Recognizing 2011 retirees
Celebrate the legacy of these faculty and staff as they prepare to leave Elon and begin the next chapter of their lives: Andy Angyal, Herb House, Judith Howard, Ernie Lunsford, Buck McGregor, Kitty Parrish and Kay Riddle.
Andy Angyal, professor of English and environmental studies
Andy Angyal arrived at Elon in 1976 as a professor of English and drama. He directed the theater department for almost 10 years before the Center for the Arts even existed and the school’s main theater was located in Mooney 201.
About two decades ago, Elon received a grant to fund the creation of an environmental studies program. Angyal says he has always had an interest in environmental issues, having worked for the Environmental Protection Agency while working toward a doctorate degree in American literature at Duke University, and has been involved with the department since its creation.
“I’ve always followed my bliss and my interests,” he says. “I’ve watched the environmental studies program from its inception through its development.”
Angyal has taught courses ranging from “American Environmental Writers” to “Ecology and Religion.” He remained active with the English department until two years ago, when he moved to environmental studies as it gained recognition as its own academic department.
Though Angyal will be retiring at the end of this academic year, he says many of the experiences he has enjoyed during his 35 years on campus are still available to him as a professor emeritus, including teaching a course during Winter Term and conducting scholarly research. He is currently completing a book about eco-theologian Thomas Berry.
Angyal has owned a small organic farm in Guilford County since 1996 and hopes students will continue to visit him to learn more about sustainable farming, which has been one of his most enjoyable teaching experiences.
“Retirement is not a closed door,” he says. “There are still many opportunities available.”
He plans to continue hobbies including gardening, woodworking and traveling with his wife, Jennifer.
Herb House, professor of biology
Herb House arrived at Elon in 1977 after teaching for six years at Lander College in Greenwood, South Carolina.
Over the course of his time at Elon, he taught a wide variety of courses ranging from genetics to biochemistry to zoology, though his primary responsibility has been teaching human anatomy and human physiology.
As biology department chair, a position he held from 1981 to 1993, he worked with new faculty to increase faculty research, which was not emphasized as much when he arrived as it is now.
He was also involved in the department’s move from Duke Building to McMichael Science Center in 1998, which he says has had a major impact on the department and the possibilities for research.
“The people are what I will miss most,” House says. “I won’t miss grading or writing tests, but will miss advising students and the process of explaining things to them.”
House is looking forward to becoming more active in several hobbies, including gardening, mountain biking and photography, in retirement.
Judith Howard, professor of education and director of the master of education program
Judith Howard arrived at Elon in 1993 at a time when the school was searching for someone to establish a new special education program.
Though she says she did not know much about Elon when she arrived, “once I got here, it stole my heart.” She worked to ensure the new special education program satisfied the state licensing requirements while also enhancing Elon’s curriculum.
In 1999, she became the director of the master of education program and, two years later, restructured the program into its current three-summer cohort configuration for elementary and special education programs. In 2006, she worked to expand the program to include a program for gifted education.
During her 18 years on campus, she has served in various positions including department chair, director of the M.Ed. program, director of teacher education and interim dean. She has taught a total of 24 courses, 10 of which she developed herself. She says teaching is still the thing she enjoys most about her job.
In 2000, she was awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education that provided more than $1 million over the course of three years to prepare pre-service teachers to better use technology in the classroom.
She was recognized in 2004 with the School of Education’s Excellence in Teaching award and the Excellence in Service award in 2010.
“The program development has been very rewarding and where I think I have made a contribution,” she says. “It has truly been an exciting 18 years.”
Buck McGregor, associate professor of accounting
After a career as a certified public accountant, Associate Professor Calvert “Buck” McGregor arrived at Elon in 1990. He almost immediately took the position of department chair, which he held for eight years.
He originally followed in the footsteps of his father, C.C. McGregor, who in 1930 founded an accounting firm in South Carolina that grew to be one of the largest firms in that state. Buck McGregor eventually realized he wanted to return to the classroom as a professor, earned a doctorate degree from Virginia Tech, and began teaching.
