Christine Gordon P'16, P'19 and her late husband, Sheldon, established a new endowed professorship of entrepreneurship.
The Elon community gathered Wednesday to celebrate the generosity of Sheldon and Christine Gordon P'16, P'19 and the Gordon family in establishing an endowed professorship of entrepreneurship.
Surrounded by Elon students, faculty, staff and friends in the Burbridge Atrium in the Koury Business Center on Wednesday, Christine Gordon was presented with a plaque recognizing the support the Gordon family has provided to the university. Sheldon Gordon, a visionary real estate developer from West Haven, Connecticut, passed away on Sept. 28, 2017. The Gordons were both members of Elon’s Parents Council and Christine is still a Parents Council member.
"My husband's entire career and even those interests he pursued outside of his professional world all had to do with this creative zest to do things that really hadn't been done before," Gordon told the crowd.
Haya Ajjan, associate professor of management information systems, will serve as the first Sheldon and Christine Gordon Professor in Entrepreneurship, with the gift of the Gordon family working to infuse an entrepreneurial spirit and to foster creative thinking across campus. The new endowed professorship was established in 2016, and Ajjan's selection as the first Gordon Professor was announced in October during Evening for Elon in New York.
President Connie Ledoux Book said Wednesday that entrepreneurship at Elon empowers students to recognize opportunities and explore new ideas. It helps them learn strategies for developing systematic approaches to problems through design thinking, and assists them in finding their purpose.
"The Gordon Professorship is a commitment to supporting faculty members who instill these values in our students," Book said.
Ajjan said she's inspired by the vision and innovation that Sheldon Gordon demonstrated throughout his professional and personal life. His life is a "powerful story of belief, struggle and emergence," Ajjan said.
"I'm honored to hold the Gordon Professorship and I promise to work relentlessly to spread innovation and celebrate entrepreneurship on campus," Ajjan said. "I pledge to teach our students how to dream big, and to bounce back after failing."
Gordon was joined at the event by her daughter Katie, a member of the Class of 2019. Her other daughter, Martine, is a 2016 graduate who is now living and working in New York City.