Elon’s 2015 retirees recognized
A total of 14 faculty and staff members retired from Elon this year.
Dottie Barr, switchboard operator
Dottie Barr started working at Elon in November 1989. At the time, she was working two part-time jobs and was offered a full-time job at Elon. She was the switchboard operator for 25 years and retired Dec. 31, 2014.
“There are too many good memories to choose a favorite,” she says. “Since retiring, I miss the wonderful people at Elon and the beauty of the campus.”
Dottie doesn’t have a lot plans for retirement. “I just like to take it one day at a time and see what God has in store for me,” she says.
Tracy Barr, groundskeeper
Tracy Barr spent 30 years working in an office and had just retired when he was offered a part-time job at Elon as groundskeeper for the athletic fields. After two years, he became a full-time employee and continued in the position until he retired June 19, 2014.
Since retiring, Tracy likes to live day to day, but he misses Elon athletics.
“My favorite memories were working the home football games and that’s what I miss most,” he says.
Anne Bolin, professor of anthropology
In 1988 Elon’s Department of Sociology offered a teaching position for an anthropologist to teach anthropology and sociology courses so Anne Bolin moved across the country from Boulder, Colorado to take the position. Anne is retiring this month.
“Since I am an anthropologist, I will miss the four-year cycle of rituals impacting our students, such as the first-year convocation, honor society events, the anthropology and sociology majors’ senior posters and paper presentations, graduation and student interaction,” she says.
She will miss her annual office chair race down Lindner Hall with her introduction to anthropology teaching and learning apprentices, College Coffee and day-to-day interaction with her colleagues from the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. “We aren’t just colleagues but are friends as well,” she says. “ I will also miss checking out what my always fashionably dressed colleague, professor Bernard Curry, is wearing.”
Anne plans to be an adjunct instructor during Winter Term for the next few years and will continue her work as a scholar. Her latest book is “Testosterone: The Hormone with an Attitude. Discourses of Destiny, Desire and Domination.”
“I also have one or two more bodybuilding competitions that I would like to do along with pursuing more sports, such as road biking and traveling,” she says.
Mary Alice Bragg, university organist
Mary Alice Bragg started as the university organist in 1996 and started teaching classes in 1997. Her husband David Bragg was chairman of the Department of Music at the time.
“We worked well together, even in the same department, same specialty,” she says.
David retired in 2008, and she retired from teaching but remained the university organist. She will retire at the end of this month.
"I will still be involved with cultural events so I will be around campus,” she says. “I have dear friends at the university. We remain close.”
Michael Calhoun, professor of health and human performance
Michael Calhoun started working at Elon in the fall 1985. “After interviews at a number of other institutions, I settled on Elon because of its reputation for and sincere focus on teaching excellence, and the fact that all of my soon-to-be colleagues practiced what they taught,” he says.
He held several positions while at Elon, including chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance, coordinator of the health education program, chair of the Academic Council and chair of the Curriculum Committee.
He retires this May and has many plans for the future, including international travel and long motorcycle rides with wife Brenda. He will build custom guitars and other string instruments. He hopes to finish writing a couple of books that are in progress. He will go fishing and flying when the mood strikes, tend to his tree farm, do mission work, build a couple of custom vehicles and take up gardening.
He will miss his colleagues, global lunches and the office above Koury Concourse where “all things are possible” and where he had many “deep intellectual discussions with highly engaged students.”
David Crowe, professor of history
After working at the National Archives and the Department of Defense for three years, David Crowe joined Elon’s faculty in 1977. He served as a professor of history and taught Chinese, German, Russian and Holocaust history. More recently, he has taught international criminal law at the School of Law.
Crowe is retiring this month and will miss his students, even though he still remains in contact with many of them. “I will particularly miss the larger community of staff and faculty who have made my time at Elon so memorable,” he says.
While he will no longer be at Elon, Crowe will continue his scholarship. He is currently working on two books, a biography of Raphael Lemkin and an edited book on the evolution of Soviet criminal law and the impact it has had on the role played by the Soviets in the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Crowe is also serving as an expert witness in trials in Jerusalem and Miami and will be lecturing and doing research in Bucharest this summer.
Two of his books, “The Holocaust Roots, History, and Aftermath” and “Oskar Schindler” will soon be released in Poland and China. In the latter case, he is expecting it to involve a book tour in China.
