About President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert

Leo Lambert photographed outside of Lindner Hall.

Leo M. Lambert led Elon’s rise to national prominence from 1999 to 2018, promoting a student-centered culture that values strong relationships between students and their faculty and staff mentors. Focused on developing students as global citizens, ethical leaders and creative problem-solvers, Lambert led two, decade-long strategic plans, creating a model for the modern liberal arts university.

Led by President Lambert, Elon built a national reputation for academic excellence across the curriculum, and for its innovative programs in study abroad, undergraduate research, leadership, interfaith dialogue, civic engagement and community service, and preparing students for meaningful careers and advanced study.

The academic climate of the campus strengthened considerably during his tenure; a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was sheltered in 2010 and both a School of Law (2006) and a School of Health Sciences (2011) were founded.

With a priority on expanding partnerships with K-12 public education, Lambert was instrumental in the creation of the Elon Academy in 2007, an enrichment program for academically talented high school students who have financial need or no family history of college attendance. Lambert also created the Center for Access and Success at Elon, which houses the Odyssey Scholars program, providing outstanding undergraduate students with significant financial aid and mentoring support.

Elon’s physical plant grew tremendously during Lambert’s presidency, with more than 100 new buildings added to the campus. Under President Lambert’s leadership, Elon invested heavily in shaping its residential character, building four major neighborhoods, integrating academic and residence life programs and nurturing a flourishing intellectual climate.

Elon is a member of NCAA Division I athletics and was invited to join the Colonial Athletics Association in 2014. Elon’s varsity athletic facilities were dramatically improved during his tenure and the university acquired the South Campus property to host student recreation and intramural competitions.

Lambert is currently writing a book (with Peter Felten) about placing meaningful mentoring relationships at the heart of undergraduate education (Johns Hopkins University Press). Lambert is also the co-author of “The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most,” (Jossey-Bass, 2016) and co-editor of a book about university teaching (Syracuse University Press, 2005). In 2009, he received the inaugural William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education from the National Society for Experiential Education. His alma mater, the State University of New York at Geneseo, awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2002. The North Carolina Campus Compact Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award is named in his honor. In 1998, he was named by Change magazine as one of the nation’s outstanding young leaders in higher education.

Dr. Lambert is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Governing Boards, The Washington Center, and the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. He has previously served on the board of directors of Association of American Colleges and Universities, the American Council on Education, Campus Compact, Project Pericles, and the NCAA Division I President’s Forum.

Lambert assumed the title of president emeritus on March 1, 2018, and is a professor in the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education.