Residence halls naming dedication for Global Neighborhood set for Oct. 9

The university community is invited to celebrate the building namings in honor of emeriti faculty and staff members Russell B. Gill, G. Smith Jackson and Nan P. Perkins at a formal ceremony and reception.

The Elon University community is invited to attend the formal dedication of three residence halls in the Global Neighborhood in honor of emeriti faculty and staff members who provided long and distinguished service to the university. The buildings will be named in honor of Professor Emeritus of English Russell B. Gill, Vice President Emeritus G. Smith Jackson and Vice President Emerita Nan P. Perkins.

A dedication ceremony will take place Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in the Great Hall of Global Commons, followed by a reception.

Located on the shore of Lake Mary Nell, the Global Neighborhood opened in two phases in 2013 and 2014 and features five residence halls and the 50,000-square-foot Global Commons building. President Book announced the namings during her Aug. 20 address to faculty and staff to mark the opening of the 2018–19 academic year. 

Russell B. Gill Hall

Russell B. Gill served the university for nearly four decades in many important leadership roles, including Maude Sharpe Powell Professor and Distinguished University Professor, before his retirement in 2014.

He joined the Elon faculty in 1976, serving as chair of the department of literature, languages and communications, the predecessor to the Department of English, from 1983 to 1988. True to his commitment to academic excellence, he spearheaded revisions to the General Studies curriculum in the 1990s as part of Elon’s change to the four-credit-hour system.

Gill held many significant leadership roles at Elon, serving as coordinator of humanities and director of general studies in 1994. From 1996 to 2000, Gill served as dean of arts and humanities. He also served as Faculty Fellow for the university’s living-learning community initiative.

A respected and accomplished scholar and teacher, Gill instilled a love of learning in thousands of students, whether he was teaching basic composition or 17th and 18th century British and European literature. In recognition of his dedication to students and learning, he was chosen to receive the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1986. His unwavering dedication to intellectual inquiry made him the ideal choice to chair Elon’s Phi Beta Kappa Steering Committee and successfully lead the university’s quest to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, achieved in 2010, and to serve as the first president of Elon’s Eta chapter. For his many contributions to Elon, he was awarded the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor, in 2015.

G. Smith Jackson Hall

A charismatic administrator, Smith Jackson served Elon’s students with integrity and dedication for more than 24 years. He joined Elon in 1994 as dean of students and was promoted to vice president in 1998. As a member of President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert’s senior staff, Jackson was responsible for all aspects of student life, including 15 departments that provided student services and co-curricular programs for student learning and development.

Jackson was instrumental in shaping the modern Elon, building a student life program that is a national model, fully integrated with the intellectual life of the campus. He was also a highly visible leader on campus, communicating regularly about issues of safety and security and providing a calm and comforting voice in difficult times.

Jackson, who stepped down from his role as vice president for student life and dean of students in 2017, currently serves as assistant to the president. In addition, for the past two and a half years he coordinated the design and launch of the new Master of Arts in Higher Education program housed in Elon’s School of Education, which launched this year.

Among the many recognitions Jackson has received are the Residence Life Golden Key Award; the Phillips-Perry Lifetime Service Award from the Center for Race, Ethnicity & Diversity and the Black Student Union; the LGBT Alumni Community Enrichment Award; and the Civic Engagement Professional of the Year Award from North Carolina Campus Compact.

Elon’s Student Government Association created the Outstanding Student Mentor Award in his name and the Elon chapter of the National Residence Hall Honorary bears his name.

Nan P. Perkins Hall

Nan Perkins served Elon for 32 years as a valued member of the senior staff, a close adviser to two presidents and as vice president for enrollment management and vice president for university advancement, guiding the institution to new levels of national visibility and excellence in academics, communications and philanthropy, and helping to shape and tell the Elon story.

Perkins began her Elon career in 1976 as a part-time English instructor before joining President J. Fred Young’s staff as director of communications. In 1985 she launched the Office of Publications, the predecessor of today’s Office of University Communications, where she managed internal and external communications as director of publications and public information. Under her leadership, Elon received numerous awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, setting a new standard for college and university publications nationwide.

In 1988–89 Perkins conceptualized and coordinated Elon’s Centennial celebration before becoming dean of admissions and financial planning in 1990. During her tenure in admissions, applications increased 30 percent and the SAT average for incoming students increased more than 100 points, enabling Elon to emerge on the national scene and achieve recognition in national college and university rankings and guidebooks.

Perkins was named vice president for institutional advancement in 2000, presiding over the conclusion of the $47 million Elon Vision campaign and laying the groundwork for the $100 million Ever Elon campaign, the largest comprehensive fundraising effort in Elon’s history.

Perkins and her late husband, Ed, have been generous supporters of Elon, including endowing the Edward T. and Nan P. Perkins Scholarship. She was awarded the Elon Medallion in 2011 for her outstanding leadership and distinguished service to Elon.