Bernice Foust, program assistant for computing sciences, mathematics and statistics
Bernice Foust started working at Elon in August 1999. She has been a program assistant for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Department of Computing Sciences. She also worked as an assistant for the Elon College Fellows program.
She will retire May 31 and knows she will miss the people who she works with on a daily basis. “They are the best people on campus,” she says. “They make me feel truly loved and appreciated. I feel like I’m leaving a part of my family. I will also miss my friends and many acquaintances on campus.”
Bernice plans to spend her retirement traveling, volunteering at her church and in the community and enjoying her grandson. She and her husband will also do some renovations on their home.
She is thankful for her time at Elon. “This has truly been a wonderful experience for me, and I feel blessed to have worked here.”
Gerry Francis, executive vice president
After earning his degree at Appalachian State University, Gerry Francis wanted to teach math at a small college in North Carolina. His alma mater and Elon offered him positions, but Elon offered a longer-term appointment. He started his career at Elon in 1974 as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and after 41 years of service is retiring this May as executive vice president.
While at Elon, he served as chair of the Department of Math, as well as dean, vice president and provost of Academic Affairs. In 2009 Gerry became Elon’s first-ever executive vice president with administrative responsibilities, including day-to-day supervision of admissions, athletics, university communications and special projects assigned by President Leo M. Lambert.
He served as chair of visiting site committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and was named a member of the SACS’s executive committee in 1994. He was a site review team member for the American Bar Association in 2010 and 2012 and chair of the Provost’s Council for the Association of New American Colleges from 2001-2010.
When Gerry retires, he will miss the people—faculty, staff and students—the most, he says.
“Working with good folks at a university keeps you younger and active,” he says. “I loved it.”
Alison Poliseno, program assistant, campus recreation
Alison Poliseno first came to Elon in May 1997. “We moved to the area from Florida in 1996, and I was drawn to the beautiful campus.”
She was originally hired as an assistant in the human resources office but joined the campus recreation staff a year later. She will retire July 31, 2015 and plans to relax for awhile.
“The thing I will miss the most is working with the students,” she said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Elon.”
Vickie Somers, director of auxiliary services
Vickie Somers was hired to in 1975 to be W.E. “Buster” Butler Jr.’s administrative assistant in the business office. In 1982 she started the purchasing department and has been a purchasing officer, purchasing manager and purchasing director. She retires May 31 as the director of auxiliary services.
“I will miss the daily interaction and relationships I’ve made over the past 40 years,” she says. “Many of the things I learned from faculty, staff and various mentors in professional associations have guided me throughout my life.”
She remembers that “back in the day” one of the first things all employees learned was to “smile, speak and pick up the trash.”
In 1989 she received her bachelor’s degree as a nontraditional student during Commencement. That ceremony and being awarded administrative staff member of the year in 2002-03 continue to be her favorite memories of her time at Elon.
“It has been exciting to be a part of the growth of Elon from a local college to a nationally recognized institution,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of fun and exciting challenges during my 40 years at Elon.”
Carolynn Whitley, program assistant, philosophy, political science and policy studies and religious studies
Carolynn Whitley had two stints at Elon. Her “first life,” as she likes to call it, was from 1978 to 1984. She was hired by Ron Klepcyk, director of Human Resources, to be a faculty administrative assistant. Her second run at Elon began in 1992. Gerald Dillashaw, Professor Emeritus of Education, hired her to be his administrative assistant while he was dean of the School of Education. She eventually became the program assistant for philosophy, political science and policy studies and religious studies.
She retires June 5, 2015 and is looking forward to time off. “After I get my fill of doing nothing for awhile, I plan to volunteer at the Captain White House in Graham and at the cancer center at Alamance Regional Medical Center,” she says.
She has many memories from early days at Elon, including the two NAIA national football championships and all the play-off games, the lounge in Alamance, pink flamingoes and office mischief.
“From my second life here, I will miss all the wonderful faculty it has been my pleasure to work with and the amazing students I have come to know and love,” she says.
Other retirees include:
Wayne Brown, supervisor of support services, Environmental Services (retired January 2015)
Danny Cross, maintenance associate, carpentry shop (May 2015)
Mary Ingram, custodian, Environmental Services (retired February 2015)