Three outstanding alumni from Elon College, the College of Arts & Sciences, were honored Thursday at an annual awards celebration.
Larry F. Hodges ’74, a professor of human-centered computing at Clemson University, Christina Peterson ’10, a senior account manager with Telecom at Google, and Phillip “Andy” Ellen ’92, president and general counsel for the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, received the 2018 Elon College Distinguished Alumni Awards April 26 in recognition for their significant contributions to their professions and bringing honor to the school and Elon.
“I cannot tell you how important it is to the future of the university for our alumni to be out doing good in the world,” said President Connie Ledoux Book during the ceremony. “We are so grateful when we hear news of your success, and that’s what we are celebrating today. Thank you for taking your Elon education and making a difference in the world.”
Elon College Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Natural, Mathematical & Computing Sciences
Larry F. Hodges ’74
Professor in the Human-Centered Computing Division of the School of Computing, Clemson University, South Carolina
Larry F. Hodges graduated from Elon with degrees in mathematics and physics. He later earned a master’s degree in religion at Lancaster Theological Seminary and master’s and doctoral degrees at North Carolina State University. He began his teaching career in 1988 at Georgia Tech where he was a faculty member for 14 years and was a founding faculty member of both the College of Computing and the GVU Center.
He joined Clemson University in 2008 and now serves as a professor of human-centered computing in the School of Computing, a faculty fellow of the Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership and a faculty scholar in the School of Health Research. From 2008–13, he served as the C. Tycho Howle Director of the School of Computing, where he led the school in substantially increasing their external funding, number of majors, number and diversity of faculty and support staff, and laboratory facilities. Prior to joining Clemson, he served as chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he took the department from 14 faculty members to more than 30 in six years.
His research interests include the design, implementation and verification of health care technology for both treatment and training. In addition to his academic experience, he recently co-founded Recovr LLC, a startup company that is involved in research, design and development of virtual reality rehabilitation systems for physical and neurological therapy. In 1996 he also co-founded Virtually Better, Inc., the world leader in providing virtual reality systems for behavioral health care in both clinical and research organizations. Hodges has received a number of awards for both his academic work and contributions to the commercial use of virtual reality in clinical settings, including the 2006 IEEE Virtual Reality Career Award for Seminar Contributions to Clinical Applications of Virtual Reality. A prolific researcher, Hodges has more than 150 reviewed publications and two patents that have been cited in the clinical scientific literature more than 10,000 times.
Elon College Distinguished Alumna Award in the Arts & Humanities
Christina Peterson ’10
Senior account manager with Telecom at Google, New York
Christina Peterson graduated from Elon in 2010 with degrees in French and international studies and a minor in business. She moved to Paris shortly after graduation to pursue a master’s degree in cross-cultural and sustainable business management from American University in Paris.
While in Paris, and after completing numerous internships in French companies, she joined Orange Telecommunications, a prominent French telecommunications company, first as a marketing consultant and later as a strategic marketing manager. In those roles, she helped clients understand and better integrate new digital tools within their companies. In 2015 she returned to the United States to join Google as an account manager in its telecom division.
During her time at Elon, Peterson was a member of Pi Delta Phi, the National French Honor Society, and vice president of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. She also worked as an orientation leader. She has remained connected to her alma mater, returning in 2016 to participate in the first annual Undergraduate Conference on Languages and Cultures (UCLC), sponsored by the Department of World Languages. She was part of a panel on professionalization, in which she talked to students about how her arts and science degree at Elon and her experience as a French major have contributed to her successful career trajectory. She has also served as a reunion volunteer for Homecoming and is active both at Elon and at American University in Paris with alumni mentorship programs. She lives in New York.
Elon College Distinguished Alumnus Award in the Social Sciences
Phillip “Andy” Ellen ’92
President and general counsel for the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association
Phillip “Andy” Ellen graduated from Elon in 1992 with a political science degree. He later earned his Juris Doctor from Campbell University in 1997. Shortly after he joined the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association as general counsel, a role he maintains to this day. In addition, he was appointed president of the association in 2012.
Ellen, who has overall responsibility for leading NCRMA and its seven affiliated companies, is passionate about achieving the association’s mission of promoting a positive legislative and regulatory environment for the retail industry in order to enhance members’ opportunities for success. The NC Center for Public Policy Research has ranked Ellen as one of the most 15 influential lobbyists in recent years. He was also ranked as the third most-effective lobbyist for the 2011 Legislative Session and was a recipient of the 2014 Triangle Business Journal’s Corporate Counsel Awards.
Originally from Southern Pines, North Carolina, Ellen lives in Wake Forest with his wife, Tricia, and their two daughters, Julia and Jenna.