Five alumni were honored during a Nov. 2 awards ceremony that kicked off the Homecoming festivities.
Surrounded by their mentors, families and fellow alumni, David A. Stevens ’81, Jill Rose ’00, Tony Weaver Jr. ’16, Angie Lovelace Walton ’10 and Carter M. Smith ’92 were recognized Friday with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards.
The ceremony kicked off the festivities for this year’s Homecoming celebration, which includes dozens of events for the hundreds of alumni who are returning to campus to reconnect with their alma mater and one another.
“It’s so exciting to me to hear about the impact of your Elon experience,” President Connie Ledoux Book told the award winners during the ceremony. “What I’m most proud of is the spirit of Elon that lives in each of you and your commitment to excellence.”
Since 1941, the Office of Alumni Engagement has presented awards to honor alumni of Elon University who serve as active partners, advocates and investors. The Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented annually during Homecoming weekend and are the highest accolades conferred by the Office of Alumni Engagement.
2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
David A. Stevens ’81
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year
Presented by Cliff Parker ’83
This award is presented to an alumnus who has distinguished himself in his profession and community and brought honor to Elon.
A seasoned professional with remarkable expertise in the banking industry, David A. Stevens is the mid-south division president for SunTrust Banks, Inc. He earned a business administration degree from Elon College in 1981. He later earned certifications from Foundations in Finance/CFO Training at The Globecon Group; the Young Executive Institute at Kenan-Flagler School of Business at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and the North Carolina School of Banking Advanced Management Program.
David joined SunTrust in 2010 as region president, responsible for business development in the major metropolitan areas along the I-40 corridor from Wilmington to Morganton, including the Triangle and Triad communities. He graduated from SunTrust’s Advanced Leadership Program the following year and completed the Graduate Leadership Program in 2012. Two years later, he assumed his current responsibilities overseeing North and South Carolina, and in November of 2017 the bank added Tennessee to his duties, creating the mid-south division. He has extensive banking and managerial experience gained through 29 years of service with Wells Fargo, formerly Wachovia, in North Carolina and Georgia.
Actively involved in the business community, David serves on the board of the North Carolina Chamber and is chairman of the North Carolina Bankers Association. He is a member of the CEO Advisory Council of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits and a former board member of the Boy Scouts of America Old North State Council and Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Board of Advisors. In 2011 he became involved with the American Heart Association–Triangle chapter, serving as the chairman of the 27th Annual Triangle Heart Ball’s record-breaking campaign, and fulfilling responsibilities as immediate past chairman in 2012.
Committed to supporting his alma mater, David and his wife, Beth, have made gifts to the Love School of Business and Sankey Hall, as well as a planned gift to endow the David A. Stevens ’81 Internship Scholarship, which is awarded to business students to help defray the cost of completing an internship. They live in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jill Rose ’00
Distinguished Alumna of the Year
Presented by Brian Feeley ’03
This award is presented to an alumna who has distinguished herself in her profession and community and brought honor to Elon.
Jill Rose’s grit and determination have allowed her to distinguish herself as a leader in the tech industry.
With more than a decade of experience in payments and e-commerce, Jill brings extensive knowledge of the industry and the issues that merchants face to her position as senior director and general manager of PayPal’s mid-market business segment in North America. Since joining the company in 2008, she has risen through the ranks and led many aspects of the company’s merchants business, including the global launch of PayPal Here and Large Enterprise Sales Operations. Her business unit is one of the largest contributors to the overall performance of the company.
A former member of the Elon Alumni Board, Jill graduated from Elon in 2000 with a degree in business administration and a minor in economics. Determined to earn an MBA, she took night classes at John Carroll University while working full time for MBNA Corp., where she worked in various functions, including risk and collections, for five years. She earned her master’s degree in 2005 and the following year joined Bill Me Later, Inc., which was created as an alternative payment method to provide consumers credit at online checkouts using proprietary risk models. There she led sales operations, product marketing and sales strategy until the company was acquired by PayPal in 2008.
While at Elon, Jill was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and a Business Fellow. And though she formed many lasting relationships during her years at Elon, none was as profound as her relationship with TJ Rose ’00, to whom she has been married for the past 15 years. Jill and TJ have remained faithful to their alma mater, making gifts to support Elon’s greatest needs and sponsoring a giving challenge during Elon Day 2018, which marked the single greatest day of giving in the institution’s history. A passionate animal lover and traveler, Jill and her family live in Phoenix, Maryland.
Tony Weaver Jr. ’16
Young Alumnus of the Year
Presented by Naeemah Clark
This award is presented to an alumnus who has graduated within the past 10 years and distinguished himself in a profession and in the community.
A tenacious communicator, Tony Weaver Jr. channels his passion for diversity and education through all his endeavors.
At Elon, the Lithonia, Georgia, native pursued degrees in theatre arts and strategic communications. He was active in several on-campus organizations, including “Newsbreakers,” “Elon Tonight” and Lambda Pi Eta, the communications honor society. He was also an inaugural recipient of Elon’s Leadership Prize and received an Elon Black Excellence Award.
