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Ceremony honors life of Communications instructor

Melody van Lidth de Jeude was remembered for her "deep and abiding affection" of Elon.

Philip van Lidth de Jeude said his wife was determined to finish the spring 2011 semester despite her illness.

Elon University dedicated a bench outside the McEwen Communications building on Sept. 20 in memory of Melody van Lidth de Jeude, who died in May following a short illness.

During the brief ceremony, students and colleagues recognized van Lidth de Jeude, a Communications instructor, as an uplifting and transformative teacher.

“Her excitement and positive attitude was infectious and made her students excited to learn more,” said sophomore Jordan Only, who took van Lidth de Jeude’s Public Speaking course last spring. “Elon was blessed to have a teacher as inviting and life changing as Melody.”

Only was one of hundreds of Elon students who took Public Speaking, Persuasion or the Process of Communication with van Lidth de Jeude. Her husband, Philip, said the four years she spent at Elon were some of her most memorable because of the “deep and abiding affection” she had for the university.

“It’s quite amazing to me how much she loved this place and the people she worked with,” he said.

“Her excitement and positive attitude was infectious and made her students excited to learn more,” said sophomore Jordan Only.

Philip van Lidth de Jeude joked that his wife had B-positive blood because, even during her final months, she remained upbeat and steadfast, determined to finish the spring semester with her students.

“She passed away feeling she had accomplished what she had set out to do,” he said. “You were the meaning in her life.”

Van Lidth de Jeude was a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Organizational Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and had taught at the Kenan-Flagler Business School, the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and Wake Forest University, as well as Heinrich Heine Universitat.

She earned her Master's degree at Southern Illinois University, where she received the Robert B. Hawkins Award for Excellence in Speech Communication Scholarship. Starting in 2004, she taught an online course for the Institüt für Verbundstudium in Mönchengladbach, Germany. In May 2006, she coauthored a paper presented at the University of Tampere.

- Written by Colin Donohue, instructor, School of Communications

Eric Townsend,
9/21/2011 8:45 AM