in the college’s history to constitute an entire graduating class. Following her graduation in 1892, Johnson joined the faculty as adjunct professor of mathematics and French, and she taught at Elon until her marriage to John M. Cook ’96 in 1900. (Elon College Monthly, June 1891, 8–11.)

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This photo of the Clio Society’s hall appeared in the college’s 1901 Bulletin. The most elaborately furnished rooms in Main Building were the three society halls. Members fitted out their meeting places using donations and income from their “literary entertainments” and their strawberry-and-cream socials. An article in the October 8, 1891, Christian Sun by Walton C. Wicker ’93, a member of the Philologian Society, asked those who had been members of the society “while it yet remained at Graham” for financial support to complete the society’s hall. He also sought information about the history of the society. (Christian Sun, October 8, 1891, 60.)

t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1






Elon’s first catalogues stated that calisthenics were required of all students and that exercises were “exhilarating and healthful, developing and strengthening to all the bodily power” and imparting “grace of motion and ease of carriage.” The extant issues of the Elon College Monthly reveal “much interest” in competitive sports. The faculty allowed the male students to clear a ball field on the southwest corner of the campus near the present McEwen Communications Building. In April 1893 the Monthly expressed appreciation for the “work done on the ball grounds” by the men and reported, “We also have five good tennis courts in which the young ladies take special interest.” That fall the magazine reported that twenty-two men were playing


his tENNis sCENE was photographed after the 1906 construction of West Dormitory; the area was the place where the Elon College Monthly in 1893 had reported “five good tennis courts in which the young ladies take special interest.”


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football, coached by Professor Moffitt, and gave an account of the school’s October tennis tournament, in which fourteen students and faculty participated. S. M. Smith was captain of Elon’s first football team and described the first intramural football games as “knock-down-drag-out” affairs. To protect their heads, the players “were supposed to wear long hair—about six inches at least.”35 Men students organized the Athletic Association in spring 1894. The members elected committees to draft a constitution and bylaws, to oversee improvement of the grounds, and to manage each of the sports they chose to play. When the association met in September it expressed hope of fielding an intercollegiate football team and asked “every one who feels an interest in our college and who

wants her to stand on an equal with her sister colleges of the State” to support a team. The Elon faculty, like their colleagues at many schools, opposed intercollegiate competition, especially in football; they were concerned about the absence of common standards of eligibility, the participation of “professional” athletes, and the time that intercollegiate competition would take from study. The Elon faculty supported the Athletic Association’s efforts to promote exercise and intramural sports, but they did not permit intercollegiate competition until the spring of 1900, when they allowed the baseball team sponsored by the Athletic Association to play two games with Guilford College. In the fall of 1894, “the young men” whom the faculty allowed “to arrange a room on the third floor of Main for a gymnasium” were in fact members of the Athletic Association. S. M. Smith ’95, the first president of the Athletic Association, recalled that a local blacksmith fabricated

swing rings, which a shoemaker covered with leather. The students fastened a “skin-the-cat” pole into the brick wall and hung a cannonball from the ceiling. An article in the December issue of the Elon College Monthly reported on the progress in “fitting out” the gymnasium and solicited donations for additional equipment.36 The Athletic Association sponsored the first Field Day on a November Saturday in 1894. The men competed in tennis, running high jump, standing high jump, broad jump, and hundred-yard dash. The afternoon concluded with a football game. The men living in the Long and Holleman homes defeated the men of Main Building by a score of 12-0. By 1907 the student magazine could report that 95 percent of the male students were members of the Athletic Association, which had organized baseball, tennis, and basketball clubs, and that the young ladies “under Miss Helfenstein, director of physical culture, [were] training in calisthenics and in the various in-door games and exercises.”37



Elon’s first intercollegiate sport was baseball, and the first sanctioned intercollegiate contests were the two games played with Guilford College in the spring of 1900. They were unpropitious: Elon lost both. Elon students may have played visiting students from nearby schools before 1900, but they had not been permitted to leave campus to play match games. When the faculty approved the Athletic Association’s requests to schedule the games with Guilford, they also agreed to grant tuition to a Mr. Ferrell “so his advantage could be secured by the Association.” To be approved for membership on the team, students were required to have a grade of seventy on all subjects and not to have been “demerited” by the faculty. Those under the age of twenty-one had to have written permission from parents or guardians, and all players had to be enrolled as “bona fide students” for two weeks before the game. Three weeks later, the faculty voted to decline tuition for Mr. Ferrell, “he having failed to come promptly as anticipated,” and on March 26 the faculty approved ten of the eleven names submitted for team membership by the Athletic Association. One student was declared not eligible “for not being attentive to class duty and smoking cigarettes,” and later in the semester four additional students were declared ineligible for academic reasons.

There are records of nineteen intercollegiate baseball games during the next seven years, of which Elon won eight and lost eleven. The Athletic Association arranged the schedules, and the faculty approved them. No doubt the cost of travel was a factor in scheduling games. Frequent opponents included teams from Guilford College and Bingham, Oak Ridge, and Whitsett Academies in adjacent counties. The teams were coached by player-coaches, enrolled students who usually received board and tuition in exchange for coaching sports.38 In May 1907 the Athletic Association petitioned the faculty for the appointment of an athletics coach and for a “Baseball Park.” President Emmett Moffitt responded quickly to both requests. Virgil Clayton Pritchette, a June 1907 graduate, joined the faculty as athletics director and instructor of physical science. That summer the college purchased four acres east of the campus between East College and Haggard Avenues—the present location of the Jimmy Powell Tennis Center. A baseball park and four tennis courts were built on the site, and in 1911 the baseball team led by Coach Bunn Hearn built a 200-seat grandstand and a bandstand at the park. For four seasons, from 1907 to 1910, Elon’s baseball teams were coached by manager-players who were not enrolled t he gr ov e of oa k s , 1889 – 19 1 1




William B. Wellons, a prominent Christian Church minister, was founder and first president of Suffol Collegiate Institute, which opened in 1872 in Suffolk, Virginia. Sponsored by the Eastern Virginia Asso ciation of the Southern Christian Church, Suffolk, like Graham College, was coeducational and offere college preparatory courses and two years of college study. At least six of the seventy-seven students who enrolled at Elon in September 1890 had studied at Suffolk. (Christian Annual, 1888, 31; Elon Colle Alumni News, March 1963, 3; Elon College Registration Book, 2–6.)

Professor Emeritus of History and University Historian George Troxler shares a sneak preview of From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University, a new book detailing the university’s history.


fter spending 40 years as professor of history and dean of cultural and special programs at Elon, George Troxler had one final assignment: create a book on the university’s history. While the request to write the book came years earlier, Troxler didn’t begin serious work on the project until 2009, when he took a yearlong sabbatical before retiring in 2010. Since then, he has spent countless hours studying primary materials and combing through thousands of photographs in the university’s archives to present a renewed historical perspective of the university. The result of his meticulous work can be found in From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University, a 376-page volume that comes out in March and includes more than 400 photographs and descriptive captions accompanied by narrative text divided into seven chapters. It expands the scope of Elon College: Its History and Traditions, Durward Stokes’s 1982 book about Elon’s first 90 years, and James Waggoner’s 1989 history of intercollegiate athletics, The Fighting Christians. Troxler provides insights on some of the pivotal events in Elon’s history and sketches of some of the remarkable individuals who have shaped the school. “I’ve looked forward to doing this,” he says. “We need a more current history and one published in a coffee-table book format, and I’ve always been interested in knowing more about Elon’s institutional growth.” Social and cultural concerns alter historians’ perspectives, causing them to ask new questions about the past, Troxler says. No matter the subject matter or time period, there is always a “lost period” between an individual’s memory and what they regard as history. Future generations, too young to remember the morning of 9/11, for instance, will have a different perception than those whose knowledge is drawn from their own memory. “So, too, future historians will view Elon’s transformation and growth during the past decade as a foundation for a future Elon that we cannot envision,” he says.

“a school in which candidates for the ministry can be educated.” On its recommendation, the convention authorized the committee to establish a theological department “in one of the schools or colleges now under the management of our people.” The conferences were to raise the funds to pay a professor’s salary and provide a suitable library. The convention elected William W. Staley, pastor of the Suffolk and Bethlehem churches in Virginia, as chair of theology and selected Suffolk Collegiate Institute as the school with which to connect the department. How the theological department at Suffolk functioned—for example, whether the conferences contributed the funds to support the position

Among the new details Troxler discovered while researching From a Grove of Oaks was the original name the founders considered for the school, and a better understanding of how difficult it was for a coeducational institution to survive, much less thrive, in late-19th century rural North Carolina. This is not the first time Troxler has delved into Elon’s past. He was instrumental in researching the history of two of Elon’s most important artifacts: the bell that hung in the Main Administration Building, which was destroyed during the 1923 campus fire; and the bell from Graham College, Elon’s predecessor institution, which is rung at the opening of every academic year. He also provided guidance for the creation of a historical exhibit highlighting milestones in the institution’s history as part of Elon’s quasquicentennial celebration, which opened during Homecoming weekend and will be on display again March 6-April 8 in commemoration of Founders Day. Troxler’s passion for Elon’s history recently earned him an appointment by President Leo M. Lambert as university historian. As a preview to the book, Troxler shares with The Magazine of Elon some of his key findings, which he hopes will give readers a greater appreciation for the history and heritage of the university. “I’m a historian; I believe you need to have an understanding of what went before in order to appreciate today’s developments,” he says. “Most of our unique programs and progress had their origins deeply rooted in the past.”

or whether Staley, who continued to ser two churches, offered classes—is not kn resigned as chair of theology in May 189 transferred the position to Elon College school that was to open at its new locatio Encouraged by the convention’s supp cal department, the committee on sch sought to consolidate the Christian Chur establish a single four-year institution o In 1887 the committee signed a three-ye the Graham Normal School property an the prewar name Graham College. Will

t he gr ov e of oa k s ,

{ George Troxler explains features of Elon’s 125th historical exhibit in November. Much of the exhibit is based on the research he conducted for From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University. }

winter 2014  15


rofessor P. J. Kernodle built his home on the northeast corner of Williamson and College Avenues, south of the present Elon Community Church sanctuary. Known as the West End Apartments, the house was used during the Smith administrat ion for faculty housing. After President Smith resigned as minister of Elon Community Church and moved from its parsonage in 1946, the Kernodle house was renovated to be the President’s Home. It continued to serve as the home of the president and his family during the first six years of the Danieley administrat ion, until the Danieleys moved in 1963 to the new president’s home on Haggard Avenue.

tion ll thAt remAineD of the Administra fire were Building after the January 18, 1923, college bell fell portions of the exterior walls. The recovered was It tower. the of through the four floors the rotunda of from the rubble and is on display in was preAlamance Building. The 1889 cornerstone The copper served and laid in the Alamance Building. was cornerstone the in cornerstone box encased censchool’s the during opened on March 16, 1989, 1989, 5.) Spring Elon, of tennial celebration. (Magazine


pl a N ElON’s 1923 l a Ndsc a pE plan for the campus as well as plans Herbert B. Hunter drew a landscape a brick wall surrounding the for five new buildings. The plan included that would limit automodriveways campus as well as new gates and The first brick was laid for the areas. bile traffic and parking to dedicated hall, in the spring of 1923, science the be southeast building, which was to in the July 24, 1924, Maroon appeared but when this copy of Hunter’s plan Christian Education building and the and Gold, the initial locations of the science building had been reversed.

