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Convocation celebrates engaged learning, student achievement

Ten Elon students described how the university’s engaged learning philosophy has prepared them to be lifelong learners during Convocation for Honors, held Thursday, April 12 in Koury Center. Details...

The theme of this year’s convocation was “A Celebration of the Engaged Life.” Students made brief presentations about the transformative power of the Elon Experiences, the university’s flagship programs in study abroad, undergraduate research, leadership, service and internships. The Elon Experiences reflect the values of the university: service to others, global citizenship, leadership, internships and the ability to learn independently.

>> Click here to watch a slide show and listen to the students' presentations...

Brittany Lyn Yelverton, a communications and English major from Magnolia, Texas, said her leadership experiences at Elon have broadened her perspectives and opened her eyes to the difference she can make. “We live in a world in need,” Yelverton said. “Fortunately, Elon has presented me with many opportunities to make positive change.”

Ian Hull of Baltimore, an economics and public administration major, was transformed by his work with local school children. “I was amazed to see that through my actions, I could show students they had the power to make a difference in their school and in their community.”

The student presentations were accompanied by The Elon University Camerata, which performed “Reverie,” music composed by sophomore Andre DiMuzio. In addition to Yelverton and Hull, the following students also shared their engaged learning experience:

• Ashley Bennett, Exercise Science, Wolfeboro, N.H.
• Natalie Mae Wu, History with Teacher Licensure, Jackson, N.H.
• Beth Overman, Biology and Comprehensive Science Education, Goldsboro, N.C.
• Gavin Sands, Art, Digital Concentration, Pawleys Island, S.C.
• Jonathan Chapman, Religious Studies, Fairburn, Ga.
• Kathleen Filkins, Human Services, Fairfax, Va.
• Ginny Rodgers, International Studies, Raleigh, N.C.
• Michael E. Brandon, History, Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. David Shi, president of Furman University, presented the Convocation address. Like Elon, Furman has been widely noted for its engaged approach to learning.

Engaged learning “is a problem-solving, research-based approach to learning,” Shi said. “It nourishes a commitment to lifelong learning. Engaged learning begins in the classroom and it can take many forms….The fertile opportunities for engaged learning are all available to you here at Elon, to help you learn to find your wings.

Betty Morgan, associate professor of political science, said engaged learning “is a different way of learning. By making learning relevant, by anchoring learning with real people, real issues and real knowledge…our students retain more and recall it faster.”

Edna Truitt Noiles ’44 and her husband, Doug, received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees during the convocation. The Noiles are among Elon’s most generous benefactors. In 2003, the couple made a $1 million gift to endow the Vera Richardson Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life on campus. An earlier $100,000 scholarship donation by the Noiles supported the Ashton P. and Vera R. Truitt Scholarship Fund, which Edna Noiles established with her sisters in 1997 to honor their parents.

In 2006, the Noiles made a $220,000 lead gift to provide start-up funding for the Elon Academy, an enrichment program at Elon University for academically talented students in the Alamance-Burlington school system who may not be considering attending college. The academy will admit its first class of 25 high school sophomores this summer.

Spring Convocation honors Dean’s List and President’s List students, the faculty, graduate students, the Class of 2007 and members of the Elon Society, the premier annual giving group at Elon. 

David Hibbard,
4/13/2007 11:30 AM