“That wasn’t what I wanted – there was way too much emphasis on research and not enough on the students,” he says. “Elon was looking for a professor; I interviewed and was invited to come to Elon, and I never looked back.”
While he takes no personal credit, McGregor says he has enjoyed witnessing the expansion of the business school, including the construction of the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center and the school’s national accreditation.
He also served on the committee that developed the revised general studies program, which changed most of Elon’s courses from three to four credit hours.
“It set up an environment to enhance student engagement, which is now a big part of what Elon is known for,” he says.
Buck noted Executive Vice President Gerry Francis and former Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Dean John Burbridge as particularly influential leaders during his time on campus.
“I’ve always enjoyed my work at Elon,” he says. “The people who set the tone at the top have built a supportive environment that is both collegial and productive. I couldn’t ask for better.”
He says he plans to spend more time with friends and family and pick up old hobbies including fishing, photography and woodworking.
Kitty Parrish, director of health services
After working in college health at Princeton University for 14 years, Kitty Parrish arrived at Elon in 1999.
Two years after her arrival, the R.N. Ellington Health and Counseling Center opened and, soon after, the staff expanded to include a full-time physician and two part-time nurse practitioners.
Parrish was also involved in the expansion of the operating hours of the Health Center, which now include lengthened hours four nights a week and Saturday hours.
She says she will most remember the friendly people on Elon’s campus, which has nearly doubled in population during her 12 years here.
“I am very proud of the staff,” she says. “We are a great team that works well together. As college health professionals, we are unique. The staff doesn’t get to attend student life events on campus, we have to be open. But we have a great working relationship.”
While Parrish will be leaving in June, she will still be available to work if needed to fill in for other workers at the Health Center.
She says she looks forward to working in her garden and visiting with her grandchildren, as well as traveling around the state with her husband.
Kay Riddle, student account specialists in the Office of the Bursar
Kay Riddle arrived at Elon in 1983 after raising her children and deciding she wanted to go back to work.
With two friends working at Elon at the time and very happy with their positions, Kay first applied for a job with the library. When she was not hired, she began to work part-time during registration and in the bursar’s office before being offered a full-time job.
When she arrived, there were no graduate programs offered and very few of the buildings that now populate campus existed. She has also witnessed a steady growth in enrollment and says interacting with students has been one of her favorite parts of the job.
Riddle has worked with the same two women, Karen Hughes and Marilyn Collins, her entire career and the bond the three have formed is something she will miss about her time at Elon.
“We’re like family, we know everything about each other,” she says. “We’ve been through weddings together and grandkids. Everyone cares for each other in good times and bad. I have been very fortunate to work under a very helpful and kind bursar and assistant bursar.”
Riddle looks forward to doing volunteer work and spending time with family, including children and grandchildren who live locally, in Ohio and Florida. She says she still plans to return to campus to visit friends for lunch.
“This university is the most perfect place to work,” she says. “Everyone cares for each other and is happy for each other.”
Not interviewed for this story but also retiring at the end of the 2010-11 academic year is Spanish professor Ernie Lunsford.
A North Carolina native, Lunsford came to Elon in 1981. He received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University with a junior year abroad at the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru. He later earned a master’s degree from Middlebury College in Madrid, Spain, and a doctorate in Spanish from the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Since joining Elon, Lunsford has twice served as chair of the department of foreign languages and was recognized with the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001. He has also published two books, En otras palabras: Perfeccionamiento del español por medio de la traducción (2003) and ¡Salud!: Introductory Spanish for Health Professionals (2010).
For the past 10 years, he has also co-led a Winter Term class that introduces students to Peruvian language and culture.
“It has been a joy to introduce Elon students to this country that I love so much and that I find so intriguing,” Lunsford says. “It was a bittersweet experience knowing that this would be my last January there. But, I will return on my own.”
By Caitlin O’Donnell ’13