Danieley took the helm of Elon only eleven years after the spring semester receiving his AB degree from the institution. As a native timore with their s of the area and a former Elon student, faculty member, and (daughter Jane woul dean, he brought a thorough knowledge of Elon College president’s home o to the office. He completed his postdoctor AttACks on T terrorist al work oF the ews during from the college’s w gathe campus as students and faculty were the ope fee, which had been planned to celebrate Ch arting a Cour sE University scheduled for the f Kentucky for Eastern ExCEll EnCE was to be re was ready to play, the football team Stability in Funding and Enrollment Lambert briefl uled to speak. Instead, President and As inco fac Elon’s endowment had grown to and Chaplain Richard McBrideindustry. led students, more than $600,000 would increasingl y do under President Smith, but financial prayer service that afternoon in the sanctuary stability still depended ted to a regular com upon a full enrollment. The limited day 10:40 a.m. classes were canceled and apatte cash flow often left Danieley emphasi Plaz 14, on Scott debt obligations overdue. In his third At noon on Friday, September monthly report to the ing and expanded the day of prayer Board of Trustees, Danieley said two led an observance of the national scheduled payments continued in his fac Hall, role were overdue on the loan received Monday evening in McKinnon lowing in 1955 from the Fedin th two attacks positions terrorist eral Housing and Home Finance Agency,philosophy discussed thecreated which had funded directl 1960 Elon Robert Baxter, touched a construction of Carolina and VirginiaThe September 11 tragedy Dorms. The payathletic degree Six varsity from Duke, be ments of $21,000 each had been due the attack on the Pentagon. in October 1956 andwhat would op thelate have been ment. Three years attacks, including March 1957. Danieley assured the trustees, 1, 6 “We are making 2001, rela director of13, September church tember 15. (Pendulum, efforts to arrange to take care of this delinquent account.”2 perintendent of the So New funding patterns would evolve during the Danietional Christian Chur ley years. In the early 1960s, the college depended heavily adopted a plan of ann on donations from two sources that om a gr ov e of oa k s 302 notfr would continue. alty Fund, which was e During the 1960–61 academic year, Elon received $30,724 in following May. During contributions from churches of the United Church of Christ tributed to the new Lo and $18,255 from the North Carolina Foundation of Church Loyalty Fund objective Related Colleges, a coalition of twenty-five schools in the renovate Duke Science state, which was supported by North Carolina business cation facilities.3


a Er i a l V iEW, CirC a 1960

This aerial photo of Elon College a few years after Earl Danieley became president displays the college’s original orientation, with Alamance (center) facing the railroad 1931 63 Lebanon Avenue crosses the south. i t y is c a st, 19 1 1 –on tograph, and Haggard the bottom of the phoiden t a n Avenue runs parallel to it near the top, effectively marking the northern extent of the The main entrance from Lebanon campus. Avenue and the parking circle between Lebanon Avenue and Alamance would be eliminated in 1965 with the groundbrea king for the Long Building. Elon’s 1923 architect, Herbert B. Hunter, had designed the academic quadrangle’ s north front as a mirror image of the Lebanon Avenue entrance on the south. Unfortunately, Hunter did not live to see the north face of his versatile design become the school’s new “front facing Haggard Avenue. In the spring door,” of 1959, North Dormitory was demolished ; it had stood in the open area between Duke and Haggard Avenue. The former dining hall was renovated and converted into a men’s residence 1958 and is visible to the east of Mooney. in The building would be renamed South Hall following the completion of McEwen Dining Hall. The power plant adjacent to the smokestack in the upper part of the picture is the site of present-day Belk Library. Photograph by James P. McGaughey


mov ing

Revisiting Elon’s history BY GEORGE TROXLER

Like most 19th century colleges, Elon’s origins lay within a religious denomination. A commitment to higher education sufficient to sustain a college was not ingrained within the congregations of the Southern Christian Convention, which established and governed Elon College. Most of the denomination’s churches were in farming communities and small towns, and supporting a college was difficult for rural congregations caught in the grip of the 1890s agricultural depression. After William S. Long was appointed president of the proposed college, he made repeated appeals in the Southern Christian Church’s weekly newspaper for a generous benefactor to name the college, but no naming donor was forthcoming. In March 1889, less than a week before the North Carolina legislature granted the school’s charter, the Provisional Board selected the name “Elon” for the college that would be built at Mill Point, a station on the Richmond and Danville Railroad between Burlington and Gibsonville. The college’s founders wanted the railway station and village to take the name of the college, and they dropped their first choice, “Bon Air,” because there was already a station on the railroad near Richmond at Bon Air, Va. There was strong prejudice against coeducation in the postCivil War South. When Elon opened in 1890 it was the second coeducational four-year college in North Carolina. The first, Guilford College, opened two years earlier. Public skepticism about teaching men and women in the same classroom was the context for numerous essays published by Elon faculty and students describing the advantages of coeducation and also for Elon’s strict social regulations and repeated assurances in the

16  the MAGAZINE of ELON

school’s advertisements that the school offered a “Curriculum Equal of Male Colleges.” The accolades and high national ranking achieved by Elon University in recent years are not the sudden marvels they may appear to be. The institution’s rise to national recognition has origins in its storied past. Elon’s history has been marked by crises, and the responses to these crises came to define the college’s character. To ensure that the school would open on schedule, Elon’s first president sold his family’s farm to buy building materials needed to complete the Administration Building. Students and others referred to the building as “The College,” because it housed the school’s classrooms, offices, library and auditorium.


On Thursday, Jan. 18, 1923, an early morning fire destroyed the Administration Building. Only one class day was lost. That afternoon students met in the gymnasium to learn where their classes would meet on Friday. The response to the fire became a metaphor that sustained the Elon spirit. When a new term opened seven months later, President William A. Harper used his opening address to assure faculty and students that, even if every building on campus had been destroyed, the “Elon Spirit” would “Phoenix-like arise from the moldering ruins to incarnate … in other buildings better suited to its needs.” For several years, the anniversary of the fire was observed as Greater Elon Day. Like Thanksgiving, Washington’s Birthday and Easter, Greater Elon Day was listed on the academic calendar as a school holiday when classes were canceled and special programs were scheduled. Loyalty and perseverance deepened with continued adversities. The financial crisis and decline in enrollment that affected

ceremony takes place he BlessiNg oF the ANiMAls on October 4 and has around the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi since Father Matthew Chadbeen celebrated on the Elon campus Some faculty, staff, and wick started it during his years at Elon. and students who do not students bring their pets to the ceremony, often bring pictures or stuffed have their animals living with them the animals can be represented animals representing their pets so Catholic campus minister for the blessing. The 2006 photo shows staff member Dee Dickerson Father Gerry Waterman and library with her chow, Jake.


r, and the Danieleys returned from Balsons Ned, age four, and Mark, age two ld be born in 1959). They moved into the spread though on 11, 2001, Williamson September Avenue Tuesday, directly across CofCollege weekly the for west Plaza gate. on Scott hering against Stadium Rhodes in ening football game band marching new Elon’s following Saturday. schedwas Seagraves Al ecognized, and Coach that morning, fly summarized what had happened prayer. The university held a insources and staff ome from culty, these declined, Elon Church, and the following depend of Elon Community on alumni and friends commit- Gym. Alumni in held was ide meeting mmunity-w ern of support. students, and Elon’s a cappella groups McBride, za, ized the need to increase annual givfolby President George W. Bush. The eproclaimed developmen t staff. William B. Terrell and from political science, religion, history, culty as alumni secretary, and the president East. of political conditions in the Middle context shewith responsibility for fundraising in died Boone ’05 . In Jason the father of sophomore ly; Elon an graduate who had earned a law because of the events were canceled or postponed cs ecame Elon’s first director Sepon Stadium of developpening football game in Rhodes er, William T. Scott Sr. was 8.) 6; Pendulum, September 20, 1,appointed ations. Scott had retired in 1960 as suouthern Convention of the Congregarches. In 1959 the Alumni Association nual giving to be known as the Loyendorsed by the Board of Trustees the g 1960–61, a total of $6,259 was conoyalty Fund. Danieley outlined three es for 1962: increase faculty salaries, e Building, and improve physical edu-

g forwa r d, 195 7– 19 73

has provided a priest the 1980s, and the Raleigh diocese Mathew Chadwick for the campus since 1988 when Father l came to Elon. In of the Order of Friars Minor Conventua Conv., who began his oFM Waterman Gerry 2009 Father than two hunmore that reported 2005, ministry at Elon in Mass celebrated in participated dred students regularly of Elon Communit y on Sunday evenings in the sanctuary were actively students Church, and between forty and fifty programming. In involved in Catholic Campus Ministry 1963 as the president’s June 2009 Holland House, built in where it was dedihome, was moved to the South Campus Newman Center. cated in September as Elon’s Catholic to be initiated within Efforts to honor diversity continue , formed in 1995–96, is the campus community. speCtruM transgender, and an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, It provides support to straight students, faculty, and staff. of educational and fellow students and sponsors a variety provide a better underand awareness raise to events social In 2009 Elon adopted a standing of the lgBt community. policy. Students who formal religious holiday observance Notification Form” and complete a “Religious Observance first week of class rethe during notify their instructors school activities to and ceive excused absences from classes faiths.66 observe the religious holidays of their were offered on the By 2011 a variety of worship services Sunday evening CathoElon campus. In addition to the Shabbat services lic services at Elon Communit y Church, meditation was offered were held on Friday evenings, Zen prayer services were on Thursday afternoons, and Jummah Truitt Center. Interheld on Friday afternoons, all in the Tuesday evenings. The varsity Christian Fellowship met on

Protestant worship Truitt Center sponsored an ecumenical and leAF (Luservice in Holt Chapel on Sunday mornings, held a Sunday evening therans, Episcopalians and Friends) Truitt Center’s website vesper service in Holt Chapel. The ns meeting regulisted fourteen religious life organizatio larly on campus.

Beyond the Classroom

listed 190 stuIn the fall of 2011, the Student Life website and sororities dent organizations on campus: 23 fraternities clubs and the Club and their 3 governing councils; 27 sports 8 service organizaSports Council; 14 religious groups; or clubs; 12 groups that tions; 74 academic honor societies es, lectures, and other sponsored a variety of performanc programs; and 7 vocal and dance ensembles. sponsored by sevFrequently, events and programs were the Night program, Back Take eral organizations. Elon’s organized candlelight working with a variety of sponsors, In 2008 the assault. marches to raise awareness of sexual / gender studies and program was presented by women’s and Transformation Elon Feminists for Equality, Change was joined by Alpha (eFFeCt). Three years later eFFeCt peer educators working Chi Omega sorority and a team of the event. with Student Life as cosponsors of sponsor multiple Some programming organizations events. Like dance events, while others focus on annual beginning in 2003, marathons at other schools, Elonthon, marathon to support is an annual twenty-four-hour dance the Children’s Miracle Network. withCOM Phi BETA affiliated hospitals K A PPA MONS managed by Elonthon’s executive committee, The Theevent moveisof Holland House to South Campus who secure organizations and individualsin June 2009 made possible the completion by student aided of a large brick plaza at the north end of the Academic Village quadrangle. With a capacity of about 1,700 people, the plaza became the new location for Elon’s weekly College Coffees. It was dedicated as the Phi Beta Kappa 303 1999 – 2 0 1 2 a pr ophec y f u l fil l ed, Commons at the College Coffee on the morning of April 13, 2010, coinciding with the installation of Elon’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter at the afternoon honors convocation. (Pendulum, July 29, 2009, 6; Magazine of Elon, Spring 2010, 21.)



