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Bonnie McElveen-Hunter to receive Elon medal - April 10

The founder & CEO of Pace Communications will be honored April 10 with the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the founder and CEO of Pace Communications and the chairman of the board of the American Red Cross


Ambassador Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the founder and CEO of Pace Communications and the chairman of the board of the American Red Cross, will be honored April 10 with the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The ceremony takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the LaRose Digital Theatre. A reception will be held starting an hour earlier. Sponsored by the Doherty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the program is free and open to the public.

The Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership is given to recognize an entrepreneur who is a leader in his or her industry and who exemplifies the values of Elon University, including integrity, innovation and creativity, passion for lifelong learning, and a commitment to building a dynamic community.

Pace Communications is the largest custom content agency in the nation, serving Fortune 500 and other market leading companies such as Southwest Airlines, US Airways, Carlson Rezidor Hotels, Wells Fargo, Toyota, Verizon Wireless, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and USAA, making Hunter one of the nation’s most successful women entrepreneurs, ranked by Working Woman Magazine as one of the top 175 women-owned businesses in America.

During her term as U.S. Ambassador to Finland, Hunter led several initiatives to success, including the Women Business Leaders Summit in Helsinki in 2002 for women from the Baltic Region and Russia. Another successful summit was held two years later in Riga, Latvia, and a third in 2007 in Amman, Jordan for women from Iraq, Palestine, Syria and other Middle East nations which continued into Bahrain and Dubai in the fall of 2008. These summits helped to advance entrepreneurship and encourage businesswomen from the Baltic Region to the Middle East to launch or expand business opportunities in their native countries.

In 2003, she initiated Stop Child Trafficking: End Modern-Day Slavery and Children of Karelia. The program helped Finnish and Russian charities assist children at risk from drugs, crime, HIV/AIDS and trafficking. For her exceptional and outstanding services, the President of Finland awarded her one of Finland’s highest honors — the Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion.

Hunter was originally appointed by President George W. Bush as national chairman of the board of the American Red Cross in 2004, which marked the first time a woman has been named to that position, and is now serving her third three-year term. In 2007 she co-founded The Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders, which has grown to include 63 Chapters nationwide. In 2011, all Tiffany Circle Chapters combined raised more than $33 million for the American Red Cross

As a long-time philanthropist and charitable-cause activist, Hunter has served as a member of the International Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity, chaired the Alexis de Tocqueville Society, served on the United Way of America Board as a member of its National Leadership Council, and founded the United Way Billion Dollar National Women’s Leadership Initiative which to date has raised $1 billion.

She currently serves on numerous boards, including the Blair House Restoration Fund, the Kennedy Center National Committee for the Performing Arts, the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts, Washington National Opera, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Hunter also has supported Elon University in a variety of ways, including service as an inaugural member of the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board. Hunter was a featured speaker in February 2008 as part of the Joseph M. Bryan Distinguished Leadership Lecture Series.

Hunter is married to Bynum Merritt Hunter, an attorney with the law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood. They have a 29-year-old son, Bynum Merritt Hunter, Jr., a 2005 graduate of Williams College.

Past recipients of the Elon University Medal for Entrepreneurial Leadership include:

2009 - Jim Goodnight, CEO and Founder, SAS
2010 - Bernard A. Harris, Jr., CEO and Managing Partner, Vesalius Ventures, Inc.
2012 - Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder of the Grameen Bank and Chairman of the Yunus Centre

Eric Townsend,
4/9/2013 1:05 PM