Jeanne Swanner Robertson to deliver Elon Commencement address

Elon 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 this honor.

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 graduate.

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 year's ceremonies.

Daniel J. Anderson
Assistant Vice President
Director of University Relations
Elon University
336-278-7410 (office)
336-260-6870 (cell)
336-524-0100 (fax)

Dan Anderson
100 Campus Dr.
2030 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244