for honors students on the second floor. The honors pavilion from the Belk Foundation of Charlotte. was dedicated as the William R. Kenan Belk’s son, CharJr. Honors Pavilion lotte businessman and philanthrop on October 15, 2003, in recognition ist Irwin Belk, and his of a 1.2-million-dollar wife, Carol Grotnes Belk, were major endowment grant from the William Elon donors. The paR. Kenan Jr. Charitable vilion provided offices for the Center Foundation, which established the for the Advancement Kenan Honors Fellowof Teaching and Learning, the general ships. In July 2006 the Board of Trustees studies program, the named the amphiOffice of Sponsored Programs, and theater in honor of Irwin Belk, who the writing-across-thehad donated $250,000 curriculum program. The religious to fund lighting improvements for studies and philosophy Rudd Soccer Field.81 departments moved to the Luvene The third building in the Academic Holmes and Royall H. Village was comSpence Pavilion, which honored trustee pleted in the summer of 2004. It provided emeritus Royall new offices and H. Spence ’42 of Greensboro and the classrooms for the Department of Political memory of his wife, Science and PubLuvene Holmes Spence ’43. lic Administration and a call center for the Elon University The 30,000-square-foot building that Poll. Trustee emeritus Elmon T. Gray would be the cenand his wife, Pamela terpiece of the Academic Village quadrangle opened in June Gray, of Waverly, Virginia, named the pavilion in memory of 2009. Made possible by a 2.5-millionhis grandparents, Ella Darden and dollar gift from Elon Elmon Lee Gray. parents Martha S. and Carl H. Lindner Ground was broken April 18, 2006, of Cincinnati, Ohio, for two additional paLindner Hall provided offices for Elon vilions that opened in June of the following College, the College year. The Wilof Arts and Sciences; the history liam Henry Belk Pavilion recalled and geography departthe founder of the Belk ment; and the sociology and anthropolo department store chain in recognition gy department.82 of a $500,000 gift

fr om a gr ov e of oa k s a pr ophec y f u l fil l ed, 1999 – 2 0 1 2


most schools during the Great Depression was more severe at Elon because of heavy debt incurred to rebuild after the fire. A future Phi Beta Kappa chapter would not have been imagined in December 1931 when Elon’s new acting president, Leon Edgar Smith, learned that the college would lose accreditation the following year, or by the faculty four years later when they agreed to accept a fraction of their unpaid salaries. Their acceptance of the agreement enabled the college to secure a loan and refinance its debt. The school was still struggling to regain students and financial stability when enrollment dropped again as students began leaving for service in World War II. Spartan Financial Management and a contract to host an Army Air Corps training program enabled the college to remain open through the war years. After 1945, an influx of veterans brought accelerated changes in campus life. During the next two decades, North Carolina’s community college system created two-year commuter colleges in Alamance and neighboring counties. Elon responded quickly by building more dormitories and creating new programs to enhance the residential college experience. Changes in social life on campus characterized decades of interplay between Elon College and the world beyond it, and the school was enlivened by campus episodes that embodied the stresses and joys of American college life, as well as the stresses and joys of late adolescence and early adulthood.


Distinctive new curriculum in the last decades of the 20th century, combined with further enhancement of student services and a campus beautification program, enriched campus life, attracting a growing applicant pool and greater financial support. In recent years, endowment has grown and funded

scholarships needed to attract a talented and diverse student body. An expanded study abroad program and new service learning, undergraduate research, leadership and internship programs have become integral parts of an Elon education. Residential life has been enriched by the creation of learning communities, an enhanced campus recreation program and new housing and dining options. Elon does not have a large endowment and has never received a single transformative financial gift to set it apart from similar colleges. Instead, the school was transformed from within, by a continuity of capable leadership and the engagement of faculty, trustees and alumni. A commitment to community, openness to new approaches and a penchant for planning and careful allocation of resources—all of which had been essential for survival during the lean years—became hallmarks, advancing the school into the 21st century. The mythological phoenix of antiquity, arising from its own ashes, emerged again in 2000 as the symbol of a new Elon. And so we ponder the harmonies and contrasts between the Elon of 2014 and the “Greater Elon” that Harper envisioned in 1923.

Order your copy of From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University before March 1 at the discounted pre-publication price of $29.95 (plus sales tax & shipping). Regular price after that date will be $39.95. Reserve a copy by visiting the Martin Alumni Center or online at

winter 2014  17



As interest in concussions has increased nationally, a partnership between academics and athletics at Elon has led to an interdisciplinary program focused on concussion assessment, research and safer return-to-play decisions. BY ROSELEE PAPANDREA


right lights and loud noises were painful for Carly Ledbetter ’13, and every time she opened a textbook, she found herself re-reading the same sentence. Although a high academic achiever with a good memory, Ledbetter found herself unable to retain simple information. The symptoms started after Ledbetter, a former Elon volleyball player, hit her head on the gym floor while diving for a ball during a practice drill in the fall of her senior year. “It felt like my neck snapped,” Ledbetter recalls. “I knew something was wrong instantly. When I got up, I couldn’t see.” Despite the obvious symptoms that she had sustained a concussion, Ledbetter, like a lot of student-athletes faced with the similar circumstances, tried to shake it off and pushed through the rest of the practice. But her problems persisted. “When I got home that night, I couldn’t read,” Ledbetter says. “I fell asleep for 14 hours. It’s the deepest sleep I have ever had. The next morning, we were leaving for a tournament, and I knew something was wrong.” What Ledbetter didn’t know at the time was that she had suffered one of the estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions the Centers for Disease Control predict occur on a given year from participation in sports- and recreation-related activities. Not surprisingly, concussions have received heightened attention in the media in recent years, especially as the number of federal lawsuits filed against the NFL and NCAA—that claim negligence in how the injuries have been handled—continue to grow. As interest in the topic has increased nationally, Elon University has been active in concussion research and education, a two-fold approach that has resulted in several viable campus and community initiatives, such as the ones that led to Ledbetter’s diagnosis and treatment.

{ Photo illustration: Jordan Cottle ’15, a member of the Elon BrainCARE team, wearing test gear. } winter 2014  19


Kelsey Evans ’13, an Elon basketball player and exercise science major, was Ledbetter’s roommate at the time of her injury. Evans was doing research with Elon BrainCARE— an interdisciplinary program that focuses on concussion assessment, research and education—and recognized the signs of a concussion in her roommate. Evans urged Ledbetter to report them to the volleyball’s team trainer, advice Ledbetter followed. The trainer asked Ledbetter to name the team they played the prior week to test her memory recall. “I couldn’t remember,” Ledbetter says. “It was really frightening. I couldn’t remember the simplest things.” As a result, Ledbetter started working with Eric Hall, Elon’s faculty athletic representative and a professor of exercise science who has taken a lead role in the university’s concussion research. The university received more than $30,000 in grants in 2011 and 2012 from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine to fund research and develop Elon BrainCARE, which includes faculty and student researchers from exercise science, physical therapy education, sports medicine, neuroscience and psychology, as well as sports medicine team physicians. The program’s unique multidimensional approach to concussion research has resulted

if certain genotypes make people more susceptible to concussion or influence recovery rates,” Hall says. “In general, we are looking at four genes. The ones that we are studying have suspected links directly to concussions or cognitive function, which is often impaired following concussions.” Elon started doing baseline concussion tests on athletes in football and men’s and women’s soccer four years ago. The testing expanded to include men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, softball, baseball and women’s lacrosse—the sports with the highest concussion rates. In the 2013–14 academic year, the goal was to do baseline Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, or IMPACT for short, on all first-year athletes. Hall expected that to be completed by the end of Winter Term with approximately 500 Elon athletes and 100 high school athletes receiving baseline testing. IMPACT is a standard computerized neurological assessment that requires participants to complete six tasks that measure visual and verbal memory, reaction time and visual motor processing speed. It takes about 30 minutes to complete. In addition to IMPACT, Elon BrainCARE does a deeper assessment, performing EEG (electroencephalography), balance tests and gait measurements. If an athlete gets a concussion, all those tests are

“The idea is to disengage in the first 48 hours. Your brain is injured.” Eric Hall, professor of exercise science and Elon BrainCARE faculty researcher

in targeted education and vital pre- and postconcussion assessments for student-athletes as well as high school football players in the surrounding area. “Student-athletes are central to our research project, but some of the data we collect can be used by the sports medicine staff to make good, safe return-toplay decisions,” Hall says. The goal of Elon’s research is to learn more about the impact concussions have on an athlete. There are still so many unanswered questions. Do the brains of people who have had a concussion differ from those who have not? What happens to an athlete after a concussion? If there are no longer symptoms, are there still long-term effects? Does it influence academic performance? Is there a way to make some sports safer? “We are doing some genetic testing to see

20  the MAGAZINE of ELON

performed again, usually within 48 hours of the injury. As of December, Elon BrainCARE had done post-concussion testing on about 60 athletes. “Post-concussion, we want them to be back to their norms,” Hall says. “It’s always better to have the baselines because it can be individualized to that person.” Those tests proved to be significant in Ledbetter’s recovery. She had a baseline concussion test as a junior. Even though she didn’t have bumps, bruises or any noticeable injury, she was benched and didn’t dress for a tournament the day after she was injured. Before the first game, she told her teammates she had sustained a concussion. “I felt like they didn’t believe me,” she says. “You can’t see a concussion so you don’t know whether someone really has one.”

In her desire to hurry her progress and return to the volleyball court she told Hall after only a few days rest that she felt fine. “I tried to rush it,” Ledbetter says. The results the IMPACT test provided gave a more accurate diagnosis. “I failed the concussion test four times over the course of two weeks.” The more Ledbetter pushed herself to perform, the longer it actually took for her brain to heal from the injury. “It had a pretty profound effect on her academically,” Hall says. “She put a lot of pressure on herself to get back to sports and academics.” In reality, cognitive rest is the best way to heal from a concussion. A majority of concussions resolve within seven to 10 days. “You need to disengage from things,” Hall says. “If not, you will prolong the symptoms. The idea is to disengage in the first 48 hours. Your brain is injured. We tell them no watching TV, no texting, no music and no reading. After 48 hours, we do cognitive testing to see if more cognitive rest is needed.” Disengaging was difficult for Ledbetter who continued to go to class and tried to keep up academically, hoping not to let her 3.8 GPA slide. Some of her professors understood her predicament. Others were more demanding. “I shouldn’t have been going to class,” she says. “It was taxing my brain. My injury happened in early September 2012, and I didn’t feel like myself until January.” In summer 2013, Elon BrainCARE developed general academic guidelines to aid in a student’s recovery process. Now when a student-athlete sustains a concussion, information is sent to the appropriate faculty members along with a letter explaining why the student will need to miss class for 48 hours or longer if symptoms don’t decrease. A student would never be medically cleared to play before returning to academics, although sometimes the two occur simultaneously. Concussions are considered a functional, rather than structural, injury. One of the biggest future impacts from the injury is not recovering from it. “It’s why faculty need to understand why a student isn’t in class,” Hall says. “They are injured, and they are better off if they don’t come to class.”


Since 2010 Elon follows the concussion protocol outlined in the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook, which requires any athlete suspected of having a concussion to suspend activity for at least 24 hours. Once an athlete no longer has typical concussion symptoms, such as headache, nausea, double or blurry vision, dizziness and sensitivity to light and

