Lambert Engaged Leader Award

At NC Campus Compact’s 10th Anniversary event in 2012, the Executive Board launched the Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award to honor the significant contributions to our shared work of Leo Lambert, former Elon University president, who led the charge to form a Compact in North Carolina. The award recognizes a presidential leader who is building a campus that engages in reciprocal partnerships to impact a community’s greatest challenges. The recipients are nominated by a peer president in the Compact network and  selected by the Executive Board.  The award is presented annually at the PACE Conference or Presidents Forum

Past Lambert Award Recipients 

2020 recipient, Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson, Winston-Salem State University with Dr. Lambert

2020 – Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson, Winston-Salem State University

2019 – President Hope Williams, North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU)

2018 – President Carol Quillen, Davidson College

2017 – President William Ingram, Durham Technical Community College

2016 – Chancellor Steve Ballard, East Carolina University

2015 – President Nathan O. Hatch, Wake Forest University

2014 – Chancellor Philip L. Dubois, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

2013 – Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr., North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University

2012 – Chancellor Linda Brady, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


A president or chancellor at an active North Carolina Campus Compact member institution may be nominated by a peer president within the Compact network.  Current members of the North Carolina Campus Compact Executive Board are not eligible.

Selection Criteria

The Carnegie Foundation defines Community Engagement as the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.  The Engaged Leadership Award recognizes a North Carolina Campus Compact president or chancellor that has fostered creation and/or deepening of community engagement.  Specifically, the president or chancellor:

  • Pursues an institutional mission that demonstrates commitment to the public purposes of higher education.
  • Invests in internal and external processes and resources that enable community-building.
  • Encourages broad participation in setting goals for community-campus partnerships.
  • Understands the real needs of the community, state or region, seeking ways for the campus to be quickly responsive in meeting those needs.
  • Has demonstrated the character of leadership, entrepreneurship, risk-taking or bold, forward thinking in the support of community engagement.
  • Has established ways to measure progress and success of the institution in making a difference in various communities.
  • Is personally engaged, modeling a life of community engagement.

For more information about Indicators of the Engaged Campus, visit this link at the national Campus Compact website.

Nomination Submission Requirements

The Call for Nominations will be announced in October of each year.

Step One:  A president or chancellor member of NC Campus Compact submits a letter (not to exceed three pages) that describes how the candidate fits the characteristics of the engaged leader.

Step Two:  A staff person at the campus of each nominee is contacted to provide:

1. A résumé or curriculum vitae of the nominee (not to exceed two pages).
2. A letter of support endorsing the candidate’s community engagement efforts (not to exceed two pages):
a. From a community member – could be a member of the Board of Trustees
b. From a staff or faculty person

Step Three:  The North Carolina Campus Compact Executive Board selects the awardee.

For questions regarding the award, please contact Leslie Garvin.

Leo M. Lambert

JULY 15 — Elon University president, Dr. Leo M. Lambert, photographed in the Academic Village for the Summer 2009 Magazine of Elon. (Jennifer Priddy)

LEO M. LAMBERT led Elon’s rise to national prominence from 1999 to 2018, 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, 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.

In 2002 Dr. Lambert convened a group of 15 presidents and chancellors to launch a Campus Compact affiliate in North Carolina and agreed to host the state office at Elon. He served as the NC Campus Compact Executive Board Chair until 2008. He also served on the national Campus Compact Board of Directors from 2003-2009.

With a priority on expanding partnerships with K-12 public education, Lambert was instrumental in the creation of the Elon Academy in 2007, an enrichment program for academically talented high school students in the Alamance-
Burlington School System who have financial need or have no family history of college attendance. The program has become a national model of excellence, enrolling nearly all of its graduates in higher education.

Under Lambert’s guidance, land was designated for the creation of the Elon University Forest, and the university created an environmental sustainability master plan to reduce energy consumption and set conservation standards for university construction and operations. In addition, the university created the Elon Environmental Center on the Loy Farm property as a hub for engaged learning, where students learn practical skills in sustainable agriculture, design and construction techniques. The Center includes a large solar farm and serves as a place for students to study the environmental, business, social, and political implications of renewable energy at Elon.

In 2009, he received the inaugural William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education from the National Society for Experiential Education. In 2010, he received the Periclean Service Award from Project Pericles. As a prominent figure in North Carolina’s Triad region, Lambert was named one of the “most influential leaders” for six consecutive years by the  Triad Business Journal. In 2011 he was named the #1 large workplace leader in a survey by the Greensboro News & Record. He also received the Thomas Z. Osborne Distinguished Citizen Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Greensboro, N.C., Chamber of Commerce, and was named a “Father of the Year”
by the American Diabetes Association Greater Greensboro Area Father’s Day Council.

Lambert has written extensively about post-secondary education and is co-author of a book, The Undergraduate Experience: Focusing Institutions on What Matters Most, published by Jossey-Bass (2016).  Lambert assumed the title of president emeritus on March 1, 2018, and is a professor in the School of Education.