Elon's 2016 retirees recognized
President Emeritus Earl J. Danieley, who has given Elon 70 years of service, is among 19 faculty and staff members retiring this year.
Nineteen retiring faculty and staff members were recognized May 11 for their contribution and service to Elon at the annual faculty-staff awards luncheon in Alumni Memorial Gymnasium.
President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley, who has been a chemistry faculty member and a part of Elon for the past seven decades, was honored by President Leo M. Lambert .
Danieley was 32 in 1957 when he was selected to serve as Elon's sixth president and was one of the youngest college presidents in the nation at the time. He served for 16 years, presiding over an institution that struggled to pay its bills and weathered the Depression and World War II.
It was under his direction that Elon started to thrive.
"He is the president who balanced the budget, built a modern library, racially integrated the campus, established the first study abroad program, put a faculty retirement program in place, grew enrollment and increased fundraising," Lambert said. "Earl Danieley put Elon on the road to becoming a modern university."
Danieley graduated from Elon in 1946, received a graduate degree in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and conducted post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University. He began his Elon career as a chemistry instructor—important work that he returned to after he stepped down as president in 1973.
Danieley was named the Thomas E. Powell, Jr. Professor of Chemistry, continued to teach classes as a member of the chemistry department faculty and remained an avid supporter of Elon.
“There is only one Earl Danieley,” Lambert said. “He is a gifted and passionate teacher of chemistry and Elon's history, and every day, we are incredibly fortunate to have him in our lives, to count him as friend, and to work at the university he so skillfully built."
Danieley stood, received a standing ovation and kept his remarks short. “The first 70 years are the most fun,” he said and waved his trademark victory towel.
Other retiring faculty members recognized at the luncheon include the following:
Jim Barbour, associate professor of economics
Before coming to Elon in 1990, Jim Barbour served as dean of the School of Business and Computer Science at Louisiana State University - Alexandria. Elon offered him a job in the classroom, which he accepted. He has served at total of 16 years—nine when he first arrived and seven at the end of his career— as the chair of the economics department.
Barbour will miss spending time with faculty and staff, as well as the opportunity to teach.
“The constant presence of the young folk who make up our student body has been exhilarating and has kept me young,” he said. “I will miss them. Many of my memories come out of the 22 years I spent leading students in study abroad, a challenge and a joy combined.”
In retirement, Barbour plans to pursue his custom woodworking business. He also looks forward to volunteer work and working on his small tree farm with his wife, JoAnn.
Chalmers Brumbaugh, professor of political science and policy studies
Chalmers Brumbaugh joined the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Elon University in 1986 and spent 12 years as department chair. Throughout his career, Brumbaugh has devoted his energies to Elon’s model of engaged and experiential learning.
In 1995 he was honored at Elon for his outstanding work in the area of service learning. Brumbaugh received the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2008. He was named Advisor of the Year in North Carolina in 2011 and 2012 for his work with Elon’s chapter of the North Carolina Student Legislature.
During the traditional semester periods, Brumbaugh has taught courses in Latin American politics and American government. During the Winter Term, Brumbaugh often took students to Costa Rica to study Latin American politics, history and culture. For the last two years, he has led programs to The Washington Center Winter Seminar on Politics and the Presidency.
In March Brumbaugh received one of North Carolina’s highest honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is one of the most prestigious awards presented by North Carolina governors for service to the state and communities.
Art Cassill, professor of accounting
Art Cassill joined the Elon faculty in 2002 after working at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for 15 years. He was the department chair of accounting his first eight years at Elon and also served as chair of the Study Abroad Committee and sub chair for the Academic Integrity Committee.
Cassill said he will miss the relationships he formed with faculty and students during his time at Elon. One of his favorite memories at Elon was giving the dedication speech for the faculty at the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center dedication.
“The Koury Business Center has had a tremendous impact on the development of the Love School of Business and Elon University so I was honored and humbled to be asked to participate in the dedication representing our faculty,” he said.
After retiring in May, Cassill plans to take a Baltic cruise and travel to Prague. He also hopes to travel to California to visit his granddaughter and take some cross-country adventures on his motorcycle. Once retired, he will take on some long-term writing projects.