{ Kelsey Evans ‘13, left, administers a balance test to a high school athlete in 2012 as part of the Elon BrainCARE program. }

noise, IMPACT is given again. If athletes pass the test, they gradually work their way back, beginning with light cardio activity, says Eric Storsved, Elon’s head athletic trainer. “We want to see if any of the symptoms come back,” he says. “It’s a day-by-day process. If they still have symptoms, we wait until there are no symptoms. If they don’t have symptoms, they move to weight training or sports drills. If they have no symptoms after that, they can get back into noncontact practice for a period of time and it keeps progressing from there.” Only after athletes make it through a full practice without symptoms they are cleared for competition. Playing through the pain was a common practice on the football field for Olufemi Lamikanra ’12, a former Elon defensive lineman. Every play meant contact. “You were always going head to head,” he says. Headaches were just a part of football. “I’m sure I’ve had a lot of mild concussions, but I never had a recorded one. The mentality was you don’t want to be looked at as weak. If you were more prone to a concussion and the guy behind you wasn’t, let’s play him. No one wanted to lose his spot.” Over the course of his football career, Lamikanra, who is earning his MBA at Elon, watched some attitudes change once Elon BrainCARE started doing baseline testing and concussion education became more of a

priority. “If you had any type of symptoms, the trainer made you sit out,” Lamikanra says. “If you reported it, you would sit out. But if you didn’t, you could play.” For a student-athlete, making the choice between playing and sitting out is still difficult, even knowing the danger concussions pose. During the four years Arayael Brandner ’13 played basketball at Elon, she had four reported concussions. An elbow to the head during a box-out drill her junior year left the power forward with a huge lump to the forehead and a concussion. She was benched for two weeks. She doesn’t recall the details of how she received her fourth concussion during her senior year. It didn’t leave her with any outward sign that she was injured, but her symptoms were more intense. Still, as she sat on the sidelines cringing at the bright lights and the sounds of the whistles and horns, she struggled to acknowledge that she was injured. “When you look at an injured player, you look for a cast or a boot,” Brandner says. “People think, ‘Oh, you hit your head. That’s not that serious.’ It’s a tough injury to carry because it’s something people can’t physically see.” Head primary care sports medicine team physician Dr. Kirtida Patel told Brandner that because there are still so many unknowns

about the impact concussions have on the brain, she needed to think seriously about continuing to play after sustaining four concussions. “I never realized it was something that could take a player out of the game,” Brandner says. In January of her senior year, Brandner left the team and didn’t participate in the last Southern Conference Tournament of her career. “I didn’t play on senior night,” she says. “I didn’t dress for that. That’s a moment you wait for. That was difficult. There were a lot of monumental moments that I didn’t get to participate in my senior year.” But she had to think about her future. “It wasn’t worth it,” says Brandner, now an Elon alumni engagement officer. “I wasn’t going to be a professional basketball player. I had other dreams. As time passes, you look back and wonder if you could have toughed it out, but I think it was a really smart decision.” Evans, one of Brandner’s teammates at the time, didn’t hesitate to share concussion information with other athletes so they could make more educated decisions about their health. While at Elon, Evans presented concussion research at three conferences and as an athlete understood the tendency to want to play through the pain—a mindset that is extremely dangerous with a head injury. “As an athlete, you obviously want to play,” she says. “You want to push through things. You

winter 2014  21

have people depending on you. Knowing what I know about concussions, the last thing you want to do is play through it. The brain is so sensitive.” Evans is working on her master’s degree in kinesiology at Georgia Southern University and is a graduate research assistant in a biomechanics lab doing concussion testing. She is considering pursuing a dual program where she can earn a medical degree and doctorate at the same time. She aspires to one day be a team physician who specializes in treatment of concussions. “I’m very interested in where this research is going to go,” Evans says. “Every year we are finding out new stuff. It will be interesting to see what changes are made in the next 10 years.”


As more information about the impact head injuries can have becomes more readily available, college athletes are taking notice. “I think that athletes are definitely more


educated on concussions,” Storsved says. “With all the talk on ESPN about NFL lawsuits, everybody understands that concussions are a big deal and that if you don’t take care of concussions, there are ramifications that are long term and disabling.” Several former NFL players have been diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) after their deaths. The neuro-degenerative disease is thought to be caused in part by repeated subconcussive blows. Statistics also show that female athletes have a higher rate of concussions, especially in sports such as soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Despite a soccer player’s propensity to head the ball, it’s not usually when concussions occur, says Darren Powell, Elon’s head men’s soccer coach. “Player collision is by far the biggest reason,” Powell says. “It’s a clashing of heads or a boot to the head as opposed to a ball hit.” Football players are taught to never drop



Football • 37% Women’s soccer • 12%

Women’s basketball • 9%

Men’s basketball • 7%

Men’s soccer • 7% Softball • 4% Men’s lacrosse • 4% Wrestling • 3% Baseball • 3% Men’s ice hockey • 3% Women’s lacrosse • 3%

their heads and if they do, they are pulled aside. NCAA posters that outline specific— and safer ways to hit—hang in the men’s locker room, Storsved says. “The most common time that I see concussions occur is when the student-athletes don’t see the hit coming and can’t brace themselves,” he adds. Changes have been made to helmets and other protective gear, but regardless of whether it’s a collision sport, such as football, or another sport that is traditionally considered noncontact, an athlete is always at risk of sustaining a concussion. The battery of tests Elon performs on all its athletes combined with close post-concussion monitoring as well as efforts to educate athletes, trainers, coaches and faculty about the importance of proper diagnosis and recovery remains an essential part of keeping athletes safe. “We know more about concussions as a result of diagnosing them more,” Hall says. Concussions don’t show up on common neuroimaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans. “It’s a very invisible injury,” Evans says. “It’s all based on symptoms and the assessment tests, which is why it’s so tricky.” One person might recover from the injury in 24 hours. For others, it might take three months for symptoms to disappear. “The saying is ‘when you’ve seen one concussion, you’ve seen one concussion’ because everyone is so unique,” Hall says. “The key is to have as many tools as possible to help make better and safer decisions for student-athletes.” Ledbetter struggled both physically and emotionally as she grappled with the effects of her injury. Now a marketing coordinator for Red Ventures in Charlotte, N.C., Ledbetter wanted to graduate from Elon summa cum laude, but the two B’s she received the semester she was recovering from her concussion brought her GPA down to a 3.68. The experience left her hoping more will be done in the future so other studentathletes will have an easier time coping. “I wouldn’t wish a concussion on anyone,” she says. “As an athlete you are expected to give 110 percent every day. That’s our attitude. That’s what your teammates expect from you. When someone has a concussion, it’s perceived as something very different. It’s no one’s fault but more understanding and education is something that is needed.”

Women’s volleyball • 3% Other • 5% * National estimate for collegiate sports only. Source: NCAA

22  the MAGAZINE of ELON

For more information about Elon BrainCARE visit


The opening of Elon’s Martin Alumni Center in the heart of campus is one of many efforts by the Office of Alumni Engagement to help alumni stay connected with their alma mater. BY KEREN RIVAS ’04


he Elon Edith Brannock ’39 remembers is not quite the same as the one she encountered during a visit to campus on Homecoming weekend. The house at the corner of Haggard and North O’Kelly avenues is no longer called the Rich house, as it was known for many years. Yet the moment Brannock stepped inside the building, which now houses Elon’s Martin Alumni Center, she felt at home. “I’ve known the history of the house and it was different stepping inside, but I had a sense of peace,” Brannock recalls. “Who would have ever thought that small house would become what it is now? It’s unbelievable.” One of the few older houses still standing on Elon’s campus, the property once belonged to Brannock’s neighbors, Minnie Allene Patton Rich, a member of the Class of 1911, and husband Algier Lloyd Rich. The house officially became part of the campus in 1987. Since then it has housed different offices and last summer, after extensive renovations made possible by a gift from Chris ’78 P’13 and Nicolette Martin P’13, it was transformed into the Martin Alumni Center, a new welcome facility for alumni. It features spacious reception and gathering areas, inviting porches and terraces, a catering kitchen and offices for alumni engagement staff. “It’s a great place for alumni,” says Cynthia Tew ’77, Brannock’s friend, former pupil and sorority sister who accompanied her during the visit. “Elon continues to make great progress each year listening to the needs of alumni and making the alumni experience terrific.” Addressing the needs of alumni was the driving force behind the creation of the alumni center. That focus extends to many other outreach programs the Office of Alumni Engagement has launched as part of a multifaceted plan to build a vibrant alumni

network. “There was a need for our alumni to have a ‘home base’ when they arrive on campus,” says Durice White ’09, associate director of alumni engagement, “a place where they can meet and learn more about the university, receive a personalized tour based on their Elon experiences and have the same benefits we all enjoyed as students.”

A new home

For Kebbler Williams ’98, an Elon trustee who spoke during the building’s dedication ceremony in November, the center sends the message to alumni that they are important, valued and a priority to the university. “Each

time I return to this campus and see all the familiar faces, I am welcomed in the way that old friends commonly greet each other,” she said during her remarks. “It is as though I have entered a place that is truly magical. I feel very at home on this campus, and I am thrilled that my fellow alumni now have a dedicated space in a prominent location to call home.” Sarah ’09 and Christian ’10 Funkhouser visited the center in the fall together with Christian’s college roommate, Greg Galante ’08. They had returned to campus to participate in a career fair and recruit students for their companies, AppNexus and Google. winter 2014  23

“As President Lambert often says, our alumni are not about the university’s past but a part of its future. Alumni involvement makes a difference between a good university and a great one.” John H. Barnhill ‘92, assistant vice president for university advancement

They had heard about the new center at the Evening for Elon event in New York, where they live, and were excited to visit. “It was very ‘Elon,’” Sarah Funkhouser says of the experience. “The staff were very welcoming and we were given a tour of the campus. It was very cool to see all the new buildings that were going up.” And although she was saddened that her firstyear residence hall, Chandler, is no longer there, she says it was great to see the growth of the campus. “The student tour guide made the difference,” Galante says, adding that it reminded him of his days as a student. “The tour was very welcoming and a great way to show the new parts of campus without feeling lost or overwhelmed. It was like we were home.” Reconnecting alumni with their alma mater and making sure they are attuned with new developments is the goal of the personalized tours, says John H. Barnhill ’92, assistant vice president for university advancement. “We want to make sure alumni feel fully a part of the university,” he

24  the MAGAZINE of ELON

adds. “As much as we want them to engage with Elon where they are through different programming, we also want them to come back.” In the first four months since it opened, nearly 800 alumni visited Martin Alumni Center. Many of those visitors also came to see their personalized bricks, which were offered exclusively to alumni during the 2013 “Pave the Way” campaign and are being installed in the terrace and pathways surrounding the building. Besides taking a tour of the center, alumni can also watch a special video produced by Tim Johnson ’09 and Max Cantor ’10 highlighting alumni across many generations. “We wanted to provide a tool for alumni to reminisce about their Elon experience,” Barnhill says.

A lifelong connection

Whether it’s by attending an event, volunteering, making a gift or networking online, more alumni than ever are reconnecting with their alma mater, Barnhill says. In 2013 a record 3,553 alumni registered for Homecoming

weekend. By comparison, during the 2012-13 year, roughly 2,200 attended one or more events on campus and around the country. Attendance at regional programs, such as the Evening for Elon events, has also increased and more than 1,100 alumni joined the Elon Network on LinkedIn during the second part of 2013, bringing the total number of members to 6,423 by the end of the year. The latter number is a direct result of recent efforts to foster lifelong learning and support the professional development of alumni. The university launched a nine-part career webinar series in November and held events in more than 30 cities as part of the 2014 National Networking Event Series. “Elon alumni are a valuable partners, advocates and investors,” Barnhill says. “As President Lambert often says, our alumni are not about the university’s past but a part of its future. Alumni involvement makes a difference between a good university and a great one.” Maintaining a balance between the institution’s past and future makes for a unique alumni experience. When Brannock visited the Martin Alumni Center, she brought a photo of the Richs to give to the alumni staff as a tribute to the building’s past. The photo now sits on the center’s mantelpiece. “It means a lot to me because of the history of the house,” she says of the building. “I’m thankful that it has a new purpose.” As fate would have it, Brannock was the 125th person to visit the center, a fitting milestone during Elon’s quasquicentennial year for someone whose family ties to the university go back generations—the O’Kelly Monument was built in honor of her greatgreat-great-grandfather, James O’Kelly, who founded the Christian Church in the South, and Brannock Hall is named after her father, Ned Faucette Brannock, a longtime chemistry professor at Elon. “I think the center will mean more and more to us alumni as time goes by,” Brannock says. “It gives us a core. It brings us together because it is ours.”

