Five members of the Elon community were honored for their contributions to the university and the LGBTQ community during the Nov. 5 ceremony.
Bud Harrelson ’99, Jonathan Shutt ’05, Ket Cordova ’23, Professor of English Kathy Lyday and Professor of Art History Kirstin Ringelberg were honored during the LGBTQIA Alumni Network Community Enrichment Awards Brunch on Saturday in McKinnon Hall as part of the Homecoming & Reunion Weekend festivities.
The Community Enrichment Awards were established in 2012, the same year the LGBTQIA Alumni Network was founded, born out of the need and desire to create opportunities to affirm and acknowledge the work alumni, faculty, and staff have done to uplift their LGBTQ within the campus and communities at-large.
In 2018, an additional honor was created, the Matthew Antonio Bosh Student Award. Named in honor of Matthew Antonio Bosch, former director of Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center, for his contributions to and support for the LGBTQIA communities at Elon, this award recognizes students who are making great impacts on Elon’s campus through their representation and advocacy.
“Today has been such a wonderful reminder of how interconnected our journeys truly are and I hope you are each inspired to continue advocating for and supporting the LGBTQIA community,” said Courtney MacMasters ’18, the network’s president, during her closing remarks. “Congratulations again to each of our deserving award winners.”
Community Enrichment Awards Honorees
Bud Harrelson ’99
Bud Harrelson graduated from Elon in 1999 with degrees in chemistry and science education. After leaving Elon, Harrelson taught high school chemistry at Northeast Guilford High School. In his second year of teaching, he joined the faculty of Greensboro Middle College at Greensboro College – a school designed to encourage potential dropouts to graduate high school and transition into college. Bud credits the students, families and faculty at Greensboro Middle College for teaching him to focus on relationships and the whole person and content mastery will follow.
Harrelson transitioned to school and district leadership. He left the middle college to lead the International Baccalaureate program at Grimsley High School. Under his leadership, the program grew in student participation, diploma completion, and curriculum offerings. Due to his success at Grimsley, Harrelson moved to Winton-Salem Forsyth County Schools where he served as the district’s Academically Gifted Program coordinator. While in Winston-Salem, Harrelson led a school reform initiative designed to create a single school culture around academics, behavior and climate. Capitalizing on the talent of the faculty to meet the needs of the students, student achievement increased in all schools that implemented the model. Soon, the entire district utilized the protocols of Single School Culture. During his time in Winston, Harrelson earned a graduate certificate in academically gifted education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a Master of School Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Harrelson departed Winston-Salem to pursue a doctorate in education at UNC full-time. His research focuses on creating safer schools for LGBTQ people, especially queer employees. While at UNC, Harrelson served as an executive board member of Safe Schools NC – a nonprofit whose mission is to create safer schools for LGTBTQ people in NC. As a board member, Harrelson lead SSNC’s efforts to offer an annual statewide conference for educators where they could become more aware of the needs of queer students, families and colleagues, and develop strategies for support them in and out of school. Harrelson also served as president of Elon’s LGBTQIA Alumni Network. During his tenure as president, we saw growth in membership, philanthropy, and Elon Day participation.
Harrelson has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America since the third grade. As an adult, he served nationally on the BSA’s national diversity committee. He is recognized nationwide as an advocate for LGBTQ people in the Boy Scouts – who only recently changed their membership policies to welcome openly gay and transgender members. Harrelson is now employed full-time with the Boy Scouts where he serves as the local camp director. While LGBTQ advocacy is no longer his primary role in Scouting, he does strive to create a welcoming and inclusive summer camp culture that meets the needs of all Scouts.
Jonathan Shutt ’05
Jon Shutt’s Elon roots run deep as he is the grandson of beloved President Emeritus Earl Danieley ’46, and the first of three brothers, all of whom graduated from Elon. As a student and graduate, Shutt was actively supportive in the forming of LGBTQIA Alumni Network and its work.
Ever committed to advocating for LGBTQ rights, Shutt, an employee of Disney, organized the New York City walkout in support of the #DisneySayGay protest. He cemented his protest of the company when he left Disney to work for a queer dating app company, moving from “queer professional” to “professionally queer.”
Professor of English Kathy Lyday
Kathy J. Lyday has taught first-year writing, linguistics, grammar, history of the English language, American literature, Introduction to Literature, literature of the Holocaust and Appalachian literature at Elon for 40 years. She has been the faculty leader on Winter Term study abroad courses in London and Central Europe, and led semester programs in London and Costa Rica. During the past several summers, she has taught applied and descriptive linguistics and grammar in the Masters of TESOL program at Greensboro College.
After finishing her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English at Tennessee Technological University, she completed a doctorate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in American literature with special emphasis areas on English language studies. Her research interests include Appalachian authors, Holocaust literature and language use in society. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys traveling, various needlework arts, gardening, writing and, of course, reading. She is the co-author of two historical novels and is currently researching the third book in the series.
Professor of Art History Kirstin Ringelberg
Kirstin Ringelberg is a professor of art history in the Department of History and Geography at Elon. They came to Elon in 2003 from a prior position at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a doctorate in modern and contemporary art history.
As a scholar, Ringelberg writes on the history of art history and visual culture using feminist, queer and trans methodologies. They co-chaired the first all-trans panel at the College Art Association conference in 2018 and co-edited the first trans-themed issue of any art history and visual culture journal in 2020. As a professor at Elon, Ringelberg has taught 24 distinct classes, including classes for honors, core capstones, study abroad, international and global studies, Asian studies, African and African-American studies, and of course women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. They’ve mentored 30 undergraduate research projects, six teaching and learning apprenticeships, and 15 internships for credit, but their most important mentoring is working with queer, trans and otherwise marginalized students outside of the official structures of course work and service.
Speaking of service, Ringelberg was Elon’s first LGBTQIA coordinator, and 20 years ago they hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Elon’s first LGBTQ Resource Room in Powell House, and supported alumni and staff in developing this Alumni Affinity Network.
Matthew Antonio Bosch Student Community Engagement Award
Ket Cordova ’23
Ket Cordova is a senior in his last semester at Elon. He is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. He is from Queens, New York, and plans to return there after graduation to live with his partner and their gecko.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, questioning, Queer, Intersex, asexual and Ally (LGBTQIA) Alumni Network strives to improve the campus climate for members of the Elon community by advocating on behalf of LGBTQIA issues and partnering with others to build an inclusive and respectful community.