Elon dedicates space in Alamance Building in honor of retired University Registrar Mark Albertson

The longtime university registrar and recipient of the Elon Medallion retired in 2012 after a 34-year career at Elon.

Elon University on Thursday dedicated a main conference room on the first floor of Alamance Building in honor of Mark Albertson, a recipient of the Elon Medallion who served the university for more than 30 years as university registrar.

Albertson personally certified about 26,300 students for graduation during his tenure with the institution while shepherding Elon’s academic record-keeping into the digital age during decades of sustained and impressive growth. He took a personal interest in the success of students, meeting with each to discuss their path to graduation while working with faculty to introduce new and innovative courses into the curriculum.

President Connie Ledoux Book with retired University Registrar Mark Albertson at a ceremony dedicating the Albertson Conference Room in his honor on March 7, 2024.

“Alamance is the historic heart of campus so it’s appropriate that the first floor includes the Mark Albertson Conference Room named for a person with a big heart who played a key role in Elon’s history,” President Connie Ledoux Book told those gathered in the room on Thursday to celebrate the dedication. “There has never been a person at Elon with more energy, enthusiasm, ideas and a passion for the work we are doing.”

In his remarks, Albertson was quick to recognize and celebrate the contributions of his staff through the years, many of whom had gathered to mark the occasion, noting that the recognition wouldn’t have been possible without their contributions. “Thank you for this day and this recognition — it truly means a lot to me,” Albertson said. “We were a family and we are proud of our accomplishments. … We all have done our best to advance Elon and it shows.”

Provost Emeritus Gerry Francis offering remarks at a ceremony dedicating the Albertson Conference Room in his honor on March 7, 2024.

Albertson joined Elon in 1978 as assistant registrar and was named registrar the following year. Gerry Francis, provost emeritus and professor emeritus, explained the Albertson developed and sustained a team during his tenure at Elon that prioritized maintaining accurate records and working closely with students and faculty to ensure enrollment ran smoothly and students stayed on track.

“He was organized, he was detailed and he cared,” Francis said. “Mark developed an in-person audit for every one of his graduating seniors in the fall and he brought them in and sat them down and talked with them individually to let them know whether they were on target to graduate in the spring. Nobody slipped behind.”

Book noted that when Albertson was registrar, Elon like other institutions would withhold a graduate’s diploma if they had an outstanding balance on their account. Many times, Albertson would secretly pay the balances of students who were struggling financially to ensure they received their diplomas, she said. “I’ve also heard the quiet stories of Mark praying for students, trying to pull them aside and talk to them, she said. “Those are the things we’re celebrating today. Those are the values that you carried into Elon and those values became Elon.”

Retired University Registrar Mark Albertson offering remarks at a ceremony dedicating the Albertson Conference Room in his honor on March 7, 2024. On the wall are a plaque commemorating the honor and a photo of Albertson at his last Commencement in 2012.

Albertson oversaw the transition from handwritten academic records into digital systems as well as the evolution of the institution from a college to a university that now boasts more than 7,000 students. He was responsible for placing student transcripts online, streamlining one of the most important functions of the university. The first Commencement Albertson oversaw had about 300 students (307 to be exact, Albertson noted during the ceremony) and now Elon graduates about 1,500 students each spring.

In his efforts to promote Elon, Albertson brought prominent people to campus, including Philip L. Carret, a New York investor whose connection to Albertson led to the establishment of the Philip L. Carret Thomas Jefferson Essay Competition, which Carret endowed with a generous gift to Elon. Albertson also helped develop Elon’s distinctive Winter Term program and courses such as The Business of NASCAR and World War II — A Closer Look. Albertson helped lead the World War II Winter Term program and included his father, a veteran of the war and the Normandy invasion, in the program in Europe.

For his dedication to students and the university community and in recognition of his service to Elon, Albertson was awarded the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor for service, in 2014.

Retired University Registrar Mark Albertson and President Connie Ledoux Book sharing a laugh at a ceremony dedicating the Albertson Conference Room in his honor on March 7, 2024.

The newly named Albertson Conference Room will continue to be a central meeting place for many Elon leaders for generations to come, with the room’s name now bearing the name of a person who has contributed so much to what Elon is today, said Jim Piatt, senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs.

“We come together as a community to honor, to lift up and to acknowledge one of the true architects of the modern Elon,” Piatt said. “What better place to bestow the name of Mark Albertson? A featured space in a signature building where the Elon community comes together — faculty, staff, students — we come together to learn, to plan, to strategize, to discuss, and occasionally to debate. We come together, and day by day we make Elon a better place.”

Along with numerous former colleagues and friends, Albertson was joined at the dedication by his wife, Andrea, who received her degree from Elon in 1997, his daughter, Shannon Albertson ’93 G’96, and his son, Macon Albertson ’95, and his wife, Debbie.