Gabie Smith announced her retirement as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in August, opening the search for a new dean. So far Jennifer Fredricks and Nicole Guajardo have given their presentations to Elon University faculty,  staff and students as to why they should be considered the new dean. 

The third of four candidates presented to the Elon community on Dec. 4. Hilton Kelly is currently the Dean the College of Liberal Arts and Education at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville. Before his current role, he was the department chair of educational studies at Davidson College where he was a professor of Educational studies and Africana studies.

Kelly said that besides teaching in North Carolina, he was born and raised in Sharpsburg, North Carolina — a little over two hours from campus. Kelly said that he also taught at numerous North Carolina high schools.

“A job at Elon would be a return to my home state,” Kelly said. “And a return to the mission of a liberal arts education — which compliments my values, experiences and leadership philosophy.”

During this experience of working between schools, he said he developed a philosophy of collaborative leadership. Kelly also said, to him, this meant having a diverse group of people and having them work together to accomplish a common goal. 

“There are many things that attracted me to Elon, but the main attraction has been the university’s bold choices,” Kelly said. 

According to Kelly, he loves how Elon doesn’t look for the easiest solution or conform to what every other university is doing. Kelly said that he loves how Elon isn’t driven by money, but by the success of students — something that reflects his philosophy. 

“I am excited about the possibility of returning home and using all that I have learned as a teacher, scholar, administrator, leader, fundraiser and liberal arts and sciences advocate to be boldly at Elon,” Kelly said. 

Shawnrence Campbell is the fourth and final candidate and spoke to the Elon community on Dec. 6.