>>A lumni engagement by the numbers Below are some figures from the 2012-13 Annual Report of Alumni Engagement. To read the full report, visit




{ { {

Elon’s alumni volunteer roster 2011–12

543 alumni


700 alumni Membership in The Elon Network on LinkedIn 2011–12

251=  90% increase 251+279= 2,790



Elon’s alumni donor base 2011–12

220+699= 220+33699 + +192= 4,699 donors

$2,330,309 in donations


5,439 donors

15% increase 

$2,973,200 in donations

28% increase 

winter 2014  25




hat an exciting year 2013 was for alumni! In November, Elon hosted its largest Homecoming in history featuring a new tailgating experience and a special 125th anniversary event. We are thankful to the alumni engagement and university advancement teams, as well as the many milestone reunion volunteers whose strong contributions made for a successful quasquicentennial Homecoming celebration. You can read more details about the events from that weekend in this edition of The Magazine of Elon. Elon truly made alumni a priority this past year. The Martin Alumni Center, Elon’s new campus home for alumni, opened in the fall. A dedication ceremony during the Homecoming festivities drew many alumni who, as part of the “Pave the Way” campaign, had reserved a brick for installation on the terrace and pathways surrounding this new facility. Whether you have a brick or not, we encourage you to stop by during your next visit to campus and enjoy the many amenities available just for you. Alumni also returned to campus for Fall Convocation, when 125 Elon alumni representing 125 years of Elon history processed into Alumni Gym as part of the Long Maroon Line. Across the country, regional events saw record growth, with the Evening for Elon event in New York City bringing more than 650 alumni, parents and friends to The Plaza Hotel. The 2014 National Networking Event Series was also a success, attracting more than 1,000 attendees in more than 30 cities nationwide. I want to personally thank all the volunteers whose time, energy and passion made these achievements possible. Your commitment and dedication is an integral part of the university’s success. One of the best ways for alumni to stay connected is by returning to campus and being involved. The hope of the Elon Alumni Board is that you continue to engage with and invest in your alma mater. You can expect great things from us in the new year, and we look forward to continue celebrating our alumni successes with you. Happy New Year to all! Julia Strange Chase ’84 P’13 President, Elon Alumni Board

26  the MAGAZINE of ELON

Alumni recognized during Elon’s 125th Homecoming Anniversary Celebration Seven exemplary alumni were recognized Nov. 8 with the 2013 Alumni Awards for their professional success, community engagement and loyal support of Elon as partners, advocates and investors during Homecoming Weekend. Honored were:

{ l-r: Jonathan Chapman ‘07, Britten Ginsburg Pund ‘06, Darris Means ‘05, Tracey Helton Lewis ‘93 P’10, William “Bill” E. Gortney ‘77 & Lindsey Goodman Baker ‘04 }

»» U.S. Navy Adm. William “Bill” E. Gortney ’77, Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award. The son of a retired U.S. Navy captain, Gortney is the commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces. He has received several accolades for his military service, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star. »» Tracey Helton Lewis ’93 P’10, Distinguished Alumna of the Year Award. An accomplished school administrator, Lewis’ dedication and service has earned her many awards and recognitions, including being nominated for the 2012-13 Surry County Schools (N.C.) Principal of the Year. A loyal supporter of Elon, Lewis is the president of the Elon Black Alumni Network. »» Darris Means ’05, Young Alumnus of the Year Award. In his role as associate director of the Elon Academy—Elon’s college access and success program—Means, a 2012 recipient of Elon’s Top 10 Under 10 Alumni Awards, has guided more than 100 high school seniors through the college admission process and provided support for more than 80 students after their college admittance. »» Britten Ginsburg Pund ’06, Young Alumna of the Year Award. As senior manager for the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors’ Health Care Access Program, Pund works to ensure low income, under and uninsured individuals living with HIV/AIDS nationwide have access to care and treatment. At Elon, she has served as a member of and president for the Young Alumni Council. »» The Rev. Jonathan Chapman ’07, Service to Church and Society Award. The grandson of a Southern Baptist preacher, Chapman was called to serve at Westfield Congregational Church, a historic church in northeast Connecticut, in fall 2012, where he is implementing innovative programs to boost attendance and increase involvement. »» Natasha Christensen ’07, Alumni Service Award (in absentia). In her position as a senior subject matter expert/governance analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense’s International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Christensen recently completed a volunteer yearlong forward deployment in Afghanistan supporting ISAF/NATO operations. »» Lindsey Goodman Baker ’04, Distinguished Service to Elon Award. Baker has worked tirelessly as part of the Washington, D.C., Alumni Chapter, first as president for four years and more recently as a board member. She often returns to campus to address leadership summits, participate in alumni board meetings and advise students. The awards, formerly known as the Elon Alumni Association Awards, are the highest accolades conferred by the Office of Alumni Engagement and have been presented annually to alumni and friends of Elon since 1941. Online nominations are being accepted for the 2014 Alumni Awards. For more information, visit




ore than 3,500 Elon alumni returned to campus Nov. 8–10 to take part in Elon’s quasquicentennial Homecoming celebration, making it the largest Homecoming to date. The festivities kicked off Friday with the 125th Anniversary Celebration and Alumni Awards Ceremony that honored seven distinguished alumni award recipients. The event also recognized class and affinity groups that celebrated milestone reunions by raising more than $1.4 million in gifts to the university (read more on page 8). A brand new tailgating experience welcomed back Phoenix fans as they gathered on Hunt Field to get ready for the Saturday football game. It provided a festive atmosphere with live music, dancing, festival games, a photo booth, caricature artists and more. Alumni were also able to visit a special 125th anniversary exhibit that offered details about institutional milestones, historic photos, a “then-and-now” campus map, and a feedback board where visitors shared messages describing what they love about Elon. “One of our favorite memories is walking by Fonville Fountain on our way to and from class,” wrote Scott ’09 and Kim ’08 Leighty. “This was where we got engaged in January of 2012. Elon holds a very special place in our hearts for countless reasons.” To see more photos from the weekend, including many submitted via social media, see the inside back cover.

Other highlights from the weekend include: The Elon Black Alumni Network celebrated the accomplishments of black alumni, students and faculty at its Nov. 9 annual Black Alumni Scholarship Gala, which also celebrated 50 years of black students attending Elon. Ruby Thornton ’99 was honored with the Gail Fonville Parker ’70 Distinguished Alumna Award; Darryl Smith ’86 received the Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award; and Elon Associate Professor of English Prudence Layne was awarded the K. Wilhelmina Boyd Outstanding Service to Students Award. Three outstanding members of the Elon community were honored for their positive contributions to the LGBTQIA community with the LGBTQIA Community Enrichment Awards during a Nov. 10 event. Honored were Mark Gustafson ’04, Cecelia Thompson ’05 and Elon Associate Professor of Religious Studies Lynn R. Huber.


Homecoming 2014 » October 17–19

winter 2014  27

Las Vegas, Norfolk, Va., San Francisco, Wilmington, N.C., and Fair Haven, N.J. For more information on the series, visit

this year included Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Conn., Jacksonville, Fla.,

held in 30-plus cities, from Boston to Orlando to Los Angeles. New locations

participated Jan. 21-Feb. 6 in the 2014 National Networking Event Series. Events were

Thanks to the more than 1,000 alumni, parents and mentors across the country that

National Networking Event Series a success

Jefferson Hotel.

4. R  ichmond: Alumni celebrated the season during a holiday party on Dec. 5 at the

Coach Rich Skrosky during a pre-game social.

basketball team Dec. 17 as the Phoenix faced Georgetown, and many met new football

3. W  ashington, D.C.: Hundreds of alumni and friends cheered on the men’s

annual “Tacky Holiday Sweater” social.

2. N  ew York City: Chapter members got into the holiday spirit Dec. 10 during their

it faced UCLA during the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 24.

1. L os Angeles: Alumni came in full force to cheer on the Elon men’s soccer team as

Chapter happenings





update your information at to receive information about upcoming events in your area.

If you have recently moved or changed jobs, make sure to

Keep Elon in the know

also visit

information will be provided in the coming weeks. You can

to create their own events with family and friends. More

hosting several service events. Alumni are also encouraged

service and chapters and clubs around the country will be

April marks the Office of Alumni Engagement’s month of


• Charlotte, N.C. – May 8 • Denver – May 27

• Raleigh, N.C. – Feb. 13 • Los Angeles – March 27

For more information about Evening for Elon or other alumni events sponsored by the university, contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at (336) 278-7500 or toll-free (877) 784-3566.

• Boston – April 9

{ Baltimore }

• Charleston, S.C. – Feb. 6

{ New York }

{ Washington, D.C. }

alumni and parents this spring in the following cities:

by Tim Johnson ’09 and Max Cantor ’10. Elon looks forward to connecting with more

update from President Leo M. Lambert and watched the new Elon alumni video produced

Greensboro, N.C., and Atlanta. Guests networked with others in their area, heard an

Elon events in Dallas, New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore,

In the fall, more than 1,300 Elon alumni, parents and friends attended Evening for

Spring Evening for Elon lineup



Mary Ellen M. Evans is now

living at the Laurel Crest Continuing Care Retirement Community in West Columbia, S.C., where she plays the piano for Bible study and works in the gift shop. Her favorite Elon memory is the Tau Zeta Phi sorority banquet she attended her first year. “I was head-over-heels in love with my Kappa Psi Nu escort,” she recalls. “I wore a dress from ‘Gone with the Wind’ and closed the enchanted evening with an Elon kiss.” Among the people who made her Elon experience special are Professor John W. Barney 1910; Mary R. Moore, the housemother at the Oak Lodge; all her Tau Zeta sisters; Jean Hook Harrell, the first person she met at Elon; Nell Crenshaw Braxton, her best friend for life; roommate Martha McDaniel; and Kappa Psi members Miller Basnight, Ed Watts ’43 and Nelson Snyder. To students she says, “Treasure each day now and become involved in life, whatever your future holds.”


Nancy Keck Ginnings Kelley

fondly remembers walking from chapel to the grill for lunch

as a student. She is thankful for the people, including J. Earl Danieley ’46 and her art teacher, and experiences, such as music appreciation, that marked her time at Elon. She encourages students to attend as many campus events as possible.

people who made his Elon experience special. His advice to students is to “study hard, play hard, honor God, be honest, love others.”


Wayne F. Vestal is retired and


Carolyn Louise Long Beane

was voted the 2013 Woman of the Year by the American Business Women’s Association. Though now retired, Carolyn remains active with the Civitan Club, Red Hat Society, garden club and church activities. She has many fond Elon memories, including the people who impacted her college career, such as her New Testament professor and Mrs. Hardy, her dorm housemother for whom she worked. She advises students to study and work hard and use their degrees for the good of their communities.

volunteering at a hospital, playing golf, singing in his church choir, traveling and enjoying his grandchildren. His favorite Elon memory includes living in East Dorm with students from diverse places and backgrounds. Among the people who made his college experience special are professors Dr. Horace Cunningham, Dr. J. Earl Danieley ’46, John Westmoreland ’41 and Jason Sox. He enjoys reading and seeing the tremendous growth Elon has experience since he graduated, and encourages students to take advantage of the many opportunities Elon offers.


Richard C. Thompson is liv-


Ikey Tarleton Little, retired


Robert F. McLean retired

ing in a retirement home and attending classes for World War II veterans. He says Elon gave him a successful start in life and considers Professor Horace Cunningham,

A HOMECOMING TO REMEMBER Homecoming Weekend 2013 was particularly special for Paul Amundsen ’69. Besides commemorating his alma mater’s quasquicentennial anniversary, it also happened to fall on his birthday. To make it even more memorable, Paul decided to marry Jean Fancy during a small ceremony in front of Fonville Fountain. The wedding began as the clock on Alamance Building tolled 10 a.m. on Nov. 9, with assistant chaplain Adam MillerStubbendick officiating. “Elon is where my roots are,” Paul said. “This was a very special day and a true Homecoming.” Alumni in attendance included Charlie VanLear ’68, Kaye Savage Schroeder ’69, Mike Spillane ’69 and Sarah Haynes Marshall ’72. After the ceremony, the wedding party attended a pre-game tailgate hosted by Jay ’71 and Amy ’69 Hendrickson at Latham Park. Paul and Jean met in Tallahassee, Fla., but recently relocated to Delaware, where Paul is the environmental and safety director and legal counsel for a Philadelphia-based petroleum refinery. The couple are members of the Phoenix Club and Elon Society, and Paul has served on Elon’s National Alumni Executive Board and is a member of the Board of Visitors.

