At the annual Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon on May 10, the Elon community honored faculty and staff members who are retiring this year.
Retiring faculty and staff members were recognized on Wednesday, May 10 for their contributions and service to Elon at the annual Faculty/Staff Awards Luncheon in Alumni Gym.
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 2022-23 are:
Lecturer in Finance
Chris Baker started working at Elon in the fall of 2008 as an executive-in-residence in Finance Department. Two years later, she began teaching as an adjunct in finance and accounting. Now, as she concludes her time at Elon as a lecturer in finance, Baker says she will miss the incredible faculty and staff in the Love School of Business and the outstanding students she’s taught.
“I have learned so much while I have been at Elon, and I have a glimpse of what the future may look like,” Baker said. Living in Burlington near her daughter and her daughter’s family, she hopes to spend more time with her grandchildren, reading for pleasure, traveling and learning to garden.
“Although I know I will miss working,” Baker said, “I am looking forward to not setting an alarm for 8 a.m. classes.”
Lecturer in Management
Mark Courtright spent much of his career in the corporate world and very much wanted to finish in an educational setting. When he saw a posting for an adjunct instructor in business communications at Elon on LinkedIn in 2010, Courtright had no hesitations about applying.
Holding many titles at Elon, from adjunct instructor to instructor and finally, lecturer, Courtright has one memory that rises to the top from his 13 years at Elon. On the last day of one of his classes, a student turned to a classmate beside her and said, “Can you believe how much we’ve learned this semester?”
“That’s what it is all about for me,” Courtright said. Courtright’s wife, Cheri, is also retiring after 45 years as a physical therapist and they plan to spend more time with their four granddaughters. Courtright’s work with budding entrepreneurs isn’t ending, however, as he will continue to assist the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s LaunchLab program.
Professor of Music
When Thomas Erdmann interviewed for the open director of bands position at Elon in 1989, his first thought was, “Great, free vacation!” He had no intention of leaving SUNY Plattsburgh where he led the band program. But when he heard about the autonomy he’d have at Elon, he accepted the position.
Erdmann spent his 34 years at Elon, including the first 15 as director of the bands and the last 19 years as the director of the orchestra. “I will miss the intelligence and hard-working attitude of the students who took my classes,” he said.
Assistant Vice President for Administrative Services and Assistant Professor of Communications
In 1982, Chris Fulkerson thought his time at Elon would last only a year before venturing back into broadcast radio. But Fulkerson saw that Elon was a “place on the move” with incredible vision. Having been at Elon during four different strategic initiatives, he’s been privileged to be a part of that transformation.
“At the end of each strategic plan, Elon was a different place. So, I have worked at four different institutions without ever having to leave Elon,” Fulkerson said.
In 41 years at Elon, Fulkerson said his favorite memory was being honored by the library staff at a luncheon before taking another position with the university. At the luncheon, he was gifted a gold Elon College watch, one of his fondest Elon mementos.
In retirement, his plans are pretty simple. “Travel with my wife. Play with my new grandson. Travel with my wife. Consulting. Travel with my wife. Work with my church.” And last but not least, “Travel with my wife.”
Professor of Philosophy
Yoram Lubling came to Elon for a yearlong temporary position in the Department of Philosophy in 1991. He ended up staying for 31 years and says he’s “forever grateful” to the “wonderful people” he’s encountered at Elon.
His favorite memory at Elon is serving with long-term faculty member John G. Sullivan during the “Old Elon College days.” “For me, it was a magical place and time,” he said.
In more than 30 years at Elon, Lubling served as chair of the Department of Philosophy from 1998 to 2003 and became a full professor in 2006. Lubling said he’ll mostly miss the enthusiasm and open-mindedness of the young students.
When asked what his post-retirement plans are, Lubling responded as only a philosophy scholar could.
“My plan is to have no plans. I just want to enjoy the fruits of my labor ‘away from the madding crowd,'” Lubling said, referencing novelist Thomas Hardy. “I am looking forward to recovering spiritually, writing new books, spending more time with my lovely wife, our golden retriever and good friends.”
Professor of English
In 1982, Kathy Lyday was looking for a position where she could teach American literature, language and writing. Elon University offered that availability and Lyday jumped on the opportunity.
“When I came to interview, I parked in front of Alamance. When I returned in the fall, Scott Fountain was being built,” Lyday said. While Elon’s beautiful campus is one of the things she’ll miss in retirement, she can “always pop over for a walk.”
Awarded the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1991, Lyday said she will miss meeting new students each semester and building connections with them. Every semester also brought the opportunity of creating new courses, improving existing courses, studying abroad and connecting with colleagues across campus.
In retirement, Lyday will travel to Norway, Iceland and Scotland and is planning a trip to the Czech Republic to visit her daughter and son-in-law. Her plans involved finishing up one novel and starting another, needlework and quilting, lunches with retired friends, gardening, improving her cooking and baking, and “being able to pick up and go whenever without worrying about classes.”
Associate Professor of Accounting
Developing students’ interests in life and their careers has been Linda Poulson’s purpose for the 25 years she’s been a faculty member at Elon. Maintaining a relationship with students who have progressed from mentees to friends is what Poulson said she will cherish most about her time at Elon.
Serving as the chair of the Department of Accounting and helping establish the Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society chapter at Elon, Poulson said the collegial faculty have made the institution “feel like a family.” A quarter century later, she feels the same about Elon. “We all pitched in to do what was needed for the university the same way family members pitch in to do family chores.”
As she transitions into retirement, Poulson said she will always be connected to Elon and the Department of Accounting in some way. Her first order of business will be to rest and enjoy her newfound leisure time. While she has several personal endeavors to catch up on, she also plans to continue her involvement in personal finance through speaking engagements and coaching.
“I am an educator at heart and will always be ‘teaching’ others in some way,” Poulson said.
Senior Faculty Fellow in Religious Studies
L.D. Russell started teaching as an adjunct instructor in the spring semester of 1993. He discovered the position as a graduate student in the UNC-Chapel Hill Religious Studies program on a flyer in the department’s student lounge.
“Little did I know my life would never be the same,” Russell said. “Very soon after arriving on campus, I realized that Elon was a community where folks cared about one another. What a joy it is to have found a home here where I could hone my teaching and mentoring skills, work alongside such talented and committed colleagues and come to know so many amazing students.”
One of Russell’s many encounters at Elon that shines through is with a student, Gabriel Alvarez ’17, who had been injured during her first year. Tenacious and supported by many in the Elon community, Alvarez returned to complete her undergraduate degree.
Russell said he was fortunate to have Alvarez in his class as a senior. Her determination and engaged attitude, despite the lingering effects of her accident, were an inspiration to her classmates.
“Memories like these I will truly cherish in the years to come,” Russell said.
Russell said he plans to spend some time in France, to write a couple of books that have been on the back burner for many years and to “invest time and energy into support my ‘tribe’ of Elon alumni as they navigate their own careers.”
Associate Professor of Journalism
When Glenn Scott arrived at Elon in 2004, one of five new faculty members in the growing School of Communications, he could write a column on why he chose Elon over his previous institution. “The short answer: the people, the place, the unfinished dissertation,” Scott said.
Scott said what he’ll miss most about his time at Elon watching his students gain confidence in their thinking and writing. “It’s like watching the azaleas bloom.”‘
His future plans involve “more writing and editing, less grading. You’ll see me in the library, at campus events and sipping coffee in Irazu.”
Other retiring faculty recognized during the May 10 ceremony were Associate Dean for Library and Information Services and Associate Professor of Law Kate McLeod and Associate Professor of Economics Douglas Redington.