Elon Leaders Discuss Responsibility, Integrity and ‘Anti-Panty Raids’

By Carolyn VanBrocklin

Who would have thought that you would hear the words “anti-panty raid” coming from the man who was a former Student Government Association (SGA) president at Elon University? Yet that is exactly what students, faculty and visitors heard Tuesday night, when four presidents from Elon University spoke about leadership during the Center for Leadership’s LEADstrong week.

(Left to right) Noel Allen, Dr. Leo Lambert, Chase Rumley and Dr. Earl Danieley

(Left to right) Noel Allen, Dr. Leo Lambert, Chase Rumley and Dr. Earl Danieley

The speakers included a current University President Dr. Leo Lambert; SGA President Chase Rumley; former University President Dr. Earl Danieley and former SGA President Noel Allen, who addressed the audience in LaRose Theater on a variety of topics related to being a leader.

Panel moderator John Sullivan, a professor emeritus at Elon, called the panel discussion “two snapshots of leadership.” Lambert and Danieley served as Elon’s eighth and sixth presidents, respectively, while Allen and Rumley have served as presidents of the SGA.

Each executive participating in the discussion was asked about a key moment in their personal experiences where they demonstrated leadership, as well as what they learned from the process.

Danieley, who served as president of the University from 1957 to 1973, spoke about his experience changing the decision-making process of the executives. Previously it was entirely autocratic, and Danieley did most of the decision making without consulting others involved, because that was just how it was done.

There was no transparency of the budget. Danieley simply took it home one night, modified it, and brought it back to tell the board about any changes that had been made. In addition, he recruited, interviewed and employed faculty without consultation. “It was a one man show,” Danieley said.

Allen, who served as president of the SGA from 1968 to 1969 was responsible for removing the requirement to attend weekly chapel, and for lifting the women’s curfew, which is where the “anti-panty raid” came in to play.

According to Allen, he was leading students in a march in protest around the newly built Staley dorm across the newly seeded grass. The next time he decided to address student concerns on campus, he made sure to avoid the lawns.

Lambert has shown his leadership capabilities with the vast changes that have occurred at Elon over the time of his service as president.  In addition, he is responsible for changing the school’s name from Elon College to Elon University.

Despite the emotion and contention that changing the name produced among those involved in the process, Lambert and other advocates remained firm. They believed that the time was right for Elon to make its mark on the college scene.  “It was unquestionably the right thing to do,” Lambert said. “You’ve got to stick to your guns at times.”

“One of the great characteristics of this institution is that once we make a decision, we tend to move on together,” Lambert said.

Sullivan then asked the panel what qualities of mind and heart are needed as a leader to be able to face challenges.

“The qualities that make a leader include courage and principle,” Allen said. “Discipline goes with leadership. Being a president is a demanding job.”

Allen also advised leaders to have integrity in public and in their personal lives. Be aware of the responsibility of the office and lead by example.

“The one word answer to this question would be optimism,” said Lambert.

Rumley agreed with Lambert’s statements and elaborated on them. “It’s about inspiring optimism and hope and giving structures or skills to succeed and carry on a vision,” Rumley said. “It’s all about that mentoring capacity.”

LEADstrong week includes several more events presented by the Center for Leadership that will occur during the last week of February.


One Response

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