Basses, Albertson, Bromilow & Hickey receive Elon Medallions

The university’s highest honor was bestowed Monday upon five recipients for their meritorious service to the school.

Elon Board Trustee Barbara Day Bass ’61 and Walter Bass III ’62; Mark Albertson, retired registrar; Neil Bromilow, retired director of construction management; and Kate Hickey, retired dean and university librarian, received Elon Medallions on Aug. 18, 2014, in an annual ceremony celebrating 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 Bassess, Albertson, Bromilow and Hickey to Elon University.

Barbara Day Bass and Walter Haldane Bass III

Barbara and Walter Bass
Barbara and Walter Bass[/caption]For more than 50 years, Barbara and Walter Bass have advanced Elon through dedicated service and generous philanthropic support of scholarships and academics.

When they were students in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Barbara and Walter Bass were fully involved in campus life, juggling their studies with working on campus. Barbara Bass answered calls to the switchboard. Walter Bass worked in the dining hall and chemistry lab. They both still found time to participate in Elon choral activities and band.

After graduating from Elon in 1961 with a degree in mathematics, Barbara Bass earned a master’s degree in mathematics education from the University of Viriginia, taught math and computer science for 40 years and received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

In 1985 she was elected to the Elon Board of Trustees and served as board secretary, vice-chair of the Campaign for the Elon Vision and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa committee. She provided dedicated counsel to both Lambert and his predecessor, J. Fred Young, during a period of significant change at Elon.

In recognition of her accomplishments and service, Barbara Bass was named Elon’s Distinguished Alumna of the Year in 1986 and this March, following nearly 30 years of board service, she was elected life trustee. She is one of only six trustees to receive that honor.

Walter Bass graduated from Elon in 1962 with a degree in biology and chemistry. He worked as a biochemist with American Tobacco Company for 34 years. He also served on Elon’s Presidential Board of Advisors and was on the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation during that time.

Passionate about his family’s history, Walter Bass devoted two years to restoring the 19th century Bass family farmhouse in South Boston, Va., which is now part of the couple’s home.

In their continued support of Elon, the couple established the Walter H. and Babara D. Bass Scholarship to give bright, talented students with financial need the opportunity to attend their alma mater.

Barbara and Walter Bass are active in their community. She is a member of the Foundation Board of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and serves as the president of the Halifax County Historical Society. He is a member of the Halifax County America Legion Post 8 and past member of the South Boston Rotary Club and Turbeville Ruritan Club.

Kate Donnelly Hickey

Kate Hickey
Kate Hickey[/caption]During her 16 years at Elon, Kate Hickey played an integral role in creating and continually improving Belk Library.

While library director, Hickey oversaw the move of Elon’s library resources from McEwen Building to the new Carol Grotnes Belk Library. Always calm and unassuming, Hickey had a knack for coming up with great ideas and giving her colleagues credit for them. 

Employing her extensive professional experience, Hickey doubled the size of the library collection, introduced online resources, created an information commons within the library and expanded the archives and special collections–all improvements that were key to Elon’s selection to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

Hickey and her staff made Belk Library a welcoming place that was available to students 24 hours a day, prompting students to nickname the library “Club Belk.”

In 2007 Hickey was promoted to dean and university librarian. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and master’s degree in library science from Clarion University. She was highly regarded by her peers for her service with the American Library Association and NC LIVE Librarians Council.

She and husband Robert Hickey Jr. have two children, Robert J. Hickey III and Marian Hickey Strait, and a grandson, Nicholas.

Mark Robert Albertson

Mark Albertson
Mark Albertson[/caption]For 35 years, Mark Albertson served Elon with boundless energy and enthusiasm and created an exceptional registrar’s office, setting a new standard for service to students and the institution.

Albertson joined the Elon staff in 1978 as assistant registrar and was named university registrar the following year. During his tenure, he personally certified about 26,300 students for graduation.

With a strong work ethic, attention to detail and an unwavering commitment to ensure each student graduated on time and in good standing, Albertson endeared himself to the Elon community, including many grateful parents.

Albertson served Elon during a time of considerable institutional growth and led many major initiatives to enhance the operations of his office, including the transition from manual to online registration. He was responsible for placing students’ transcripts online, streamlining one of the most important functions of the university.

In an effort to promote Elon, Albertson brought prominent people to campus, including Philip L. Carret, a New York investor whose connection to Albertson led to the establishment of the Philip L. Carret Thomas Jefferson Essay Competition, which Carret endowed with a generous gift to Elon. Albertson also helped develop Elon’s distinctive Winter Term program and courses such as The Business of NASCAR.

Albertson and wife Andrea ’97 are the parents of two children, Shannon Albertson ’93 G’96 and Macon Albertson ’95.

Neil Frank Bromilow

Neil Bromilow
Neil Bromilow[/caption]With creativity, humor and an unwavering dedication to his work, Neil Bromilow managed the design and construction of many of Elon’s outstanding facilities, helping to shape one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation.

Bromilow started working at Elon in 1995 as the director of the physical plan and was named director of construction management three years later and guided Elon through a dramatic period of institutional growth until his retirement in 2012.

With an engineer’s eye for detail, Bromilow skillfully managed multiple projects simultaneously and carefully stewarded university resources by bringing projects to completion on time and within budget. He supervised Elon projects from design to completion, including the construction of Belk Library, Rhodes Stadium, the Academic Village, Danieley Center residence halls, Colonnades Dining Hall and residence halls, Alumni Field House, Lindner Hall, Koury Business Center, Francis Center and the Station at Mill Point neighborhood. He also managed renovations to the School of Law, Koury Center, Powell Tennis Center, Latham Baseball Park, Johnston Hall, Holt Chapel and Alamance, Duke, Powell, Long, Mooney and Whitley buildings.

In the summer 2009, Bromilow oversaw the relocation of Holland House from main campus, across the railroad tracks to South Campus, where it serves as the Newman Center, home to Elon’s Catholic Campus Ministry.

Known for his dry sense of humor, Bromilow once compared his work to “riding on the interstate in the back of a pickup truck with bugs hitting you in the face, but at the end of the ride, you end up in a beautiful place.”

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering from New Mexico State and Penn State universities, respectively. He served 20 years with the Navy Construction Battalion–the Seabees–working on projects with NATO.

He and wife Estelle have two sons, Ian and Justin, and grandchildren.