Elon University

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Coordinates: 36°06′26″N 79°30′05″W / 36.1071867°N 79.5013207°W / 36.1071867; -79.5013207

Elon University
Elon University seal.svg
Former names
Elon College (1889–2001)
Motto Numen Lumen
Motto in English
Intellectual and spiritual light
Type Private
Established 1889[1]
Affiliation Nonsectarian/Independent
(Historic ties with the United Church of Christ)
Endowment $202.9 million (2016)[2]
President Connie Ledoux Book
Provost Steven D. House
Academic staff
Students 6,791 [1]
Location Elon, North Carolina, U.S.
Campus Suburban
636 acres (257.4 ha)[1]
Colors Maroon and Gold[3]
Athletics NCAA Division ICAA
Nickname Phoenix
Website www.elon.edu
Elon University logo.svg

Elon University is an American private, non-sectarian, coeducational liberal arts university with a historic 636-acre (257 ha) campus in Elon, North Carolina.

Elon has five schools across its main campus, and a satellite campus in nearby Greensboro, North Carolina; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communications, the School of Education, the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Law, which occupies the 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2) former public library building in Greensboro, North Carolina. The university offers a wide variety of degrees including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Master of Arts in Interactive Media, Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Management, Master of Education, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Doctor of Physical Therapy.


Presidents of Elon
President From To
William S. Long 1889 1894
William Wesley Staley 1894 1905
Emmett Leonidas Moffitt 1905 1911
William Allen Harper 1911 1931
Leon Edgar Smith 1931 1957
James Earl Danieley 1957 1973
James Fred Young 1973 1998
Leo Michael Lambert 1999 2018
Constance "Connie" Ledoux Book 2018

Elon College was founded by the Christian Connection, which later became a part of the United Church of Christ. The charter for Elon College was issued by the North Carolina legislature in 1889. William S. Long was the first president, and the original student body consisted of 76 students. In 1923, a fire destroyed most of the campus, including school records, classrooms, the library, and the chapel. The Board of Trustees voted to rebuild immediately. Many of the buildings that were erected in the years following the fire still stand and make up the bedrock of Elon's campus.

An institution that for many years enrolled mostly North Carolina residents, Elon began to enroll significant numbers of students from the mid-Atlantic states in the mid-1970s, and began to improve its academic standards for admission.[4] This trend continued, and by the start of the 21st century, about 68 percent of Elon's students came from out-of-state and were only accepted if they met high academic standards.[5] Elon is a selective university[6] and, as of 2013, 82% of incoming students were from out of state.[7] Elon's transformation was the subject of an academic study by George Keller of the University of Pennsylvania titled Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction. The study, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, depicted how Elon successfully transformed itself from a regional religious college to a selective, nationally recognized university.[8]

Elon is no longer directly affiliated with the United Church of Christ, but maintains its historic relationship.[9] Elon's mission statement states that the university "embraces its founders' vision of an academic community that transforms mind, body, and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience," and emphasizes its commitment to "nurture a rich intellectual community characterized by student engagement with a faculty dedicated to excellent teaching and scholarly accomplishment."[10]

Many prominent figures have visited and spoken at Elon, including U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, former U.S. Secretaries of State General Colin L. Powell and Madeleine Albright, British Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron,[11] former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,[12] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak,[13] Nobel Peace Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Muhammad Yunus, astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin and network news anchors Brian Williams[14] and Anderson Cooper.[15]

The Elon College Historic District and Johnston Hall are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[16]

On October 9, 2017, the Elon Board of Trustees led by Chair Kerri Anderson voted unanimously to elect Dr. Constance "Connie" Ledoux Book as the ninth president of Elon University. Book became Elon's first female President when the tenure of President Lambert ended on March 1, 2018. Prior to this, she was the Provost, and dean of academic affairs at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. Book was a member of Lambert's senior staff from 2008 to 2010, serving as presidential faculty fellow for strategic planning, concentrating on development of the Elon Commitment strategic plan. President Book began service as Elon's president on March 1, 2018.


The university includes Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education; the School of Law; and the School of Health Sciences. Master's programs are offered in business administration, interactive media, education and physician assistant studies, and doctoral programs include physical therapy and law. Elon operates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar, including a four-week term in January known as Winter Term.

In 2009, the Phi Beta Kappa Society voted to establish a chapter at Elon, a mark of distinction for the university's commitment to meeting the high standards of excellence in the arts and sciences advocated by the Society.[17][18]

Elon is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences[edit]

Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, offers 51 undergraduate majors within three divisions: the Arts and Humanities, the Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Natural, Mathematical and Computational Sciences. Elon College is the largest of the university's colleges.

