Office Hours with John Gardner graphic with John Gardner and Leo Lambert

Episode 15 – Creating a Sense of Belonging

Office Hours with John Gardner

This discussion revolves around the central question of “what is best for student learning?” Lambert describes how these ideas influence the development of leadership across the institution to match talent with institutional priorities, needs and goals to move the institution as a whole.

Guest Bio

Leo M. Lambert is President Emeritus and Professor at Elon University. Lambert served as president from 1999-2018, leading Elon’s rise to national prominence by promoting a student-centered culture that values strong relationships between students and their faculty and staff mentors. Focused on developing students as global citizens, ethical leaders and creative problem-solvers, Lambert led two strategic plans, creating a model for the modern liberal arts university.

Led by President Lambert, Elon built a national reputation for academic excellence across the curriculum, including the sheltering of a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, and for its innovative programs in study abroad, undergraduate research, leadership, interfaith dialogue, civic engagement and community service, and preparing students for meaningful careers and advanced study.

Elon’s campus grew tremendously during Lambert’s presidency. More than 100 new buildings were added, including major investments in the residential campus, building four major neighborhoods, integrating academic and residence life programs and nurturing a flourishing intellectual climate.

Lambert was a strong advocate for increasing access to higher education for students with high financial need and created the Odyssey Scholars program (for undergraduates attending Elon) and the Elon Academy (to support local high school students in gaining access to higher education).

Division 1 athletics advanced during Lambert’s tenure, including membership in the Colonial Athletics Association, the addition of important facilities such as Rhodes Stadium and the Schar Center, and the adoption of a new athletics identity, the Phoenix.

Lambert has written extensively about post-secondary education and is co-author of The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most, published by Jossey-Bass in 2016. He was also co-editor of a book about university teaching that was published by the Syracuse University Press in 2005. His alma mater, the State University of New York at Geneseo, awarded him an honorary doctorate of humane letters in 2002. In 2009, he received the inaugural William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education from the National Society for Experiential Education. His forthcoming book (with Peter Felten) will be published by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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