30  the MAGAZINE of ELON

Dean Alonzo L. Hook 1913 and J. Earl Danieley ’46 as some of the

at age 46 after 25 years at IBM, is now a semi-retired owner of Little Ranch, a 51-acre strawberry farm. She fondly recalls being called by her first name on her first day as a junior transfer by Dr. J. Earl Daniely ’46 and says Mel Wooton in the drama department, business professor William Reece and Dean Marjorie Hereford also made her Elon experience special. She says that since an anonymous person paid for her education, she’s giving back by sponsoring two scholarships and leaving a charitable remainder trust to benefit Elon when she passes. To Elon students she says, “Pay yourself first. This means save and invest for your future. Best rule of thumb is 10 percent ‘off the top.’ It will hurt at first, but if you spend it all, your retirement future will be lost.” after four years as a high school teacher and football coach and 41 years in the insurance business. He’s proud to be a member of the 1957 undefeated Elon football team and is thankful that his college experience changed his life for the better. Among the people who marked his time at Elon are his roommate and teammate Charlie Maidon ’63, football coach Sid Varney, Dr. J. Earl Danieley ’46 and countless professors. As a member of the “Varney Boys,” he makes regular contributions to


TURN YOURSELF IN! – ONLINE AT – Help us keep you in touch with your classmates at Elon.

his alma mater in honor of Coach Varney. He encourages students to rely on these locker room slogans from his days as an athlete when they need to get pumped-up and back on track: “It’s OK to give out, but never to give up;” “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going;” “Any ‘old nag’ can start the race, but only thoroughbreds finish;” and “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Edward C. Wilson and wife Nancy Hudson Wilson are both retired and grateful to have been part of the Long Maroon Line of alumni during Elon’s Fall Convocation in October. Edward says they are amazed that Dr. J. Earl Danieley ’46 can still call them by name and appreciate Jim and Faye ’61 Humphrey, who keep in touch with those alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. “We remain grateful for what the school means to our family,” he says. Both their children, Michael E. Wilson ’83 and Suzanne A. Wilson ’86, are Elon alumni. To students he says, “As you make a living, seek to make a life.”


Margaret Kimball Darling is

a semi-retired Walmart sales associate and says her favorite Elon memory is Homecoming and the Senior Oak tree. She says professor of English W. Jennings Berry Jr. ’50, Jim Humphrey ’60, who officiated her wedding, and his wife, Faye, all played a role in making her Elon experience special. She remembers the school’s close-knit community and professors always willing to help students succeed. Her advice to students is to “stay close and keep in contact with your university

friends. They will always be there to keep you on track.” Clyde Lee Fields Jr. is enjoying retirement. His favorite Elon memory is taking organic chemistry with Dr. J. Earl Danieley ’46, who together with Dr. Ferris Reynolds and Sherrill Hall ’55 made his college years special. He encourages students to “strive to graduate, study hard with the goal of succeeding in life.” Howard Little Jr. and wife Anne have camped in every state in the Union, as well as Newfoundland, since he retired in 1994. He was a member of the Chemistry Club as a student and fondly remembers Professor of Chemistry Paul Cheek, Dr. Alonzo L. Hook 1913 and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Edward Epperson.


James S. Holmes, married to Nancy R. Holmes, is retired from Burlington Industries after 41 years of service. His favorite Elon memories surround playing baseball and being a member of the Kappa Psi Ni Fraternity. He is still connected to his Elon days through Tyrone ’66 and Carolyn Wright ’64 McDuffie, with whom he still associates closely through church and Sunday school class. His advice to Elon students is to plan for their own future and not depend on others. Now retired

Walter Leonard “Lennie” Riddle

volunteers at Halifax Regional Hospital. He fondly remembers how Elon used to be small enough “you knew everybody by name,” and those who made his college time special: Dr. John D. Sanford, coach and professor in the health and physical education department, and classmates Dick More, Phyllis Hopkins Morningstar, Sandra Neighbors Shull, Dick Purdy ’63, Jerry Drake ’63 and Gail Hettel LaRose ’64. Lennie

attends many athletic games and financially supports both the athletic and academic programs. To students he says, “Make anyone and any place better because you are there.”


Jerry L. Drake is now retired

as the founder of Affordable Dentures Dental Laboratories Inc. His favorite memory of Elon is playing varsity baseball. He says Dr. J. Earl Danieley ’46, Dr. John Sanford, Dick More ’62, Lennie Riddle ’62 and Dick Purdy were some of the people that made his Elon experiences special. He

{ Elon Professor Alonzo L. Hook 1913 works with a student in a lab in the early 1960s. }

CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITIES CAN PROVIDE INCOME FOR LIFE a charitable gift annuity of $10,000 or more to Elon will guarantee a fixed income for the rest of your life. With market interest rates near historic lows, a gift annuity is an attractive way to increase your income and make a gift to Elon at the same time. You will receive immediate tax benefits and can defer capital gains. The payment rate of a charitable gift annuity depends on your age at the time of the gift—the older you are, the higher the rate.

rates as of january 1, 2012 ONE BENEFICIARY






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Annuity rates are subject to change. The annuity rate remains fixed once your gift is made.

To calculate a gift annuity for you, your spouse or a family member, visit Talk with us today about how you may benefit from a life income gift to Elon and other gift planning opportunities. please contact: Carolyn DeFrancesco, Director of Planned Giving (336) 278-7454 ■ ■

winter 2014  31


still enjoys following Elon baseball and visiting campus to witness Elon’s growth and progress. To students, he says, “Elon will offer you the opportunity to learn the basics in your chosen fields, but you will have to learn to lead yourself before you can become a leader of others in your chosen career path.”


Joe Foley is happy to an-

nounce his firm, Foley Federal & International Affairs Inc., which represents an array of interests in Washington, D.C., New York and southeast Europe, recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He says it’s been “a long haul,” but loyal clients, legislative friends and talented trade associates have contributed to the company’s success and longevity. He adds that his history degree from Elon has also paid off. For

more information on his firm, visit

manager in Crofton, Md. The family lives in New Market.



Angie McNeill Walston, as-


Taffey Tawanna Champion


Dana Crothers Obrist visited

Ernest Lee Steele and his Positively Paranormal’s investigation team were featured in the latest issue of Thrive Magazine. Thrive is published by The Asheboro Courier Tribune News in Asheboro, N.C. Ernest is case manager, research specialist and colead investigator at the company. He lives in Graham, N.C.


Bryant Colson, married to Karen F. Colson, was elected


J. Dennis Bailey was one

president of the Orange County (N.C.) Rape Crisis Center’s Board of Directors at its September annual general meeting. Colson has served at the board since 2008 and also held roles as its vice president and diversity committee chair. He lives in Hillsborough.

of seven attorneys with Wall Esleeck Babcock LLP who were selected by their peers to be included in the 2014 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, which is regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Dennis, who has been included in the guide since 2006, is listed in the Medical Malpractice LawDefendants and Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants categories. Joe Foley ’71

Angie McNeill Walston ’96

Taffey Tawanna Champion ’97


Jay Paul was named National Insurance Marketplace Innovator of the Year by National Underwriter Magazine for his development and marketing of an insurance coverage called “Balance for Cyclists.” The coverage is designed to protect cyclists from financial hardship resulting from serious cycling incidents. Jay has worked in the insurance industry for 25 years and lives in Richmond.


Terri Pope was recognized

in September for four years of service as the financial coordinator for Dr. Jeffrey S. Jelic at the Center for Functional Aesthetic Facial Surgery. Her responsibilities include medical and dental insurance and billing, surgery scheduling and treatment plan presentation. Terri lives in Mebane, N.C.


Dana Crothers Obrist ’98 & family

32  the MAGAZINE of ELON

Russ Clark and wife Brandy welcomed daughter Lilah Delaney on 6/17/13. Lilah joins older siblings Dustin, 5, and Norah, 4. Russ works with Caruso Homes as the purchasing and architecture

sistant director of student success at Barton College, was one of 10 people recognized in the fall as an emerging leader by the National Academic Advising Association during the organization’s national conference in Salt Lake City. The NACADA Emerging Leaders program is awarded annually and provides recipients with a two-year experience designed to improve diversity and sharpen leadership skills. Angie graduated from Elon with a degree in business administration and holds a master’s degree in student development from Appalachian State University. She and husband Charles “Wally” Walston III have two daughters, Olivia and Ella. The family lives in Wilson, N.C. recently became a self-published author. Her action-adventure e-book, The Mystery Alliance: Evian’s Saga, is the first in a series. Originally a screenplay, Taffey has been working on the story since 1999. The e-book is available at smashwords. com, and Contact Taffey on Twitter (@TaffeyChampion) and Facebook (Taffey Tawanna Champion) for more information. her Elon oak last summer. The tree has been at her parents’ home since 1998 and she reports it has grown considerably. She adds that since her parents are selling their house, this was her last opportunity to get a photo with the tree. “I wish I could move it to our house,” she says, “but it is obviously way too big to move.” In September Ginny Watkins Russo became the marketing director and general manager of M. Stein & Company Tuxedos. Ginny was responsible for spearheading a concierge tuxedo service called “Tuxedo-to-You.” She lives in Mount Airy, Md. Jennifer James Terry was promoted to vice president, surgical services for the Carolinas HealthCare System Medical Group in Charlotte, N.C. She also received her certified medical practice executive certification in 2013 from the American College of Medical Practice




he basketball court in the Town of Elon’s Lawrence Slade Park last fall wasn’t much to behold. Weeds poked through cracked asphalt. Bent rims hung from a half dozen backboards held aloft by rusted poles. And it certainly wasn’t the court Frank Haith ’88 remembered from his own childhood growing up in the neighborhood just a few blocks west of the Elon Fire Department on South Williamson Avenue. That, he thought, was a problem. Determined to offer a solution, Haith, the head coach of the University of Missouri men’s basketball team, and his wife, Pam, served as the driving force behind town efforts to renovate and expand the very same park that inspired a distinguished collegiate coaching career. “In the 21st century, kids are into PlayStation and Xbox, but having something planned and in place for young people will be special,” Haith says. “I’m very involved with the Boys and Girls Club here in Columbia, and my whole thing is giving our youth a safe place to play and grow. Hopefully the park will be something where youth will look at it and choose

{ l-r: Town of Elon Mayor Jerry Tolley accepts a donation from Frank Haith ‘88 during a ceremony in September. }

to stay involved in athletics and other positive things.” Plans call for a refurbished and expanded basketball court, an amphitheater for community concerts, and corn hole and bocce courts. Named in honor of former town alderman Lawrence Slade, the park will play host to basketball camps, provide a site for groups such as Special Olympics and Senior Games, and bring additional cultural programs to the community.

Town officials hope renovations will be complete by spring 2015. The Haiths, who have remained close to Alamance County throughout the years, made a lead gift in a public-private endeavor that also includes grants from Elon University, the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the Town of Elon, Twin Lakes Retirement Community/Lutheran Retirement Ministries of Alamance County and Hayden Harmon Foundation. Total costs are estimated to be about $325,000. “It’s going to be really nice for the community, which was really important to me,” Haith says. “It’s where I grew up. Getting the courts the way I want them is a neat thing.” Following his Elon graduation, Haith served as a student coach and a part-time assistant coach of men’s basketball at Elon. He later worked as an assistant for Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Texas A&M, Penn State and the University of South Carolina, before the University of Miami hired him for its top position in 2004. In 2011 Haith made the move to the University of Missouri, where his program’s subsequent successes led to coach-ofthe-year awards from the United States Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press. The Elon Black Alumni Network honored Haith in 2012 with the Eugene Perry ’69 Distinguished Alumnus Award, named for the first black student to graduate from the university. Phyllis Creech, the director of recreation and parks for the town, praised the Haiths’ generosity and their commitment to the region. “He and Pam are the most communityminded people,” Creech says. “They love Elon. They love this community and they have a passion for the kids, their development and activity, and for holding sports camps here. Their participation has been a springboard to really get other contributors to fund this all at one time.”

winter 2014  33


Executives. She and husband Ken have two children, Patrick, 4, and Lauren, 2. The family lives in Denver.


