Pace, Howard, Klopman receive Elon Medallions

Elon President Leo M. Lambert bestowed the university’s highest honor Monday morning on professors emeriti Jim Pace and Judith Howard, and Susan Klopman, Elon’s vice president emerita of admissions and financial planning.

Retired Elon University professor James “Jim” Pace and Judith Howard, along with retired vice president Susan Klopman, received Elon Medallions on Aug. 19, 2013, 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 Pace, Howard and Klopman to Elon University:

James Herrington Pace

James "Jim" Herrington Pace
For 37 years, Jim Pace exemplified Elon’s commitment to excellent teaching and scholarly achievement, which instilled in students a love for learning and an appreciation for Biblical history and global engagement and helped to fuel the institution’s rise in quality.

Pace joined Elon’s Department of Religion in 1973 after earning his undergraduate degree in the classics from Birmingham-Southern College and his master of divinity degree in theology and his doctorate in religion with a focus on Old Testament studies from Emory University.

A dry wit and unbridled enthusiasm for his craft endeared him to generations of Elon students as he taught courses such as Archeology of Palestine, Introduction to the Old Testament, Biblical Hebrew, and Hebrew Prophets, and he led Winter Term and semester study abroad programs in London and Italy.

A respected and disciplined scholar, he regularly participated in archeological digs in the Middle East. Pace was devoted to his work with the Karak Resources Project, which brought together teams of archaeologists to excavate sites at an ancient fortress in Karak, Jordan, which Pace called his home away from home.

In 2010 he led members of the Elon community on a pilgrimage to Jordan, Israel and Palestine, deepening their understanding of the cultural and religious traditions of the Middle East.

In recognition of his talents, Pace received the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1987, as well as delivered Elon’s Baccalaureate address in 1988 and served multiple terms as chair of the Department of Religious Studies. “It is hard for me to distinguish between my work and my hobby,” he once said, “to walk into class and light a few fires makes the day worth living.”

He and his wife, Carol, a former Elon staff member, are the parents of two grown children, Melissa and Kevin, who are both Elon graduates.

Judith Bennett Howard

Judith Bennett Howard
Throughout her 18 years at Elon, Judith Howard served as a professor of education, director of the Master of Education program, department chair and interim dean of the School of Education, holding all her students to the highest standards and inspiring them to succeed in one of society’s most vital professions.

Her tenure at Elon followed 14 years in public school classrooms in North Carolina, where she built a reputation for excellence in curriculum design and instruction for exceptional learners, including gifted students and those with special needs.

She was recruited to Elon in 1993 to establish a special education program in the School of Education. Howard soon distinguished herself in a variety of ways in the School of Education, teaching 24 different courses, including 10 she developed herself, producing as part of a $1 million federal grant a series of problem-based curriculum units to enable K-12 teachers to integrate technology seamlessly into their classrooms, and conducting research that explored how to implement those units in settings with exceptional learners.

A respected scholar, Howard published frequently in academic journals, presented at professional conferences, and consulted both internationally and with more than 50 school districts in the United States, advancing scholarship and best practices in her discipline.

She was named director of Elon’s M.Ed. program in 1998 and led major initiatives to enhance academic quality and expand the program, including helping to establish the current three-summer cohort system for elementary and special education programs and a track for gifted education. During 2008-2009, Howard served as interim dean of the School of Education and led Elon’s response to a state-mandated revision of all undergraduate teacher education programs, which state leaders praised for exceeding requirements and taking an innovative and rigorous approach to re-envisioning Elon’s programs.

Howard has received numerous honors during her distinguished career, including the School of Education’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004 and the Excellence in Service Award in 2010 for providing extraordinary leadership and promoting collegiality within the school.

She is equally dedicated to her family, including husband, Jim, children, David and Erin, their spouses, and her four grandsons.

Susan Cotton Klopman

Susan Cotton Klopman
With intelligence, dedication and creativity, Susan Klopman served Elon for 27 years in a variety of leadership roles, including as a member of the senior staff and vice president for admissions and financial planning, guiding the university to unprecedented levels of excellence and success in student recruitment and transforming the lives of generations of young men and women.

She began her career at Elon in 1985 as assistant director in the Department of Publications and Public Relations, now the Office of University Communications, telling the Elon story and converting the primary alumni publication from a newsprint tabloid to a magazine. Building on her success in publications, she moved to Elon’s development office as director of foundation relations and prospect research and, in 1993, became assistant to President Fred Young and the Board of Trustees.

Klopman joined the admissions office in 1996 as assistant dean, leading the application and scholarship review processes and annual communications with more than 60,000 prospective students before being named dean of admissions in 2000 and vice president for admissions and financial planning in 2006, leading Elon’s undergraduate and graduate enrollment, financial aid, and admissions marketing operations.

As the architect of Elon’s modern student recruitment program, Klopman led the change from rolling admissions to deadline admissions while raising academic standards for entering students and increasing the number of applications from 5,600 in 2000 to more than 9,000 in 2011. She expanded international student recruitment and graduate admissions operations, including the addition of the physician assistant studies program, and she moved Elon from traditional recruitment letters and brochures to more sophisticated and effective electronic communications with prospective students.

Klopman played a key role in developing Fellows programs for outstanding students, the Watson and Odyssey need-based scholarship programs, and the Elon Engagement Scholarships to recruit students committed to the university’s renowned engaged learning program.

A lover of books, ideas and travel, Klopman earned her bachelor’s degree from St. Andrews College and a master’s degree in liberal studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her devotion to Elon is matched only by her love for her family, including husband, Peter, daughters, Jenny and Sue, their spouses, and her four grandchildren.