Elon names Oaks neighborhood hall for Pam and Chalmers Brumbaugh

A dedication ceremony during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend for Brumbaugh Hall honored the decades of contributions to the university by the couple.

Elon University has honored Pam and Chalmers Brumbaugh by renaming a residence hall in The Oaks neighborhood in recognition of their decades of contributions to the university.

On Saturday, Oct. 21, the Brumbraughs were joined by friends, family, colleagues and members of the university community during Homecoming & Reunion Weekend for the dedication of Brumbaugh Hall in The Oaks, whose residence halls carry the names of some of the university’s most dedicated leaders from across its history.

Pam, left, and Chalmers Brumbaugh speak at a ceremony to name an Oaks residence hall after them, October 21, 2023.

“These names are giants in the history of Elon, and I realized that being included among them was truly a very special honor,” Chalmers Brumbaugh said during the dedication ceremony.

Across three decades at Elon, the Brumbaughs helped advance the university as a leader in experiential education with their work in the areas of internships and study abroad, realizing that an approach to education that went beyond instruction in the classroom would help make what people learn “stick,” as Pam Brumbaugh put it.

“To follow Elon faculty, staff, students and alumni on that experiential trek toward success is a treasure beyond measure,” Pam Brumbaugh told the crowd gathered in the Oaks Neighborhood Saturday. “To be part of the team that brought that about is priceless.”

Pam, right, and Chalmers Brumbaugh sit with Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book October 21, 2023, as Brian Feeley ’03, Assistant Vice President for University Advancement, makes opening remarks at a ceremony to name an Oaks residence hall after them.

The couple joined Elon’s faculty in 1986, Chalmers as a member of the Department of Political Science faculty and Pam as director of experiential education and an assistant professor. During the next three decades, they would help increase the university’s dedication to integrating experiential education into the Elon experience by launching and deepening initiatives in an array of fields.

In her remarks, President Connie Ledoux Book recounted how Pam Brumbaugh, a recipient of the Elon Medallion, aided in the creation of the Experiential Learning requirement of the Elon Core Curriculum and managed the university’s prestigious Washington Center Internship program for 26 years. Chalmers Brumbaugh led programs at The Washington Center focused on politics and the presidency, and he accompanied students to eight national political conventions. He built a reputation as an exceptional educator and advisor, led Elon’s Winter Term course in Costa Rica for 28 years and helped to develop a Latin American studies minor at Elon.

Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book speaks October 21, 2023, at a ceremony to name an Oaks residence hall after Pam and Chalmers Brumbaugh.

Chalmers Brumbaugh recalled how when he started the Winter Term course in Costa Rica, he was told by former Dean of International and Special Programs Bill Rich that he did not have a lock on being the faculty leader.

“Twenty-eight years later, I stepped aside from that role, pleased that students had the opportunity for a terrific learning experience, which included an awareness of the local culture through homestays during the month of January,” he said.

Book relayed multiple stories from Elon alumni whose lives were touched by the Brumbaughs’ dedication to their students. Among them was Brett Cooper ’05, who was in the audience Saturday.

“Pam and Chalmers were like second parents to us, giving us all the resources we needed to thrive at Elon and beyond, but also pushing us to do more than we thought was possible,” Cooper wrote in a message read by Book. “Between my junior and senior years, I was invited to a conference Wilmington, N.C. I decided I could not attend because the tires on my car were in such bad shape. Hearing this, Chalmers insisted on taking my car to the shop, where he purchased new tires so I did not miss out on that opportunity.”

Brian Feeley ’03, Assistant Vice President for University Advancement, makes opening remarks at a ceremony to name an Oaks residence hall after Pam and Chalmers Brumbaugh.

Brian Feeley ’03, now assistant vice president for university advancement at Elon, kicked off Saturday’s dedication ceremony offering his own words of thanks for the Brumbaughs, who helped him navigate a change in his major late in his academic career. “They went above and beyond to help me go after and secure my dream internship at the State Department and they practically forced The Washington Center to hire me after graduation, an organization I helped lead for more than a decade,” Feeley said. “Pam and Chalmers, I hope you know I count you among the most influential people in my life and I am so happy for you today.”

Pam Brumbaugh said she was rewarded throughout the years by seeing students have those “a-ha” internship moments that altered the course of their lives and helped them overcome challenges. “I had the opportunity to watch those students become alumni who were kind mentors for the next set of students,” she said. “Through lots of internship site visits and alumni dinners, we learned together and shared laughter and plenty of tips on how to get along and get ahead.”

Both Brumbaughs have been repeatedly recognized throughout their careers for their impact on students and their dedication to the success of the university. In 1995, Chalmers Brumbaugh was honored at Elon for his outstanding work in the area of service learning and he received the Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2008. He was named Advisor of the Year in North Carolina in 2011 and 2012 for his work with Elon’s chapter of the North Carolina Student Legislature.

Pam, left, and Chalmers Brumbaugh speak at a ceremony to name an Oaks residence hall after them, October 21, 2023.

In March 2016, Brumbaugh received one of North Carolina’s highest honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, which is one of the most prestigious awards presented by North Carolina governors for service to the state and communities.

Pam Brumbaugh’s honors include the Outstanding Service Award from the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Employers in 2002 and the group’s Outstanding Professional Award in 2007, the North Carolina Career Development Association’s Roy N. Anderson Award in 2011, the National Society for Experiential Education’s John S. Duley Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, and the 2015 Elon Administrative Staff Member of the Year Award.

In August 2019, Pam Brumbaugh was awarded the Elon Medallion, the most prestigious service award bestowed by the university.

“It will be such an honor and a privilege for members of this community to say Brumbaugh Hall, because every time we say it, we are going to remember your commitment and your leadership,” Book said.