The current associate director of the center was chosen following a national search.
A talented and experienced Elon administrator and educator, Bob Frigo, has been named the new assistant dean of campus life and director of the Kernodle Center for Civic Life. He will be responsible for providing strategic leadership for a comprehensive vision to support civic life, service learning and community engagement at Elon.
Frigo will start in his new role on June 1, 2021 and will succeed Mary Morrison, who is retiring after 16 years of distinguished service at the university.
“Elon has a reputation for excellence in service learning and civic engagement, and it should not be surprising that a national search would determine that the right leader to continue the evolution of these efforts at Elon was already here helping to lead this work at the university,” said Jon Dooley, vice president for student life, in a message to the community. “Those who are familiar with Bob’s work know that he is a visionary, thoughtful educator who is dedicated to civic engagement and a passionate advocate for Elon’s mission in preparing global citizens and informed leaders motivated by concern for the common good.”
Frigo will lead the Kernodle Center after serving as the associate director since June 2013. In that role he has helped lead community and civic engagement programs, advised student leaders, led the efforts to create the Elon Votes voter registration and education initiatives, supervised the America Reads federal work study program, developed a leadership institute for students responsible for service, volunteer and community engagement programs, and assisted with the creation of strategic plans for the Kernodle Center and the Division of Student Life.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to work in collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and community partners to harness the transformative power of higher education and advance the public good to create a more just society,” Frigo said.
After graduating from Marquette University with a bachelor’s degree in English, Frigo started his career in higher education in student activities, first as a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, where he earned a master’s degree in student personnel services, and later at the University of Birmingham in England and the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
Frigo earned a second master’s degree, in Irish literature, at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland and became the director of the study center for the Earle W. Newton Center for British-American Studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He later served as assistant director of the University Honors Program for Georgia Southern University, where he supported the honors program and created and directed the university’s advising and selection process for national and international competitive scholarships and fellowships. As assistant director of the Park Scholarships program at North Carolina State University, Frigo helped administer the merit-based scholarship program and instructed a weekly seminar and enrichment activities for first-year students.
In addition to his administrative roles at Elon, Frigo has also served as an instructor for the first-year writing program, teaching ENG 110, Writing: Argument and Inquiry.
Frigo has been active with the North Carolina Campus Compact, serving as a member of the advisory board since 2018. He was recognized by Elon with the Student Life Academic Partnership Award in 2018, the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility in 2017, and the Barbara H. Carlton Outstanding Organization Advisor Award in 2014.
The Kernodle Center for Civic Life was formed as the “Center for Service-Learning” in 1995 and became the home for a number of existing service programs, such as Elon Volunteers!, Habitat for Humanity, and the service living learning community. Two years later, an endowment gift from the John R. Kernodle, Sr. family officially named the center in honor of John Robert Kernodle, Jr. Programs and staffing have been added as the university has grown in size and the commitment to service and community engagement continued to deepen. The 2020 change in the name of the center to “Kernodle Center for Civic Life” recognized the constellation of service, community and civic engagement, and political engagement initiatives that are now part of the center’s work.