Three awarded the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor

President Connie Ledoux Book presented the medallion to a retired faculty member, a retired staff member and a long-time Cone Health executive and supporter of the School of Health Sciences. Faculty members selected for named professorships were also honored as the faculty/staff Planning Week got underway. 

Honored with Elon Medallions on Monday, Aug. 19, were, from left, Lisa Pennington, Thomas Henricks and Pam Brumbaugh. 
A faculty member and staff member who retired after decades of dedicated work at Elon University and a longtime supporter of Elon’s School of Health Sciences were honored on Monday, Aug. 19, with the university’s highest honor — the Elon Medallion. The medallions were awarded by President Connie Ledoux Book at the start of the annual faculty/staff planning week that marks the beginning of the academic year.

The university also recognized four faculty members who were selected for named professorships from a variety of disciplines based on their scholarship, teaching, mentorship and service.

Elon Medallions

Receiving Elon Medallions were: Thomas Hendricks, who retired in 2018 as a Distinguished University Professor after 41 years at Elon, Lisa Pennington, a Cone Health executive who supported the creation and growth of the School of Health Sciences, and Pam Brumbaugh, who worked for more than three decades to support experiential education for Elon students.

Pam Brumbaugh

When Pam Brumbaugh joined the Elon community in August 1986 as director of experiential education and an assistant professor, she was eager to share the positive effects of the practice of experiential learning on students and to design and grow an experiential learning program at the university. It was a title she would hold and a vital role she would play for the next 31 years.

Brumbaugh recruited, trained and developed a team of individuals who truly embodied and believed in the values of Elon and the power of a well-rounded education and led them to transform student employment services. With Brumbaugh’s leadership and guidance, this team cultivated a nationally recognized program that encourages hands-on involvement inside and outside of the classroom.

Brumbaugh helped form Elon’s student learning approach and aided in the creation of the Experiential Learning requirement of the Elon Core Curriculum. Brumbaugh managed the university’s prestigious Washington Center Internship program for 26 years, including service on the Washington Center Advisory board.

Brumbaugh’s tireless work and foresight to build a recognizable student program earned her several awards in experiential learning. Her honors include the Outstanding Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Employers in 2002 and the group’s Outstanding Professional Award in 2007, the North Carolina Career Development Association’s Roy N. Anderson Award in 2011, the National Society for Experiential Education’s John S. Duley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, and the 2015 Elon Administrative Staff Member of the Year Award.  

Brumbaugh has shared her passion for experiential learning across the nation, speaking at conventions and teaching sessions on behalf of Elon and sharing the joy her work brings her.

Upon her retirement in 2017, Brumbaugh said, “It has been fun to design, implement and promote experiential programming at Elon and watch us grow into a premier purveyor of experiential learning. And, of course, I will miss the people I work with most of all.”

Brumbaugh has thoughtfully engaged faculty, staff and students and demonstrated outstanding dedication to student success, career development and the expansion of experiential learning.

Thomas Henricks

For more than four decades, Thomas Henricks dedicated himself to teaching, scholarship, advising, service and administration at Elon.

Henricks joined the Elon faculty in 1977 following his experiences as a social worker in Chicago and after he obtained his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago. During his time at Elon, Henricks would advance to become one of the world’s premier scholars in the sociology of play, games and sport while transforming the lives of the thousands of students he taught and mentored.

In 1990, he was awarded the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching for his research, scholarship and teaching, which including gaining support for his scholarship by the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Henricks’ vision of the role of faculty at Elon was integral to defining the university’s teacher-scholar model, through which faculty hone their scholarship and enhance their teaching through sabbaticals and course release time.

Henricks helped found the Department of Sociology at Elon, serving as its first chair from 1984 to 1991. Elon recognized Henricks in 1997 as its first J. Earl Danieley Professor in recognition of his status as one of the university’s finest teachers and scholars.

Six years later, Henricks was named Elon’s second Distinguished University Professor, one of only six to receive with the honor to-date. The distinction was based upon Henricks’ meritorious service to the university and exceptional scholarship, which includes more than 30 articles, numerous manuscripts, books and multiple reviews in scholarly publications.

Beyond the classroom, Henricks led campus-wide committees to improve structures of faculty governance and administrative organization, served as adviser to the Faculty Resource Center, organized Numen Lumen conversations on issues of concern to faculty and provided excellent leadership as dean of social sciences and associate dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

Nationally, Henricks as served on the executive board of the Association for the Study of Play and has been recognized for his scholarly contributions to the field with the Brian Sutton-Smith Play Scholar Award.

Lisa Pennington

For nearly four decades, Lisa Pennington has faithfully served the Elon and Alamance County communities as a trailblazer, successful professional at Alamance Regional Medical Center (ARMC) and Cone Health, and as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Health Sciences. Pennington has worked tirelessly to address the need for an increased number of qualified health professionals in Alamance County and the surrounding community.

Through her work and support of the university, she became a fixture at Elon, serving with distinction on the feasibility committees for the physical therapy education and physician assistant studies graduate programs, as well as the search committees for the founding faculty members for both programs, which today are recognized as among the university’s finest.

Pennington served as the lead writer for two successful grants from the Duke Endowment that, along with funding from ARMC and Cone Health, provided significant start-up resources for the graduate-level physical therapy education and physician assistant studies programs, paving the way for the launch of the School of Health Sciences in 2011. She also helped establish at ARMC vital clinical rotations for Elon’s physical therapy and physician assistant students and supported ARMC faculty teaching in the School of Health Sciences.  

Pennington participated in the feasibility study for Elon’s anatomical gift program, which celebrates the priceless gift of one’s body to education and launched in 2017. She was instrumental in the launch of the Elon-Alamance Health Partners Program that offers recent Elon graduates opportunities to serve and improve the health of Alamance County residents.

Pennington served as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy Education from 1998 until January 2019, and currently serves as chief of community and corporate well-being with Cone Health in Greensboro. She serves on numerous boards and councils, including the Alamance Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, which she currently chairs, and has received many awards, including being named a Fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Named Professorships

Selected for endowed professorships were, from left, Andrea Sinn, Steve DeLoach and Amanda Chunco.
Monday’s event included an opportunity to recognize the Elon faculty members who have been selected this year for named professorships.

Assistant Professor of History Andrea Sinn has been named the Stella S. and John C. O’Briant Developing Professor in History, which is given in recognition of outstanding teaching and for guiding students to understand the paths of inquiry and discovery.

Professor of Economics and Chair of the Department of Economics Steve DeLoach has been named the Martha and Spencer Love Term Professor, an endowed professorship designated for leadership in the enhancement of the research profile of the Love School of Business.    

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Amanda Chunco has been named the Japheth E. Rawls Professor for Undergraduate Research in Science, which is to encourage and support the efforts of faculty in the natural sciences to engage students in the scholarship of scientific discovery.