Deborah Long, interim dean of the School of Education
Deborah Long came to Elon in 1996. Having lived in North Carolina in the 1970s, she loved the state and when interviewing at Elon, she quickly fell in love with the school. She has served as assistant professor, coordinator of field experiences, coordinator of the elementary education program, associate professor, chair of the education department, professor, faculty administrative fellow and assistant to the president, founding director of the Elon academy and interim dean.
“I will definitely miss my wonderful colleagues, but I plan to spend more time with them in retirement,” she said.
Long also plans to travel in retirement. She hopes to visit Cambodia, Thailand, Hawaii, Barcelona and Costa Rica, among others. She also hopes to train for a triathlon and visit family and friends across the United States.
Nancy Midgette, professor of history
Nancy Midgette first came to Elon in January 1985. At the time, she was looking for a fulltime teaching position in Greensboro. She was offered an adjunct position, and in fall 1986 was offered a fulltime position. She has served as assistant, associate and full professor of history, director of the leadership program, chair of the department of history, interim dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, and faculty director for the historic neighborhood.
“I will miss most the wonderful people with whom I have had the pleasure to work over the years,” she said. “Elon is a magnificent community, where people come together in an amazingly collegial way.”
Upon retiring, Midgette plans to move to her home in Montreat, North Carolina, where she will volunteer for the National Park Service and the Presbyterian Heritage Center.
Elizabeth Rogers, dean of the School of Health Sciences
Elizabeth Rogers started at Elon in October 1996, when she moved from Loma Linda, California, to be the founding chair and program director for the then-master of physical therapy program. She served as the associate dean for the School of Education until 2011 when the School of Health Sciences was formed.
Rogers will miss her colleagues from Elon, as well as the opportunities she had to create new programs in the area of health sciences.
“I believe one of the brightest areas of growth at the graduate educational level for the university lies in the area of health sciences,” she said. “[I’m] looking forward to watching the continued growth of the school and the university.”
After retiring, Rogers plans to move back to Loma Linda with her spouse, Marianne, and daughter Brittany. She looks forward to travelling and hopes to visit every national park in the United States.
Barbara Taylor, associate professor of computing sciences
Barbara Taylor first came to Elon in 1979, when the biology department hired her to teach introductory lab courses. She was named the school’s first coordinator of introductory lab courses. During her time at the school, she also served as the director of academic computing, director of the Winter Term London Program, associate professor of computing sciences and coordinator of technology for teacher education.
Taylor looks forward to catching up on hobbies when she retires, including reading, gardening, house projects and sewing, as well as volunteering in the local community. She will miss the relationships she formed with Elon students as well as faculty and staff.
Helen Walton, instructor in mathematics
Helen Walton was recruited to teach freshman-level math courses at Elon in 1984. She has worked for the school continuously since then, becoming a fulltime faculty member in 2002. For the past five years, she has worked on major university projects. Her favorite memory was the 10 years she spent working to get a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Elon and the celebration in Austin, Texas, after Elon was accepted nationally in October 2009.
After she retires, Walton looks forward to writing family history for her children and grandchildren. She also plans to spend more time with her friends and family, and hopes to travel back to Europe.
Jane Wellford, professor of dance
Jane Wellford first joined Elon’s staff in 1976 in the hope of teaching dance courses at the university. The school only offered one dance class, so she was hired to teach it along with swimming and tennis. She was an instructor in dance for the first 12 years before she was made a fulltime assistant professor. From there, she became an associate professor of dance and a professor of dance. Over the years, she has created around 15 new courses for the dance program.
“What makes my Elon experience stand out for me is the fact that over time, it was both the good as well as the difficult times that I will remember the most,” she said. “We as a university always faced difficult times together as a whole. The faculty, staff, students, administration and trustees went through these tough times together and really worked to make our university a far better place.”
When she retires in May 2016, Wellford will have worked at Elon for 40 years. She plans to spend more time with her husband, her soon-to-be married daughter and her son, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She also plans to continue to do scholarship, run her dance company and share her book, Moving Liturgy.
Retiring staff members will be honored on Staff Appreciation Day on May 27.