It was while pursuing his studies at Elon that Tony volunteered at a local elementary school and was confronted with a lack of diversity in the stories being told by mass media outlets. Determined to provide a solution, in 2014 he founded Weird Enough Productions, a multimedia company pioneering diverse media representation through original content and media literacy education. Since then, Weird Enough Productions has created award-winning short films and comic series, while also bringing media literacy education to thousands of students across the country through its Get Media L.I.T. program, which allows educators to use comics to teach students how to combat fake news, identify media bias and create content of their own.
Tony’s efforts to use the power of technology to fight media misrepresentation have not gone unnoticed. He has received numerous fellowships, including from media and entertainment company NBCUniversal; the Peace First Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping young people around the world to become powerful peacemakers; the Echoing Green Foundation, an international organization that identifies exceptional emerging leaders and helps them impact the world; and Camelback Ventures, which aims to address the inequities of entrepreneurship by providing coaching, capital and connections to underrepresented entrepreneurs. In 2018 Forbes also named him in its “30 Under 30 Education 2018” list, recognizing top education entrepreneurs and innovators.
Angie Lovelace Walton ’10
Young Alumna of the Year
Presented by Janna Anderson
This award is presented to an alumna who has graduated within the past 10 years and distinguished herself in a profession and in the community.
Award-winning photo editor Angie Lovelace Walton has carved a successful career path after graduating from Elon in 2010 with a journalism degree. A native of Georgia, Angie is director of news and entertainment content at USA TODAY. Prior to that role, she served as a product manager, overseeing news and entertainment photo syndication at the company.
Angie was a photo editor and digital media manager for the USA TODAY/Arizona Republic journalism team that received the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. She was one of more than 150 reporters, photographers, editors and digital developers who spent a year working on “The Wall: Unknown Stories, Unintended Consequences,” a multimedia report that documented the border between the United States and Mexico. She processed the majority of the images used in the project and organized them in a cross-network database so developers and photo editors from all the contributing organizations had access to them.
Before assuming her current role, Angie was a photo editor for USA TODAY Sports Images, working both remotely and onsite at sporting events around the country and the world. She has been at the center of USA TODAY’s coverage of Olympics, Super Bowls, World Series and NBA Finals, among other events, and continues to travel to cover major sporting events. Prior to joining USA TODAY, she worked for CNN Digital as an associate producer and designer. At CNN she edited photographs for breaking news in high pressure situations—making both editorial and visual decisions—and worked to launch the CNN photo blog. An Elon Honors Fellow, Angie studied iconic photos of the Vietnam War and their influence on the era for her senior thesis. She also served as photo editor of the student-run newspaper, The Pendulum, and was a member of the Ultimate Frisbee club team during her time at Elon. When she is not busy working, Angie enjoys spending time with her family, husband Alex Walton ’10 and children Noelle and Zachary. They live in the Atlanta area.
Carter M. Smith ’92
Distinguished Service to Elon
Presented by King White ’80
This award is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and advancement of Elon.
The leadership skills Carter M. Smith acquired as an undergraduate student at Elon continue to distinguish him as a leader in his field and community.
While pursuing a degree in political science, Carter was actively involved in Elon’s Student Government Association, serving in multiple capacities including as SGA president his senior year. He was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society; Kappa Sigma Fraternity, where he served as vice president; and Order of Omega, which recognizes fraternity men and women who have attained a high standard of leadership.
A seasoned biotech sales professional, Carter is an executive specialty representative for Amgen, the leading biotech company in the world. He is responsible for overseeing a sales territory that produces more than $55 million in annual revenue, as well as providing current and comprehensive clinical knowledge of the company’s products. As a result of his accomplishments and leadership, he has received multiple Amgen awards and recognitions, including the President’s Golden Circle award in 2005, the President’s Leadership Circle award in 2009 and two Team Excellence Awards in 2012 and 2017, respectively.
But Carter’s leadership goes beyond the business world. He is an active member of his community in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, serving in the Winston-Salem Northwest Area Plan Citizens Advisory Committee and volunteering as a coach for his sons in various sports over the years. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, he has served as a member of the Outreach Funding Advisory Council and currently serves on the finance committee. He also serves as the Piedmont/Triangle district president for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity with responsibilities over five university chapters.
Always loyal to his alma mater, Carter has remained active serving as a youth trustee and as a member of the Elon National Alumni Executive Board. He is also active with the Lambda-Lambda Alumni Association of Kappa Sigma at Elon, having been named the alumnus of the year in 2004 and 2005 and receiving the Outstanding Assistant District President Award by Kappa Sigma International Fraternity in 2017. A proud member of Elon’s Order of the Oak and The 1889 Society, he has been a class reunion volunteer and has hosted multiple university sponsored events at his Winston-Salem home.