Kevin Barnes and wife Sarah welcomed son Easton Kai on 9/19/13. Kevin is project manager for Bank of America Merchant Services. The family lives in Louisville, Ky. Josh Cotter was recently named Merrill Lynch’s sales manager for the Wellesley, Mass., market. Melissa Quinn and Christopher McVey were married on 7/5/13. Alumni in attendance included Mandy Warren Stenger, Dana Shorter, Karen Davis Weeks, Kimberly Burton Wimbush, Jeff Sanders ’00 and Lisa McChristian Sanders ’01. Melissa is a senior writer and producer for Investigation Discovery. The couple live in Kensington, Md.

Kevin Barnes ’99, Sarah Barnes & children

Melissa Quinn ’99 & Christopher McVey


David Ford was honored

in November as one of the Bucks County 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, which is sponsored by the Bucks County Courier and The Intelligencer. The program recognizes 40 up-and-coming business and community leaders who are making a difference in Bucks County, Pa. David is director of development for Family Service Association of Bucks County. He lives in Doylestown. Alecia Pynn has been hired as marketing manager for the BankUnited Center at the University of Miami. Her responsibilities include coordinating marketing efforts for concerts, events and basketball games at the arena. Alison Sanborn and Patrick Wirth were married 8/24/13. Alumni in attendance included Amy Naudascher Beard ’99, Catherine Huston ’99,

Alison Sanborn Wirth ’00, Patrick Wirth & friends

Cathy LiCalsi Crawford, Carianne Fisher, Lesley Siler Masisak and Shannon Russell, who served as

a bridesmaid. Alison is a senior business analyst with Home Depot. The couple live in Atlanta.


Cory J. Wilkinson has been


Joy Blackwell Hampson and Thomas Hampson welcomed


Emily Goodman was

appointed director of global marketing, cleaning solutions for Rubbermaid Commercial Products. He joined Newell Rubbermaid in 2001 and has been responsible for product, channel and sales domestically and abroad. He, wife Madalyn and daughter Katherine live in Huntersville, N.C.

daughter Samantha Marie on 8/5/13. She joins older sister Sophia. The family lives in Newberry, Fla. honored with the 2013 Professional Achievement Award by the Institute of Real Estate Management. The award recognizes individuals who have earned an institute credential, continued professional development activities and achieved outstanding professional accomplishments. Emily has been published in numerous national and international trade publications and included among the Top 30 Leaders Under 30 internationally by the Journal of Property Management. She and husband John Shortall ’01 MBA’07 live in Greensboro, N.C. Jacquelyn Alesczyk Higgins and Bill Higgins welcomed daughter Emma Quynn in January 2013. The family lives in Richboro, Pa. Heather Trant and Patrick Mullane were married 8/24/13 in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Alumni in attendance included John Keegan ’96, MaryRuth Iman Williams Brady, Erica Choutka Elbery, Stacey Schultz Groebner, Lisa Purtz Keegan, Lindsay VanCleave Severn, Mandy McCanna Wheat and Brett Jochim Schmidt ’04. Heather is conference assistant to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, while Patrick is vice president, brewer and co-founder of Hellbender Brewing Company in Washington, D.C. The couple live in Alexandria. Brian Baute MBA’04 was recently promoted to assistant vice president and chief information officer at Queens University of Charlotte, where he has been working since 2012.

Joy Blackwell Hampson ’02, Thomas Hampson ’02 & daughters Samantha Marie & Sophia

Jacquelyn Alesczyk Higgins ’03, Bill Higgins & daughter Emma Quynn

Heather Trant Mullane ’03, Patrick Mullane & friends

Sarah Gray Haskell Hojnacki ’04, Ryan David Hojnacki & friends

34  the MAGAZINE of ELON

Colleen Jones Myers ’04 & Jay Myers ’07

Ben Brundred IV ’05, Maia Matthews Brundred & son Benjamin Ford


{ Above: Kyle Johnson ‘10, right, and his late father, Richard. Far left: Johnson during a book reading at his church, Fellowship of the Parks, in Texas. }

AN UNLIKELY JOURNEY Inspired by the life and death of his father, Kyle Johnson ’10 has published a book detailing his difficult senior year, adventures around the world and journey to an authentic faith in God. BY NATALIE BRUBAKER ’16


lon alumnus Kyle Johnson never planned on turning his personal journals into a published book. But after the death of his father, Richard, and a yearlong mission trip around the world, Johnson’s journey is now printed in the 215 pages of his new book, My Father’s Son. “I didn’t actually know I was writing a book … to me it was just a journal, which I needed to keep my sanity while losing my dad,” Johnson says. Johnson’s journey began Sept. 25, 2009, during his senior year at Elon, when his dad told Johnson he had liver cancer. Johnson spent most of that fall traveling home to Raleigh, N.C., to care for his dad, who died during Winter Term. Just days after graduating in May 2010, and inspired by his father’s legacy, Johnson embarked on The World Race, an intense mission trip that takes teams to 11 countries in 11 months and focuses on adventure, ministry, community and self-discovery. That experience served as the basis for Johnson’s book, which was published by the Texas church where he now works as an

associate pastor­, on Sept. 25, 2013­—exactly four years after he learned of his father’s illness. “The book takes place during my team’s month in South Africa while flashing back to our service in previous countries and my senior year at Elon, when I found the faith and courage to leave home in the first place,” Johnson says. “It’s a blend of the journals I kept during those times, each working to tell the same story from a different perspective.” My Father’s Son offers an intimate, raw account of Johnson’s experiences both as a college student losing his father to cancer and as an international missionary circumnavigating the globe. Despite the personal nature of his journals, Johnson says it was important to him to keep the story genuine. “Even when I reread parts and realized I had overreacted or been immature, I had to resist the temptation to repaint myself as a righteous hero,” he said. And because Johnson was writing the story as it actually occurred, he says the details and imagery are extremely vivid. “When I began to pursue what I believed was a specific call to publish the story, it was

really difficult to relive the experience of losing my dad over and over again with each round of editing,” he says. But Johnson says the experience has also been a testimony of God’s faithfulness in his life. Even after he decided to pursue the opportunity, Johnson doubted the book would ever be published. “Now I know not to doubt that something is somehow too big for [God] to accomplish,” he says. Although the book was only released a few months ago, Johnson has already been encouraged by the feedback he has received from readers. He says getting emails from complete strangers telling him how the story has influenced their lives justifies the long hours of work. “My goal is simply to get other people thinking about their own story, and about what they believe,” Johnson says. “While this is ultimately a story of how my dad’s faith influenced me to also follow Jesus, I am careful not to push my beliefs onto the reader. Faith is personal and so it has to be rooted in our own stories. My hope is to simply get people thinking about what they believe and how to live like they mean it.”

My Father’s Son is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle edition. Read more about Johnson’s journey at

winter 2014  35


Prior to that position, Brian worked at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Elon University. He lives in Harrisburg, N.C.


Sarah Gray Haskell and

Ryan David Hojnacki were married on 8/17/13 in Weston, Mass. Alumni in attendance included Taylor Barnes ’03, Jason Brooks ’03, Joe Carr ’03, Ross Sims ’03, Brittany Barnes, Lauren Simmons, Amanda Sims, Kate Sprinkle, Lindsay Wehmeyer and Lindsay Reinhardt Depree ’06. Sarah works in sales for Purity Vodka. The couple live in Atlanta. Colleen Jones and Jay Myers ’07 were married 5/11/13 in Palm Beach, Fla. Alumni in attendance included Jodie Daku, Kimberly Chandler Hambright, Allison Jones, Julie Vorp Sharpe, Lauren Simmons, Chris Ahlgrim ’06, Christine Hopewell Fenn ’06, Caity Cummings Cardano ’07, Elliot Cardano ’07, Clayton Collins ’07, Lesley Merrill

Richard McGruder ’05, Victoria Pettee McGruder ’09 & friends

Erryn Gallasch Neckle ’07 & Danny Neckle

Natalie Wu ’07 & Josh Turner

Bradley Holloman ’09 & Sarah Smith Holloman ’10

36  the MAGAZINE of ELON

Collins ’07, Austin Fenn ’07, Ryan Lehrl ’07, Ryan Malfitano ’07, Mark Mizell ’07, Bert Olson ’07, Taaron Washington ’07 and Matt Wheeler ’07. Colleen is in pharma-

ceutical sales for Eli Lilly, while Jay is vice president of Lazard Capital Markets. The couple live in New York. Renita L. Webb received a doctorate degree in education from Capella University in August. She specialized in leadership in educational administration. She and husband Jared Webb live in Greensboro, N.C.


Ben Brundred IV and

Maia Matthews Brundred welcomed son Benjamin Ford on 7/23/13. Ben is a communications consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton. He reports that one of his son’s favorite outfits is his Elon “Tiny But Mighty” jumpsuit. The family lives in Rockville, Md. Richard McGruder and Victoria Pettee ’09 were married 7/5/13. The couple live in Granby, Conn. David Richardson has

Jess Taylor’10, Ryan Duffy’10 & friends


Twisted Measure alumnus Taylor Barr and Melissa Patzwaldt were married 10/5/13

Raegan Shaw Cassady ’07, Jack Cassady ’08 & friends

Taylor Barr ’07, Melissa Patzwaldt & friends

Lara-Anne Stokes Bradley ’08, Chad Bradley ’08 & friends

entered the physician assistant program at Duke University. He lives in Smithfield, N.C. Lindsey Rushmore graduated in August with a master’s degree in oriental science from Southwest Acupuncture College in Albuquerque. After completing the four-year program, Lindsey spent a month conducting advanced studies at Heilongjiang University Hospital in Harbin, China. She has also received a national certification in oriental medicine and a doctor of oriental medicine licensure in New Mexico. Scott McPhate works in the visual effects department for Marvel Studios. His responsibilities include running reviews for directors, studio executives, producers and special effects supervisors. Among the films he has worked on are Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3. He lives in Los Angeles.

Kimberly Poe Leighty ’08 & Scott Leighty ’09

Laura Hopewell Martin ’10 & Josip Martin

Patrick Duffy ’09, Lauren Limerick Duffy ’09 & friends

Russell “Lee” Proctor IV ’11

Brendyn Gronewoller ’12 & Stephanie Bement Gronewoller ’12

Photos by Alex Pepper ‘11


{ (l-r) Above: Ashley Couture ‘12, Amy McNabb ‘12 & Sarah Clancy ‘12 perform during “Hello, My Name Is ...” at 54 Below in New York City on Nov. 17. Left: Event organizers Claire Manship ‘13 and John Yi ‘11. }



hen students graduate from Elon, they leave many traditions behind. But the feeling of community the campus provides doesn’t go away. Thirteen alumni proved this to be true when they got together Nov. 17 at 54 Below in New York City for “Hello, My Name Is …,” a special performance about artists in their 20s living in the Big Apple. After moving to New York in July, John Yi ’11 and Claire Manship ‘13 were inspired to create the show. They studied musical theatre and acting, respectively, and were ready to perform. “We felt a strong conviction to engage in a creative project that provided other performing artists the platform to share the current states of their lives,” says Yi, who spent the previous two years working as a teacher for Teach For America in Houston. They reached out to other performers in the city and asked them to come up with songs that reflected life in your 20s. The performance

ultimately included 12 Elon alumni singing nine different songs covering themes from finding your own place, living in the city, not getting along with peers, following your dreams, starting over and how love plays into it all. “It wasn’t originally supposed to just be Elon people,” Manship says. “We sent a message to a lot of our friends who had been out of school for one to five years, and it just happened to be that only Elon alumni responded. So that is how it came to be an Elon concert.” In addition to Yi and Manship, the performers included Carly Casey ’09, Erin Burniston ’10, Julianne Katz ’10, Emily Rice ’10, Christopher Staskel ’10, Sarah Clancy ’12, Ashley Couture ’12, Amy McNabb ’12, Kat Nardizzi ’12 and John Langley ’13. The name of the performance, which was originally a way to organize the songs about identity and finding yourself, took on another meaning because of the Elon affiliation.

