Wonhi Synn named Wesley R. Elingburg Professor of Finance
The endowed professorship was established by Trustee Wesley Elingburg and his wife, Cathy, in 2007.
Longtime professor of finance and chair of the Department of Finance, Wonhi Synn, has been named the Wesley R. Elingburg Professor of Finance. He is the second faculty member to hold the professorship, succeeding accounting professor Art Cassill, who retired in May 2016. As the Elingburg Professor, Synn will receive support for research, teaching and mentoring.
Synn joined Elon’s faculty in 1989, when student enrollment at the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business was only about a third of what it is today. He served as chair of the Department of Business Administration in the 1990s, was promoted to professor in 2003, and became the chair of the Department of Finance in 2010, when the department was established.
Committed to high-impact learning experiences, Synn started a student-managed investment fund in 1992 with the generous support of the Board of Trustees. The fund was one of the first in the country amongst private colleges and later became a key component of the Business Fellows program. Synn was also the first faculty member in the business school to lead a Winter Term study abroad program in 1996 and has since led MBA and undergraduate student groups to China, Costa Rica, Australia, and throughout Southeast Asia. Synn received the inaugural Love School of Business Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2004.
The finance department has undergone remarkable growth under Synn’s leadership. The curriculum has been revamped with a focus on preparing students to be analysts rather than traders. The finance program is aligned with the CFA Institute to better prepare students for the world of finance. As a result, Elon graduates have secured internships and jobs with top financial service companies, such as Blackrock, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo.
“Dr. Synn has been a key member of the business school’s faculty through its evolution, growth and emergence as a nationally ranked program,” said Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Love School of Business. “He knows where his graduates are and keeps in touch with them. Students often tell me that alumni contact him with news about job vacancies and that a phone call from him opens doors for them. His departmental colleagues respect him greatly, and he works hard to make sure the department continues to provide an excellent education for its majors.”
Synn’s research has been published in the Financial Services Review, Journal of Business and Economics Research, and Financial Decisions, among others. He also coauthored a chapter on innovations for online brokerage services in Information Systems for Global Financial Markets: Emerging Developments and Effects.
Synn has a doctorate in finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo, an MBA from the University of New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Seoul National University. Prior to joining Elon’s faculty, he was an assistant professor at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.
Trustee Wesley Elingburg, a certified public accountant who served on the Love School Board of Advisors for five years, and his wife, Cathy Elingburg, endowed the professorship in 2007 to enable Elon to recruit and retain top faculty in the business school. Wes Elingburg was elected to Elon’s Board of Trustees in 2005 and served as chair from 2012 to 2014. He retired from LabCorp as chief financial officer in 2005, and is a managing partner of the Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball team in Greensboro, N.C.
During the 2016 Spring Convocation, Wes Elingburg received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in recognition of his commitment to philanthropy and service to the university.
Members of the Numen Lumen Society, the Elingburgs are generous Elon benefactors. They have provided support for Elon Academy, the athletics program, and a variety of construction projects including the School of Communications, Alumni Field House, and Alumni Memorial Gymnasium. In recognition of the Elingburgs’ contribution to Elon’s athletics program, the Southern Conference honored them with a Distinguished Service Award in 2010. The Wes and Cathy Elingburg Room in the Student Professional Development Center is named in their honor.
The Elingburgs are the parents of Nolan H. Elingburg, who earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 2011 and a master’s degree in interactive media in 2012.