Elon President Leo M. Lambert bestowed the university's highest honor Monday morning on John '53 & Dolores Truitt '53, and George Troxler.
Elon University alumni John G. Truitt Jr. ’53 and Dolores Truitt ’53, and Professor Emeritus George Troxler, received Elon Medallions on Aug. 20, 2012, in an annual ceremony that celebrates the highest honor the university bestows on individuals for their meritorious service to the institution.
Medallions recognize those who have contributed outstanding service to Elon over the course of many years. Elon University President Leo M. Lambert awards the honor each year at the start of Planning Week, which marks the beginning of the academic year.
Below are brief summaries of contributions by the Truitts and Troxler to Elon University:
The Reverend John Galloway Truitt, Jr. and Dolores Hagan Truitt
John and Dolores Truitt both graduated from Elon in 1953 and for more than six decades have been two of the university’s most enthusiastic and dedicated ambassadors. The dynamic pair met on Elon’s campus during cheerleading tryouts and have been rooting for their alma mater ever since.
John Truitt juggled his studies in philosophy and religion with service in student government and singing in the college choir, while Dolores Hagan Truitt studied French and was active in her sorority, Delta Upsilon Kappa, now Zeta Tau Alpha. By attending Elon, John continued a long family tradition that included his mother, Adelia Rebecca Jones Truitt, a 1926 Elon graduate, and father, The Reverend Dr. John G. Truitt, a 1916 Elon alumnus who served as superintendent of The Christian Orphanage, which later became Elon Homes for Children.
After graduating from Elon, John Truitt attended Princeton Theological Seminary for one year and married Dolores in 1954 before receiving a degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and serving as pastor of churches in Burlington, N.C., Brookside, N.J., and Chesapeake, Va. He soon began a 26-year career as a chaplain in the United States Air Force in 1961, including service in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive, as well as serving as director of budget and logistics in the Chief of Chaplain’s Office in Washington, D.C., training chaplains to minister in combat zones.
John Truitt received numerous awards during his military service, including the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, as well as the Elon Alumni Association’s Outstanding Service to Elon Award in 2007.
Dolores Truitt received her real estate license in 1984 before beginning a long and successful career in the real estate industry. She later helped to promote annual giving at her alma mater by serving on The Elon Society Executive Board and the board of the Elon Athletics Foundation, now the Phoenix Club, receiving Elon’s Citizens Service Award in 1998 for her exemplary volunteer work.
The Truitts have served Elon in many capacities together, including as members of the National Alumni Executive Board and co-presidents of the Golden Alumni Association, representing alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago. They are the most vocal Phoenix football and basketball fans and celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party at Rhodes Stadium in 2004.
The duo are members of The Elon Society, the university’s premier annual giving group, and Order of the Oak, Elon’s planned giving recognition society. They established the Truitt-Hagan Endowed Scholarship to assist student-athletes and the Brock Darden Jones and Selma Gertrude Rawles Jones Endowed Scholarship to help make Elon more accessible to students with financial need.
Professor Emeritus George Wesley Troxler
Troxler served Elon for more than four decades as professor of history and dean of cultural and special programs, instilling a love of history in his students and to strengthen the university’s cultural and performing arts program. Following his retirement in 2010, Troxler was named professor emeritus of history and has continued to serve the university by writing an updated history of Elon.
He joined the Elon faculty as professor of history in 1969 after earning a master’s degree and doctorate in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, bringing his expertise in the American Revolution and colonial American history to his courses in American history, North Carolina history, and U.S. diplomatic history.
In 1985, after almost two decades in the classroom, Troxler was named director of cultural programs and brought internationally acclaimed performers in music, dance, and drama to Elon’s campus, as well as renowned speakers representing a variety of perspectives, including former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, primatologist Jane Goodall, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Halberstam, and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Troxler also served for more than a decade as chief graduation marshal, bringing a commitment to excellence to running Commencement, Convocations, and other major campus events. He was instrumental in researching the history of two of Elon’s most important artifacts: the bell that hung in the Main Administration Building, which was destroyed during the 1923 campus fire, and the bell from Graham College, the predecessor institution to Elon, which is rung at important university events.
Troxler contributed regularly to his discipline, writing more than a dozen articles, including one focused on Elon’s history, for the Encyclopedia of North Carolina, the first comprehensive reference of North Carolina’s people, places, history, and culture, as well as contributing to Elon’s Traditions Book that was published in 2011.
He has been honored along with his wife, Carole Watterson Troxler, professor emerita of history at Elon, with the Christopher Crittenden Memorial Award from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies for lifetime contributions to the advancement of North Carolina history.
Troxler also devoted more than 50 years to the Boy Scouts of America, including serving for 37 years as cubmaster of local Pack 51 and in a series of leadership roles at the local and district levels, receiving the prestigious Silver Beaver Award in 1984 for distinguished service on a Boy Scout local council and Elon’s Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility in 2005 in recognition of his work.
The Troxlers have been philanthropic supporters of the university, establishing the Troxler-Watterson Endowed History Scholarship and the Watterson-Troxler Scholarship to assist students studying history, including students from North Carolina.