“The concert name, ‘Hello, My Name Is …,’ was not only created as a great jumping off point for storytelling songs about who we are and where we are going,” Manship says, “but it also happens to be the first line of an exercise we all did in Acting I with Professor Richard Gang where we declare to our friends who we are, that we are fearless and that we have no apologies for either.” One of the earliest developments for the production was obtaining 54 Below as the venue. Known as “Broadway’s Supper Club,” it was designed by multiple Tony Award winners to accommodate 144 people in the main dining room, with no one sitting more than 24 feet from the stage. With the venue secured, rehearsals brought together some of Elon’s most talented alumni. “Life in New York City can be a bit overwhelming,” Yi says. “But I was reminded during the rehearsal process of just how talented and hardworking Elon alumni are.” The success of the first show has allowed the performance to become more than a onetime thing. “We’re happy to announce that due to a successful first run, the concert has already been booked for a spot at 54 Below in February,” Yi says. As the concert series develops, Yi and Manship hope to involve students from other schools, programs and backgrounds. “In the future, this concert will hopefully involve many more actors from top theater programs, so we can spread the goodwill about the newest and brightest talent coming into New York City and the theatrical business as a whole,” Manship says.

For more details about the show, visit

winter 2014  37


in Wake Forest, N.C. David Parsons ’06, also a Twisted

Measure alumnus, was the best man. Groomsmen include Cole Gorman ’09, who served as photographer, and Twisted Measure alumni William Cleveland ’05 and Zach Taylor ’09. The couple reside in Durham, where Taylor is an affiliate marketing manager for A Small Orange. Sarah Eydt married Charlie Arestia on 8/24/13. The couple reside in New York. Sarah is the ad sales marketing manager for HGTV and DIY Networks. Erryn Gallasch and Danny Neckle were married on 4/13/13 in Washington, D.C. A reception followed at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Va. Alumni in attendance included William Mangum ’05, Allison Mordas ’05, Katie Pesce Mangum ’06, Mary Cunningham ’08, Nancy Whitman ’08, Sarah Eibin Funkhouser ’09 and Christian Funkhouser ’10. The couple reside in Alexandria, Va., where Erryn is a marketing analyst with The Motley Fool, a financial services firm, and Danny is a media supervisor for Smart Media Group, a political media buying agency. Raegan Shaw and Jack Cassady ’08 were married 10/13/12. Alumni in the wedding party included Jimmy Cassady ’05, Anne Stewart Claytor, Jen Marshall, Kacey Wells McAleer, Liz Shomo, Michael Carnicelli ’08,

Gentry Radwanski ’08, David Wells ’08, Kammie Shaw ’09, Virginia Penn ’10 and Andrew Shaw ’10. Other Elon alumni in attendance included Chad Britt ’04, Bobby McAleer ’06, Brian McElroy, Hank Miller, Kristin Jennings Miller, Chris Shoemaker, Will Black ’08, Doug Dushuttle ’08, Andy Fox ’08, Matt Lichtenstein ’10 and Jenny Ward ’10. The couple

live in Charlotte, N.C. Raegan is a teacher in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Jack is a Financial Specialist for PNC Bank. Natalie Wu and Josh Turner were married 9/28/13. Natalie is a human resources information specialist at Duke University.


Lara-Anne Stokes and Chad Bradley were married 9/14/13

in Linville, N.C. Alumni in attendance included Jim Little ’75, Dan Stokes ’75, Ron Stewart ’76, LuAnn Little ’77, Barbara Stokes ’82, Brian Lynch ’06, Taylor Cobb Hassinger ’07, Christine Bennett Bice, Evan Broderick, Nick Cannon, Christina Costas, Bennett Florence, Sean Gilson, John Humphrey, Laila Hannallah Lynch, Neal Prunier, Jacqueline ReynoldsDrumm, Brooke Ann McQuade Rickett, Jacklyn Leigh Roeland, Meredith Severs, Garrett Turner, Cameron Scarborough Allen ’09, Chris Irvin ’09, Emily Hurwitz ’10 and Bryce Little ’10. The couple live in Aspen. Lindsay Totten

In Memoriam Martha Anne McDaniel Perry ’46, Burlington, N.C. 9/27/13. Robert Jenkins Graham ’47, Graham, N.C. 9/12/13. Dolly Foster Shaw ’51, Burlington, N.C. 8/29/13. The Rev. John G. Truitt Jr. ’53, whose family involvement with

the university dates back to the early 1900s, died Jan. 4 in Burlington, N.C. He was 81. One of Elon’s greatest ambassadors for more than six decades, John met his wife, Dolores Hagen Truitt ’53, during cheerleading tryouts at Elon. The two had been inseparable ever since, rooting for their alma mater at home games and participating in all aspects of university life. In recognition of their support, the Truitts were awarded Elon Medallions in 2012. John was also awarded the Elon Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service to Elon Award in 2007. Luther William “Bill” Libby Sr. ’63 P’84, Morehead City, N.C. 10/29/13. Victor J. Wisniewski ’09, Wall, N.J. 9/8/13.

38  the MAGAZINE of ELON

graduated in August with a doctorate in optometry from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in Pennsylvania. Lindsay plans to return to the Carolinas to practice optometry. Kimberly Poe and Scott Leighty ’09 were married 6/29/13 at Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C. Aria Westbrook ’06, Gavin Sands ’07, Elyse Elliott Kistler, Maddie Phillips, Anne Carroll Ratcliffe, Kimberly Cote Simpson, Ashley McLain Westmoreland, Sam Leaf ’09 and Jim Rampton ’09 participated in the ceremony. The couple live in Charlotte, where Scott is director of chapter development for Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and Kimberly is a technology facilitator for CharlotteMecklenburg Schools.


Patrick Duffy and Lauren Limerick were married 6/1/13

at St. Albans Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. A reception was held at the St. Regis Hotel following the ceremony. The wedding party included Elon alumni Catherine Trenary ’08, Katie Bigarel, Patrick Brooks, Chadwick Brubaker, Christina Mangano, Kelly Murtagh and Andrew Wilder. Alumni in attendance included Hope Tulchinsky ’02, Suzy Barker ’08, Cameron Rudder ’08, Alex Sewell ’08, Katie Whitmore ’08, Megan Brooks, Alex Buchheim, Lauren Burgess, Kate McGlaughlin, Matt Harding, Brady Herman, Rory Hoban, Chris Irvin, Ansley LaBarre, Allie Lozon, Scott Mackenzie, Brie Owen, Cullen Pitler, Andy Rill, Carrie Rill, Graham Rountree, Brett Sandin, Heather Wilson, Ryan Cooke ’10, Alex Leeker ’10 and Kellyn Mahan ’10. Lauren is the associate director for corporate and employer relations at Elon University and Patrick is a senior auditor with Ernst & Young. The couple live in Raleigh, N.C. Bradley Holloman and Sarah Smith ’10 were married 9/7/13 in North Andover, Mass. Liz Palka ’08 served as a bridesmaid and Jason Spitzer served as a groomsman. Other alumni in attendance included Meghan Cronen and Libby Russell ’10. The couple met at Elon in 2008 at an Event Planning class and now live in Orlando, where Sarah works as a

marketing account executive and Bradley works in corporate sponsorships for Orlando Magic.


Laura Hopewell and Josip Martin were married 7/27/13. Tracy Llewellyn served as maid of honor and Linda Thelin and Laura Sweeney ’11 were bridesmaids. The couple live in Vermont. Jess Taylor and Ryan Duffy were married 8/17/13 at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville, N.C. The bridal party included Mike Miller ’08, Caroline Ellis, Sheila McGregor, Phil Pons and Clay Winkelvoss. Other alumni in attendance included Mike Barg, Kelly Barnhurst, Laura Brainer, Ross Draper, Will Elliot, Dan Henaghan, Katie Griffith, John Lesko, Isabelle Matejovsky, Ryan Mihajlov, Alex O’Reilly, Jeff Thurm, Josh Whanger, Vincent Ayube ’11, Lilly Bancroft ’11, Catie Brady ’11, Sarah Churchill ’11, Steve Fales ’11, Joanna French ’11, Colin Gilmore ’11, Allaire Guralnik ’11, Wes Horbatuck ’11, Taylor Lindsey ’11, Matt Mitchell ’11, Dan Montalvo ’11, Greg Orfe ’11, Laura Roberts ’11, Dan Rutherford ’11, Nick Siciliano ’11, Zack Widdoss ’11 and Jess Calio ’12. The couple lives in Charlotte.


Russell “Lee” Proctor IV re-


Brendyn Gronewoller and Stephanie Bement

cently assumed the role of financial advisor for the Rocky Mount, N.C., office of Stifel, Nicolaus & Company Inc. Lee joins the firm as a member of the Shrago Proctor Group, where he works alongside investment professionals with more than 90 years of combined investment industry experience.

were married 8/10/13. Alumni and students present included Stephanie Pinch, Rachel Amato ’13, Caitlin Clarke ’13, Sheryl Davis ’13, Kenneth Dunkle ’13, Sean Eitze ’13, Darien Flowers ’13, Laura Hashem ’13, Mike Kuczynski ’13, Anna McCracken ’13, Katie Vitiello ’13, Bonnie White ’13, Jackie Bement ’16 and David Bement ’17. Julia Sayers recently began a new job as associated editor for Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. Based in Birmingham, her role includes writing about food and travel, testing food and overseeing photo shoots.



{ Christian Wiggins '03 }



t didn’t take long for Christian Wiggins’ experience at Elon to inspire him to give back to his alma mater. In the summer after his senior year, as many of his classmates were absorbed in job searches and relocation plans, Wiggins set up a planned gift that would benefit Elon in the future. “Right away, I recognized that Elon would forever be one of the experiences that shaped who I am to the core,” says Wiggins, who graduated in 2003 and whose campus involvement included the Business Fellows program, three years as a resident assistant and serving as president of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. “Setting up a planned gift was my way of saying, ‘This experience was so important that I want to support it in a meaningful way, whether that’s now or in 50 or 60 years.’” Wiggins’ decision to support Elon financially stemmed in part from his involvement in the Student Government Association, where he served as treasurer and later president. Through that experience, he saw firsthand the importance of private support at Elon. “As a student leader on campus, I learned that tuition funds don’t cover the entire cost of running the university every academic year,” he says. “If Elon does what it does now with the means that

we have, imagine what we could do if everyone made a small gift annually or as part of their estate plan.” Wiggins recently modified his gift to create a memorial scholarship named for his great aunt, who helped make his own Elon education possible. “She was able to come here my freshman year and see the campus, and she could see that the investment she was making was already paying off,” he says. Wiggins also serves the university as a volunteer, having joined the board of Elon’s Charlotte Alumni Chapter several years ago. He has also served as member and president of the Young Alumni Council and is president-elect of the Elon Alumni Board. “What keeps me beating the drum is that I’ve never met an Elon alum who had a bad experience. You always meet people who love Elon and are so connected with one another,” he says. “I hope all alumni will choose to engage somehow with Elon, by bringing their kids back to see the campus, making a gift annually or showing up at regional events. We all need to stake out our involvement and become shareholders in Elon’s success.”


about how you can make a difference at Elon with a planned gift by contacting Carolyn DeFrancesco, director of planned giving, at (336) 278-7454 and, or by visiting

winter 2013  39

HOMECOMING 2013 With more than 3,500 alumni returning to campus, Elon’s quasquicentennial Homecoming celebration in November was one to remember. Here are some images from that weekend, including many shared by alumni and students via social media. To view more images visit

Office of Alumni Engagement PO Box 398 Elon, NC 27244 Toll Free: (877) 784-3566 Change Service Requested

{ Elon students float over the Cappadocia region of central Turkey in hot air balloons during their January study abroad course, EUROMED: Turkey/Dubai, Where East Meets West. After spending time in Istanbul, the group moved through other regions of the country, ultimately closing the course in Dubai. To see a photo slideshow of students studying abroad in Turkey, including first-year Honors Fellows taking part in the Inquiry in Istanbul course, visit }

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The Magazine of Elon, Winter 2014  

The Magazine of Elon Winter 2014

The Magazine of Elon, Winter 2014  

The Magazine of Elon Winter 2014