Elon College faculty are model teacher-scholar-mentors, dedicating themselves to innovative instruction, supporting rich learning experiences and blazing new paths of inquiry. The following faculty were recognized by the university for excellence in all these areas during the 2020-21 academic year.

Distinguished Scholar Award & Maude Sharpe Powell Professor

Lynn Huber

Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Honors Program Lynn Huber is the 21st recipient of Elon University’s Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect and who has made significant contributions to their field of study. She was also recognized with the Maude Sharpe Powell Professorship, established by Dr. James Powell and his siblings, Thomas E. Powell III and Sophia Maude Powell Wolfe, in honor of their mother. The endowed professorship is awarded to faculty in any academic discipline.

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Huber is a preeminent scholar of religious studies whose work is highly influential in her field. She continues to break new ground in her field of study, which is the New Testament and, more specifically, the Book of Revelation. Her research keeps “an eye toward the present and future as it contributes to our understanding of how biblical texts are shaped by specific historical situations and discourses, providing a way for contemporary interpreters to make meaning with the text.”

Huber started at Elon in 2004 as a visiting professor of religious studies. In her time at the university, she has served as program director of the Women’s, Gender and Sexualities Studies program, founding director of the Elon Center for the Study of Religion, Culture and Society and chair of the Department of Religious Studies. Since 2018, Huber has served as director of the Honors Program. She is the author of two books, with a new book in pre-publication. She has edited and co-edited multiple special issues and is the author of numerous articles, essays and book chapters.

T.E. Powell Jr. Professor

Ben Evans

Professor of Physics and Director of the Lumen Prize Ben Evans was named T.E. Powell Jr. Professor. The Thomas E. Powell, Jr. Biology Foundation established the professorship in 1978 in honor of Powell, a professor of biology at Elon College from 1919 to 1936. The professorship is awarded to an Elon professor in the natural sciences with superior teaching ability, exemplary scholarship and proven leadership, with the intent of supporting the highest-quality undergraduate research mentoring.

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A member of the Elon faculty since 2008, Evans teaches courses including General Physics to Modern Physics, Biophysics and the Physics of Sound. He is an active mentor, with well over half of his more than 45 presentations and almost of third of his more than 17 publications including Elon undergraduates as co-authors. He regularly publishes the outcomes of his scholarship in journals such as Applied Materials and Interfaces and Nanoscale.

Evans’ scholarship is interdisciplinary, with more than a decade’s work focused on ways to use magnetics to treat cancers and resolve infections, to study cells and tug on single molecules, to build robots both micro and macro, to mimic microbiology and to enhance medical diagnoses. He received the A.L. Hook Emerging Scholar in Science and Mathematics Award in 2012 in recognition of his strong scholarship.

An active contributor to the life of the institution, Evans has served as director of the Lumen Prize since 2019, co-chaired the Working Group on Undergraduate Research and Intellectual Climate since 2016, and was chair of the Promotions and Tenure Committee from 2017 to 2018.

William J. Story Sr. Professor of History

Charles Irons

Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Geography Charles Irons was named the William J. Story Sr. Professor, a professorship in Southern history endowed by the late Hatcher P. Story ’38 and his sister Louise in honor of their father.

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Irons’ scholarship focuses on the relationships between religion and race in the Southern United States in the 1800s. Teaching in the Department of History and Geography, the Elon Core Curriculum and the Honors Program, Irons is regarded by his peers and students as a very strong teacher and mentor. He regularly disseminates his scholarship through high-quality publications such as peer-reviewed articles, book chapters in edited volumes and a book, “The Origins of Proslavery Christianity.” His contributions to the life of the university include providing expertise in service on the African and African-American Studies minor advisory committee, chairing the Committee on Elon History and Memory and serving on the Black Experiences Task Force.

In his remarks, Irons noted that the study of Southern history has often ignored the contributions of Black people, and that a White-centered approach to Southern and American history is enshrined in texts, popular culture, police practices and the built environment. Irons plans to commit the resources from the professorship award to the work of telling a more inclusive history and promoting equity.