University trustee Jeanne Swanner Robertson will deliver the 2005
Commencement address on Saturday, May 21. Robertson, a native of Graham,
NC, and a resident of Burlington, NC, is an avid supporter of the
university and the parent of an Elon alumnus. She was elected to the
board of trustees in 2003.
Robertson will speak in place of Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein of Jordan,
who recently withdrew as Commencement speaker. The officers of the Class
of 2005 recommended to President Leo M. Lambert that Robertson be chosen
to give the address because of her close ties to Elon and its students.
Robertson is a nationally known professional speaker and humorist,
averaging 90-100 presentations to corporations and associations around
the world each year. She stresses how a sense of humor can be an
integral part of one’s strategy for success. Robertson has been
recognized by her peers with every top honor and designation in her
profession including the Certified Speaking Professional designation by
the National Speakers Association (NSA) in 1980 and induction into the
Speaker Hall of Fame in 1981.
She served as NSA president in 1985, and in 1989 became the first woman
to receive the Cavett Award, the organization's highest honor.
Toastmasters International named Robertson the recipient of its 1998
Golden Gavel Award, given annually for accomplishments in leadership and
communications. She is the only female professional speaker to receive
A former Miss North Carolina and Miss Congeniality in the Miss America
pageant, Robertson is a 1967 graduate of Auburn University, and the
author of three books on humor. The North Carolina Press Association
named Robertson its 2001 North Carolinian of the Year for "her
popularity on the speaking circuit, her award-winning ways and her
representation of North Carolina."
Robertson and her husband Jerry are long-time supporters of Elon's
athletics programs and the Elon Athletics Foundation and
made a major gift to fund
construction of Dr. Alan and Norma White Field at the new Belk Track
complex. The Robertsons' son, Bailey "Beaver" Bowline, is a 1989 Elon
Commencement exercises will begin at 9:30 a.m., May 21, in the historic
area known as Under the Oaks in front of West Residence Hall. Nearly
1,000 graduates will be joined by about 9,000 family and friends at this
Daniel J. Anderson
Assistant Vice President
Director of University Relations
100 Campus Dr.
2030 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244