Elon University recognizes the 19 staff members who are retiring after years of dedicated service to the campus community.
Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Advancement
Elon has been like a family for Joan Dawson, both figuratively and literally. She was first introduced to Elon in August 1983 as a transfer student from Appalachian State University. She met her husband as an undergraduate. Her daughter and son-in-law are both Elon alums and 30 years after she arrived as a student, she returned as program assistant to the Office of Cultural & Special Programs.
“My time at Elon has come full circle — student, parent, staff member,” Dawson said.
Dawson said she will always treasure the lifelong friendships she’s made at Elon. One specific memory that comes to mind for her is a 2017 staff trip to London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland. Even years after the trip, she still speaks to some of her fellow travelers.
In retirement, Dawson plans to spend as much time as possible with her children and two grandsons and “keeping my crossed that more grandchildren are on the way!” She also hopes to volunteer more at church and in the community, travel more and write a recipe book with her Dad.
“I think I’ll stay pretty busy,” Dawson said.
Technology AV Support Specialist
Brian Fitts has spent 15 years at Elon as an AV technician, and wrapped up his final Elon commencement as a staff member by assisting with the audio and visual aspects of the ceremony. Watching a new class of graduates cross the stage each year has been the highlight of his time at Elon and a memory he will value most.
During retirement, Fitts said he hopes to “spend more time with family, get more involved in my music and travel.”
Assistant Vice President for Administrative Services
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.”
Robert “Clay” Hassard
Senior Associate Director of Athletics
Clay Hassard transferred to Elon in 1982 as a student-athlete from UNC-Chapel Hill. Hassard said Elon provided the right academic and athletic opportunities for him to thrive.
After graduating, he was hired as an assistant football coach in 1985. Two years later, he assumed the role of Assistant Director of Admissions and Financial Planning in addition to coach. He ended up leaving coaching and entering athletics administration as the Assistant Athletic Director in 1990. In 1999, he was promoted to Senior Associate Athletics Director, a title he has held for the last 23 years.
“What made Elon special for me was the relationships I built with an exceptional group of faculty and staff members, all dedicated to the enhancement of the student experience,” Hassard said.
In retirement, Hassard said, “I am looking forward to some leisure activities and spending time with my family.”
Tallulah Shaw first arrived at Elon on Sept. 11, 1989, after her brother, also a staff member, suggested that she apply. More than three decades later, Elon has been like a second home for Shaw and her connections with the many people on campus show that.
“One of my favorite memories is some of the students that called me “Mom” and how we’ve kept in touch with each other and all the friends I made along the way,” Shaw said.
Her retirement plans involve “travel and spending time my daughter.”
Program Assistant, NC Campus Engagement
René Summers began working in the Chaplain’s Office in 1995 and saw Elon as a place where she could combine her organizational skills with her love for ministry and helping others. “It was the perfect opportunity for me,” she said.
After 16 years, she shifted her focus to the NC Campus Engagement which allowed her to have an impact on community engagement statewide. “I have been blessed to work with great visionaries and be immersed in work that I love at Elon.”
Summers said she’s experienced many great moments while at Elon, and each one is connected to the relationships she has been blessed with over the years.
“Some friends have now retired, some will work many more years, some have passed away, but I will cherish them all in my heart,” Summers said.
In retirement, Summers is excited to have more time with her husband, children and seven grandchildren. “I will continue to lead water aerobics classes at the YMCA, volunteer at Hope Church and live out my passion for serving by helping people clean out their homes during times of transition,” she said.
Other retiring staff
Lead Building Services Technician
Carl “CC” Cowan
Manager of Moving and Set-ups
Automotive Services Manager
Associate Bursar and Coordinator of Elon University Perkins Program
Director, Internal Audit
Program Assistant for Colonnades
Floor Maintenance Worker
Registrar at Elon University School of Law
Associate Dean for Library and Informative Services
Wesley “Dale” Moore
Director of Payroll/Payablees