Producer of The Swing
As Susan Klopman prepares for retirement and reflects on a 27-year career at Elon University, it’s clear she has seen and spearheaded extensive changes at the institution. When she started working in the Department of Publications and Public Relations in 1985, Elon was hardly the household name it has recently striven to become.
Class sizes were much smaller, the Elon Commitment and Strategic Plan had not yet been developed, even local North Carolina newspapers seldom felt the need to report on happenings at the university. But last week, just a few months from her retirement in June, Klopman, vice president of admissions and financial planning, submitted Elon’s enrollment data to the New York Times upon the publication’s request.
“I remember when we could not even get the Greensboro News and Record to include Elon or what was going on at Elon,” she said. “(The New York Times) calls us regularly now for our enrollment data.”
More recently, she helped to create the Elon Commitment and the institution’s Strategic Plan and has continued to watch each year’s freshman class become increasingly selective.
Undergraduate admissions reached an all-time high Jan. 12, when applications reached more than 10,000. Klopman will be succeeded by Greg Zaiser, dean of admissions, and said she is confident in his ability to step up to the challenge.
“To have such an extraordinary new vice president to be able to step up to the plate gives me enormous comfort and excitement,” she said.
Zaiser, Class of 1990, was hired by Elon shortly after graduating from the university, and he said he has received tremendous support from the campus community regarding his promotion. His new position will begin June 1, and he said he is looking forward to what will be a challenging yet rewarding experience.
“I love Elon for so many reasons,” Zaiser said. “The fact that I get to hopefully do for Elon what Elon’s done for me, and do for other people what Elon’s done for me, is the best.”
Although Zaiser’s new position will involve less day-to-day interaction with students than his current position, he said he is excited to become a member of the university’s senior staff and to continue to watch Elon grow.
“This place is not successful because of the admissions office,” he said. “This place is successful because of what it is. If we all keep working as hard as we are, things will continue to go as well as they have been going. I truly believe that. We get people here, but when you came to check out Elon, you were impressed by the place and the programs and the people.”
Although Klopman will formally retire on June 1, she said she will never leave the Elon family. She and her husband will continue to live in the area, where they will remain involved and supportive of the university by attending the various cultural and sporting events.
Despite the sadness of ending such an influential chapter of her life, Klopman said she is looking forward to the blank days in her calendar, which she hopes to fill with cooking classes — including a few in Tuscany, Italy — visiting her children and grandchildren in New York and Denver and becoming certified as a master gardener.
“My life’s project has been Elon and nothing, nothing except my family, could be more rewarding.” she said. “So I consider it a major gift to have worked here and shared in this remarkable place. Saying goodbye to it is certainly going to be one of the hardest things I have ever done.”