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Awards banquet honors exemplary faculty & staff

Elon University employees on May 9 celebrated teaching, scholarship, service and mentoring at an annual luncheon in Alumni Gym.

From left: Deborah Long, Jim Donathan, Rebecca "Toddie" Peters, and David Copeland


Four faculty members were honored May 9, 2012, for superior scholarship, teaching, mentoring and service at Elon University’s faculty-staff awards luncheon. Those recognized included David Copeland, Rebecca "Toddie" Peters, Deborah Long and Jim Donathan.

The award announcements, made in front of hundreds of colleagues who filled Alumni Gym for the annual ceremony, also included recognition to longtime employees of the university and to pending retirees.

Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching
David Copeland

Professor of Communications and Director of the Master of Arts in Interactive Media program

Copeland is the 40th Elon faculty member to receive the award but the first in the School of Communications. President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley ’46 and his late wife, Verona Daniels Danieley, established the award in honor of their parents.

Copeland is described by his colleagues and students alike as an extraordinary good, caring, fair, professional and inspirational teacher and mentor who approaches teaching with humor and elegant style.

He came to Elon 11 years ago as the A.J. Fletcher Professor of Communications. A prolific author, he has edited an eight-volume series on American war reporting and written several books, including The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and Its Unruly Legacy, published in 2006 by Northwestern University Press.

He received Elon’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2006 and in 2010 was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the American Journalism Historians Association, the highest honor the association bestows upon its members. Before coming to Elon, he taught at Emory & Henry College, where the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named him the Virginia Professor of the Year.

“Professor Copeland has been an outstanding teacher for a long time, and he has established both the record and reputation at Elon to merit joining the distinguished list of recipients of the Daniels-Danieley Award,” an Elon colleague says.

Copeland brings an outstanding background to the classroom. Prior to earning his doctoral degree in mass communications research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and teaching communications at the university level, he worked as a sports editor in Elizabeth City and Wake Forest, N.C.; taught in the public schools in Edenton and Camden, N.C.; and earned his master of divinity and master of theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Distinguished Scholar Award
Toddie Peters
Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies

Peters began her career at Elon in 2001 as the Distinguished Emerging Scholar of Religious Studies. Two years later, she won the Trinity Prize for her book, In Search of the Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization, which was lauded by renowned philosopher and critic Cornel West as “the best treatment of the complex debate on globalization by a religious ethicist now available.” The book is widely used as a textbook in university classrooms as well as book selection for church book groups around the country.

“Her work has and is making an impact in ever-widening circles,” an Elon colleague says. “From classroom teaching to building a culture of student undergraduate research; from church to adult forums, to a global reputation as an astute voice in globalization and ethics; from Elon to the larger public, Professor Rebecca Todd Peters has made an impact in her local and global worlds that few of us can claim.”

Peters has a master of divinity, master of philosophy and doctoral degree in Christian ethics from the Union Theology Seminary. Besides producing dozens of published works on topics related to globalization and ethics, she has edited books on Christianity and social justice from a feminist perspective and published articles on sexuality and post-colonial issues. Her second book, Solidarity Ethics, which deals with how Christians and others living in the first world can live integrity in a globalized world, is being considered for publication.

The recipient of countless internal and external grants, Peters has received many honors, including the Jepson Dissertation Award, Gustavus Myers Award and the 2004 Excellence in Scholarship Award from the Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. She also received the 2007 CHOICE Award for Justice in the Global Economy, a 2006 book she edited.

She has served as chair of the Southeast Commission on the Study of Religion and is currently president of the American Academy of Religion, Southeast Region, and member of the Society of Christian Ethics’ board of directors.

Peters is the 13th recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award, which recognizes a faculty member whose research has earned peer commendation and respect, and who has made significant contributions to his or her field of study.

Ward Family Excellence in Mentoring Award
Jim Donathan
Associate Director of Academic Advising and Director of Academic Support

A true champion of student success, Donathan is the fifth recipient of the award, which honors a faculty or staff member who demonstrates a commitment to Elon undergraduates through outstanding mentoring. The award was established by Tom and Beth Ward P ’05, ’08, '14, their sons, A.T. ’05, Christopher ’08 and Chase ‘14, and Tom Ward’s mother, Dorothy Mears Ward GP ’05, ’08, ’14.

“I have never met a person so connected to students,” a student says. “An initial meeting to get clarity on a university requirement turns into a mentoring session where Mr. Donathan asks significant questions and offers his valuable insights on decisions I'm considering.”

Donathan arrived at Elon in 1994. He regularly teaches a section of Elon 101 and has served as adviser for the Kappa Alpha Fraternity for more than 10 years.

“He has been such a positive influence for my son,” a parent says. “In addition to his involvement in my son's academic guidance, he has been someone who my son could go to talk to at any time. He has truly been a credit to your staff during this year. ... I cannot begin to thank you enough for assigning my son to (Donathan) as one of his advisees.”

Donathan’s kindness and compassion have greatly impacted the lives of countless students who throughout the years have found themselves in tough academic situations and at least two gifts have been made to Elon in honor of his mentoring.

“No student who has crossed Jim’s path forgets him, nor does he forget them,” a colleague says. “He is always present for ODK and PKP induction ceremonies, wanting to celebrate student success. Many students, those who experienced academic difficulty and those who didn’t, realize that it was his mentoring, his willingness to invest his time in their future, that let to their graduation day.”

Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility
Deborah Long

Director of the Elon Academy and Professor of Education

Long’s work with the Elon Academy, a college access and success program for high school students with a financial need and/or no family history of college, has had life-changing effects on the lives of the students who take part in the program.

“Dr. Long played an instrumental part in my journey to college, and now that I am a sophomore at Elon I know that she is always ready to help in any way that she can,” a scholar of the Alpha Class says. “I could not ask for a better role model than Dr. Long.”

Long has a long history of working with at-risk students. After graduating from Colby College in 1970 with a degree in psychology she joined the Teacher Corps from 1971 to 1973. She earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Virginia State University in 1973 and worked as an elementary school teacher in the Durham City School System from 1973 to 1976. She obtained a doctorate in curriculum, instruction and educational leadership from the University of Memphis in 1996. That same year, she joined Elon’s faculty.

From 2002 until 2006, she served as chair of the Education Department and coordinator of elementary education. For the next two years, she served as faculty administrative fellow and assistant to the president. In that position, she was responsible for developing new and enhancing existing programs for under-served youth in the community through campus-community partnerships, which led to the creation of the Elon Academy.

Long received the North Carolina College Personnel Association’s Outstanding Service in Support of the Student Affairs Profession Award in 2009. The award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution in support of the student personnel/student development field.

Long is 10th recipient of Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility, which is given each year to a member of Elon’s faculty or staff whose community service exemplifies the ideals of Project Pericles.

Also honored for their years of service to Elon are the following staff and faculty who have retired this academic year or will do so at the end of the semester:

Robert "Bob" Anderson - Associate Professor of Political Science
Pamela Baker - Program Assistant in the School of Communications
Neil Bromilow - Director of Planning, Design and Construction Management
James Drummond - Professor of Leisure and Sport Management
Sandra Fields - Assistant to the President
Kate Hickey - Dean and University Librarian
Earl Honeycutt - Professor of Marketing
Karen Hughes - Bursar's Office
Susan Klopman - Vice President of Admissions and Financial Planning
Patricia Long - Departments of Political Science, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Bird Stasz - Associate Professor of Education
Carolyn Stuart - Associate Professor of Education
Catherine Williams - Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Transfer Admissions
Rudy Zarzar - Professor of Political Science

Eric Townsend,
5/30/2012 8:30 AM