Elon’s 2020-21 faculty retirees recognized

At the annual Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon on May 12, the Elon community honored faculty and staff members who are retiring this year.

Retiring faculty and staff members were recognized May 12 for their contributions and service to Elon at the annual Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon in Schar Center.

The gathering Wednesday offered an opportunity to thank these university employees for their service and wish them well in what’s next in their lives. Faculty members retiring in 2020-21 are:

Kevin Boyle

Professor of English

Kevin Boyle will retire from Elon in December 2021 after 29 years at Elon. Boyle served as chair or the Department of English for four years and as coordinator for the Creative Writing Program for roughly 15 years. Boyle especially loves to teach creative writing and says that is what he will miss the most about working at Elon.

Boyle will retire in the fall after teaching one final poetry class at Elon. In the meantime, he has been working on a bit of his own poetry to share his thoughts on life after Elon.

“I started a poem the other day in which I quote—and aspire to imitate—Shakespeare’s Prospero on his retirement to Milan:  ‘Every third thought shall be my grave.’  As the poem progresses, it’s eventually every fifth thought, then a thought of the grave every fortnight, until finally the speaker forgets his pledge and just lives as if death doesn’t exist,” Boyle said. “I guess that’s my plan, plus writing more poems, plus traveling to countries with my wife where I can practice my horrible Spanish, Italian and French.  And my more horrible German?—auf wiedersehen.”

David Copeland

A.J. Fletcher Professor, Professor of Journalism and Distinguished University Professor

David Copeland came to Elon as the A.J. Fletcher Professor in 2001. In addition to his role as a professor of journalism, Copeland served as graduate program director for the School of Communications for 12 years.

Copeland says joining Elon “was like moving to what I considered the perfect program for communications.” He had previously served in a communications department at another institution and noticed the department was using Elon’s School of Communications as an example of how curriculum and facilities created the ideal learning atmosphere for students. “We said that competing with a program like Elon’s made it nearly impossible for us to recruit students,” Copeland said.

Copeland says he will miss the support he received and friendships he a made in his time at the university. He will also cherish the moments spent sharing knowledge with students. “Interacting with students in so many ways while watching them grow as humans has been my greatest reward as a teacher,” Copeland said.

Copeland will officially retire from Elon on May 21 and plans to read, play “ol’ time fiddle music,” work around the house, spend time with his dogs and family, and travel.

Vicky Fischer Faw

Professor of Music

After more than 30 years of teaching at Elon, Victoria Fischer Faw will begin retirement this summer. Many in the Elon community know Fischer Faw from her wonderful Piano Pedagogy program, which provides piano lessons to community children through a structured pedagogy curriculum for piano students at Elon. Fischer Faw is also a familiar face on stage, having played several concerts over the years, including with her most recent collaborative creation, the Phoenix Piano Trio.  As an invaluable mentor, Fischer Faw has diligently guided Elon students through many undergraduate research projects, performances and presentations, contributing to their success in graduate schools and beyond.

In addition to her roles as professor of music and coordinator of piano and piano pedagogy, Fischer Faw has also served as president of the Elon chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and chair of the Promotions and Tenure Committee. She has also served on the General Studies Revisions and Faculty Scholarship task forces. Fischer Faw has led students on study abroad experiences in Belize, London, Greece, Italy and Austria/Hungary, and participated in the pilot program for First-Year Global Perspectives and writing initiatives.

Fischer Faw has made countless memories since joining the Elon community as a faculty member in 1990. Her favorites involved “the joy of success when students work so hard for so long and achieve their personal best on stage in performance, research presentations and auditions.”

As Fischer Faw begins retirement, she plans to keep sharing her knowledge with the world. “I am a musician and teacher, so I’ll be making music and teaching one way or the others,” she said. “I have lots of projects in progress, but I do look forward to slowing down the pace and having more time for home and family.”

Kathy Gallucci

Associate Professor of Biology

Kathy Gallucci moved from Syracuse to Greensboro with her husband, who was teaching at UNCG, in the 80s. She was originally hired part-time as the lab coordinator in Elon’s Biology Department in 1984. Since then, Gallucci has been an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor of biology at Elon.

In her 37 years at the university, Gallucci says she most enjoyed “witnessing the ‘aha’ moments when students learn new concepts, and working with dynamic and supportive colleagues.”

Following her retirement in August 2021, Gallucci plans to “exhale, and then to read, travel and volunteer more.”

Don Grady

Associate Dean and Associate Professor in the School of Communications

Don Grady, associate dean of the School of Communications and associate professor

Don Grady joined the Elon community in 1985 after working five years as an adjunct instructor and director of public speaking in the Department of Communication at N.C. State University. Grady initially joined the faculty at Elon as an associate professor and later became the coordinator of the journalism and communication major in the then Department of Literature, Languages and Journalism & Communications.

Grady served as the Communications Department’s first chair when it became a stand-alone department. Grady held that position for five years and later became department chair a second time before taking on the role of associate dean for the newly created School of Communications.

On what he will miss the most about Elon, Grady points to the opportunity to work with his colleagues in the continuing evolution of one of the finest communications programs in the country.

“Over the last 35 years, I have been involved in curriculum development, facilities planning, equipment purchases, and I have interviewed and been involved in hiring many of the faculty members in the School of Communications,” Grady said. “It has been a real joy seeing so many of our student majors succeed in journalism and communications professions.”

