During his opening day address to the University on August 20, 2007, President Leo Lambert announced his vision for the creation of a new and significant undergraduate prize.
"Many of us believe Elon should do more to recognize the truly exceptional scholarly achievement of upperclassmen and women. I plan to bring to the Board of Trustees this fall a proposal to create the Lumen Prize to assist Elon University juniors and seniors in the attainment of ambitious and serious intellectual goals. I am suggesting a prize with a value of $15,000, which could be used for scholarship assistance for the final two years of study on top of existing financial awards and support for research, international study, equipment and supplies, a summer stipend, and other approved expenses. My hope is that winners of the Lumen Prize will receive special mentoring and support in pursuit of graduate fellowships and international awards such as the Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, and Rotary scholarships. This is a wonderful opportunity for Elon to recognize and celebrate the very best achievements of Elon University undergraduate scholars."
The Elon Board of Trustees gave its strong support to the proposal and the Lumen Prize program was initiated in the 2007-2008 academic year. The name for the Lumen Prize comes from Elon's historic motto, "Numen Lumen," which are Latin words meaning "spiritual light" and "intellectual light." The words, which are found on the Elon University seal, signify the highest purposes of an Elon education.
Rising juniors submit their applications for this highly competitive award during the Spring term. Lumen applicants map out their vision for their junior and senior years, developing a plan for coursework, research, creative productions or performances, service projects, travel, summer workshops or institutes, and international study or internships. A committee of faculty from across the institution determines its selections based on the intellectual/creative merit, distinction, and coherence of the proposal, as well as those qualities of intellectual passion, commitment, and experience of the applicant. Members of the Committee for 2013-2014 include:
Wally Bixby, Exercise Science
Aunchalee Palmquist, Sociology and Anthropology
Ben Evans, Physics
Victoria Fischer-Faw, Music
Steve Bednar, Economics
Yuko Miyamoto, Biology
Lucinda Austin, Communications
Mary Knight-McKenna, Education
Janet Myers, English & Director of National Fellowships
For more information or to apply for the Lumen Prize, visit the links on the left.
Dr. Ann J. Cahill
Professor of Philosophy
Spence Pavilion 111
2340 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244
Phone: (336) 278-5703
Alexander Bruch ’14 sought feedback from chemistry professors & staff in the Student Professional Development Center as he applied to graduate schools, including Yale University, for a doctorate in electrical engineering.
Senior biochemistry majors and Lumen Scholars Taylor Davis and Tom Lampl had a manuscript about their research accepted for publication in the Journal of Visual Experimentation.
Caley Mikesell is one of eight fellows from around the world spending June and July in rural India to help research and develop holistic programs aimed at improving conditions for impoverished villages.
Recent Elon University graduate Sarah Holland's study of Christian complicity in the evils of Nazi Germany shed light on the way people of faith can be led astray by leaders who exploit religious beliefs at the expense of marginalized populations.
Over the past two years, Elon University senior and Lumen Prize recipient Michelle Nussbaum has used a top award for undergraduate research to pinpoint the reasons many older readers find comfort in novels written for adolescent audiences.
Elon University senior Greg Honan researched the stories two former presidents told of public assistance recipients and found a direct influence on the way local politicians talk about social services.