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Question of a lifetime among those asked at New Student Orientation Alumni Panel

The panel for current Orientation leaders featured eight Elon alumni and former members of the New Student Orientation team. 

Former members of New Student Orientation returned to Elon this week to pass along wisdom to those involved with this year's effort.

Eight Elon alumni and former members of New Student Orientation returned to campus Monday evening and imparted wisdom to current orientation leaders, who were training and preparing for New Student Orientation and Opening Weekend.

During the annual Alumni Panel, orientation leaders asked the alumni questions about their experience, growth and takeaways from their time with New Student Orientation.

Alumni emphasized that their experience as orientation leaders and head staff members taught them the importance of giving and accepting feedback, seeing problems as opportunities and realizing their personal leadership style and strengths.  

Anna Brown ’16 said her time as a head staff member taught her how to receive constructive feedback, which has helped her transition to teaching at a leadership magnet school in Raleigh.

Zaire McCoy ’02 served as New Student Orientation’s head team captain in 2001, a role that is responsible for planning, facilitating and implementing a two-week training program for head staff members and orientation leaders. McCoy said that experience taught her the importance of paying attention to the details, a skill she uses today when she plans on campus Elon Admissions events.

The most surprising question was asked last and came as a surprise to many in the room, especially Kim Lilienthal ’14.

Stephen Ferguson '11 proposed to Kim Lilienthal '14 during the event.

Lilienthal, a former head staff member and current interim coordinator of New Student & Transition Programs, was introduced to the audience at the end of the panel, only to be left standing alone at the front of the room, with her boyfriend of five and a half years Stephen Ferguson ’11 walking towards her with his hand behind his back.

It soon became evident what was happening when Ferguson got down on one knee to ask the final question of the evening — “Will you marry me?”

An emotional and completely surprised Lilienthal didn’t hesitate to say “yes” and the room erupted in cheer, excitement and congratulations.

Ferguson and Lilienthal met while at Elon and were both involved with New Student Orientation, Catholic Campus Ministry and the Honors Fellows Program, among other organizations. After graduating from Elon, Ferguson completed his M.Ed. at Notre Dame in 2013 and is currently a high school educator in Raleigh. Lilienthal completed her M.A. in English Rhetoric and Composition from N.C. State University in May.

Participating alumni were Zaire McCoy ’02, Dana Hedman ’13, Alison Doherty ’16, Anna Brown ’16, Rachel Teem ’09, Alexa Sykes ’13, Ashley Pearson ’08 and Stephen Ferguson ’11.

All involved with New Student Orientation sends their deepest congratulations to the couple and are excited that they were able to be part of their special moment.



Caroline Fernandez,
8/26/2016 7:35 AM