After almost two decades of service to Elon University, President Leo Lambert announced Monday that he would be stepping down from his role in the next year.
Lambert has been President of Elon since 1999. Under his leadership, enrollment has grown from 4,000 to 6,700, Elon made the transition from Elon College to Elon University and the university was ranked as the No. 1 Southern University by U.S. News & World Report.
The university’s growth seen under his presidency, both in infrastructure and student body, is unprecedented. Students, faculty and staff across campus are reflecting on Lambert’s legacy on campus.
Lambert’s commitment to diversity inclusion on campus is an important part of his legacy. During his presidency, the Multicultural Center was created, which later merged with El Centro de Español to become the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education. Programs and organizations such as SPECTRUM, the Watson & Odyssey Scholars Program and the Gender and LGBTQIA Center also began during his presidency.
Sylvia Munoz, Interim Director for the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Diversity Education, has been at Elon since a few months before Lambert took office. She reflected on his character and leadership.
“I think the next president will have some big shoes to fill,” Munoz said. “Dr. Lambert has always been very genuine, and I can only speak for what I do you know, but his care for underrepresented groups. I think that Elon’s pursuit for inclusion has been under his leadership and his guidance and push to really make it happen.”
While Lambert has been in office, Elon’s percentage of culturally diverse students has grown significantly, with the class of 2020 having 20 percent racial and ethnic diversity.
Randy Williams, Associate Vice President for Campus Engagement, reflected on his hopes for a new president.
“There are lots of qualities when thinking about a president for any type of college or university,” Williams said. “So certainly you want to have a leader, someone that has a value for the whole education process, specifically how higher education has a role in the whole society.”
Lambert plans to stay in office until a new president is hired. Once a replacement is found, he will take a year off and later return as president emeritus and professor.
For more information on his legacy and decision to step down from his role, visit http://www.elon.edu/E-Net/Article/143800.