Grady officially retired in December 2020 and now plans to spend time consulting with communication programs across the country on curriculum and program development, accreditation, and assessment of student learning.

Jon Metzger

Professor of Music and Artist-in-Residence

Jon Metzger, considered “A Star Vibist” by Jazztimes, came to Elon in 1989 to teach percussion and jazz studies courses. Metzger began his time at Elon as an artist-in-residence before moving on to roles as a coordinator of jazz studies, and later an assistant, associate and full professor of music. Metzger also served as chair of Elon’s Department of Music.

Metzger leaves Elon with more than three decades of unforgettable experiences. “I’ll always have fond memories of our percussion ensemble concerts each semester; all of our 25 annual jazz festivals and all the musicians who came to Elon for them; and traveling with the Elon jazz ensemble to festivals in the states (like the East Coast Jazz Festival in DC) and abroad in Austria, Germany, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, and Denmark,” Metzger said.

Although Metzger is retiring from Elon, the internationally known musician plans to continue performing and recording in retirement. As an artist, Metzger has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant for Performance and appeared at well-known jazz venues across the U.S. and around the world. Metzger has led his quartet on tours of Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Austria. He has played for kings and queens and other heads of state while serving as a jazz ambassador to more than 20 foreign countries in the Near East, Northern and Sub-Sahara Africa, and Central America under the auspices of the United States Information Agency’s Arts America Program.

Susan Patton

Deputy Registrar and Assistant Professor

AUGUST 21, 2014: portrait Susan Patton. (photo by Kim Walker)

Susan Patton joined the Elon community in February 1991 after years of working in education previously. Patton remembers responding to a Want Ad in the newspaper, describing an assistant registrar position at then Elon College. “I can do that,” she thought.

That response would launch Patton’s career at Elon as an assistant registrar, then associate registrar, senior associate registrar and finally deputy registrar. Patton also serves as an assistant professor and helped guide Elon 101 students for 20 years.

“I may have only been in one office (physically I have only been in one office as well… probably a record for Elon), but I learned everything there is to know about the academic catalog, room scheduling, semester booklets, academic calendar, apostilles, researching historic questions from Dr. Danieley, and to be sure, how to follow the academic rules,” Patton said.

When asked about her favorite memories, Patton pointed to the treasured moments where she had the chance to help students who were worried they wouldn’t graduate on time. “They would walk into my office, almost in tears, shoulders slumped, and looking like it was the end of the world,” Patton said. “After going through the audit and discussing the students’ plans, we almost always found a working solution. In so many instances, they would break into a huge smile, some shed tears of happiness and relief, and some gave me an instantaneous hug.”

As Patton prepares to retire from Elon in May, after spending 30 years at the university, she says she will miss Elon’s wonderful faculty and staff who welcomed and helped her over the years, the students who “kept me young,” and University Registrar Rod Parks.

In retirement, Patton plans to spend time in her garden with her husband, Steve. “Who can resist the smell of fresh-turned earth or see the first spring bloom reach out to the sun or the first scents of a freshly mowed lawn,” she asked. Patton’s future plans also include traveling more and delving into the art of watercolor painting.

Woody Pelton

Dean of Global Education

Woody Pelton joined the Elon community in May 2009 as dean of global education. “I felt very lucky to have the opportunity to join the strong global program that already existed at Elon,” he said.

Pelton led Elon’s study abroad program that has gained international recognition. For a 16th consecutive year, Elon was ranked #1 among the nation’s doctoral universities in the percentage of students who study abroad by the Institute of International Education. Elon’s study abroad program also received a top ranking in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guide for most popular study abroad program.

Pelton says he will most miss the opportunity to work with Elon’s talented educators in creating opportunities for students, faculty and staff.

Pelton, who retired on April 1, 2021, plans to remain busy in his next chapter. He and his wife Chris will remain in Burlington, where Pelton will serve on the board for the Council on International Education Exchange, the largest study abroad provider in the United States. He will also serve on the board for Preservation Burlington and work with the Academic Advisory Council for Elon’s partner AEF in Florence, Italy.

But, retirement won’t be all work, Pelton says: “No doubt we will spend more time visiting our kids and granddaughter in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Santa Barbara, California.”

Beth Warner

Associate Professor of Human Service Studies

Beth Warner joined Elon and the Department of Human Service Studies in the fall of 2003, excited about the opportunity to innovate through teaching and programs.

In 18 years at Elon, Warner has held positions as associate professor and chair of the Department of Human Service Studies.

As she prepares for retirement in August 2021, Warner says she will cherish the memories she created with fellow faculty. “My department colleagues, by far, have been my favorite thing about working at Elon over the years,” Warner said. “I will miss all the wonderful conversations, the support we gave each other and the focus on providing the best education and experience for students.”

Warner says she is looking forward to more time to garden, travel and work on social justice issues in her retirement.

Other retiring faculty recognized during the May 12 ceremony were: Richard Lee, lecturer in English; Gene Medler, adjunct instructor in performing arts; George Padgett, associate professor in the School of Communications; and Jamane Yeager, Electronic Access Librarian and Assistant Librarian.

An article recognizing Elon staff members who are retiring this year will be published on Today at Elon on Friday, May 28, following the Staff Appreciation Day event.