Martha and Spencer Love School of Business[edit]

The Martha and Spencer Love School of Business offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing. In 2013, the part-time MBA program was ranked 5th in the United States by BusinessWeek.[19] According to BusinessWeek, Elon University ranked #29 on a list of top schools with undergraduate business programs in the country for the third consecutive year.[20]

School of Communications[edit]

The Elon School of Communications is one of 18 accredited communications programs for private universities in the US by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The program encompasses 20% of students and is divided into six main concentrations: Journalism, Strategic Communications, Cinema & Television Arts, Communication Design, Media Analytics and Sport & Event Management.[21]

Students each complete at least one required internship. Workplaces include NBC, 60 Minutes, National Geographic, MTV, DreamWorks, The New York Times, Vogue and The Washington Post. Many students complete multiple internships. Some students complete an internship while enrolled in the London program and intern at international media companies headquartered there. There are summer programs in Los Angeles and New York City for students to intern and take classes there. Elon students also conduct research at or present their work at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, Federal Communications Commission, the Broadcast Education Association conference and many other venues.[22]

Students in this discipline have several opportunities to gain practical experience, whether through working on the newspaper (The Pendulum), the radio station (WSOE), or shis on Elon Student Television. Elon also has an award-winning, student-run public relations agency called Live Oak Communications,[23] as well as a student film group known as Cinelon. In the summer of 2009, the school established an M.A. program in Interactive Media which lasts for ten months.

In 2015, the school underwent a massive expansion, doubling in size and expanding facilities from McEwen Hall to now include Schar Hall, the Snow Family Grand Atrium, Turner Theatre, Steers Pavilion, and Long Hall.

In 2018, founding Dean Paul Parsons stepped down to return to the faculty, and was replaced by Rochelle Ford.[24]

School of Law[edit]

The Elon University School of Law opened on August 10, 2006. The School of Law is located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina in the former city library. Former United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the Dedication Address on September 19, 2006. The School of Law houses a working court — the North Carolina Business Court. The School describes itself as preparing its graduates "to be not only successful lawyers who can excel at the highest levels of the profession, but also leading contributors to the well-being of the region, nation and world."[25]


For the Class of 2020, the University received approximately 10,058 applications from Early Decision, Early Action, Regular Decision, and Transfer Applicants. From the application pool, around 1,500 students enrolled with an acceptance rate of 56%. "[26] The average student coming to Elon in the Class of 2020 had a grade point average of 4.03, an SAT range of 1890-1970, and an ACT range of 27-31."[27]

Rankings and reputation[edit]

University rankings
Forbes[28] 120
U.S. News & World Report[29] 1
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Elon #1 among southern regional universities.[30] They also rank Elon as the #1 Southern University that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus or facilities"[31]
  • In 2012, Jay Mathews of The Washington Post named Elon the #1 under-appreciated college in the nation[32]
  • In 2015, the Daily Beast named Elon #4 on its list of "the decade's hottest schools"[33]
  • The Education Trust recognizes Elon for excellence in freshman retention and outstanding graduation rates[34]
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges ranks Elon one of 24 "best buy" private universities[35]
  • The Carnegie Foundation chose Elon as one of 76 schools meriting their new Community Engagement Classification in 2007[36]
  • Princeton Review and Campus Compact chose Elon as one of 81 "colleges with a conscience" in the United States[37]
  • The Templeton Guide chose Elon as one of the 100 universities that does best with the "character development" of its students[38]
  • The Kaplan Day Star Guide to Colleges for African-American Students named Elon one of the hundred best schools in the US for African-American students.[38] In 2005, the Education Trust named Elon as one of only fifteen schools in the United States where there is a small or non-existent gap between the graduation rates of African-American and white students.[39]

Student body[edit]

Elon has a student body of 6,008 undergraduate students and 731 graduate students. Approximately 59.5% of students are female and about 40.5% of students are male. Elon students come from all 50 states and 69 countries.[40]

From State Percentage
North Carolina 20%
Massachusetts 12%
Maryland 8%
Illinois 8%
New Jersey 6%
Virginia 6%
Pennsylvania 5%
Connecticut 4%
New York 4%
Florida 3%


Elon Athletics wordmark

Elon's 17 varsity sports teams, known as the Phoenix, joined the NCAA's Division I Colonial Athletic Association on July 1, 2014 after a decade in the Southern Conference. Intercollegiate sports include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, and tennis for men, and basketball, cross-country, golf, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, softball, tennis, lacrosse, and volleyball for women. The football team competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA).

Campus Recreation offers intramural and club sports programs, such as baseball, cycling, lacrosse, flag football, equestrian, swimming, rugby union, triathlon, water skiing, ice hockey and Ultimate Frisbee. During Winter Term the intramurals include bowling, arena football, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and a monster golf tournament.

Up until 2000, the mascot of Elon was the Fighting Christian. Early Elon athletic teams were known as the "Christians" with the name "Fighting Christians" gaining popularity by 1923.[41] The nickname was chosen due to Elon's proximity to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Guilford Quakers, and the Duke Blue Devils.[42] As Elon committed itself to diversity, however, and the number of non-Christian students at the school increased, the decision was made to change Elon's mascot.[43] In 2000, a new mascot was adopted, the Phoenix. The choice came from the 1923 fire that destroyed almost the entire campus and the college's subsequent recovery.


Elon's sports facilities include two gymnasiums, Walter C. Latham Baseball Park, Rhodes Stadium, Hunt Softball Park, the on-campus football stadium, Alumni Field House, Koury Field House, six club athletic fields, Worseley Golf Center, and Koury Center, which features the 2,400 seat Alumni Gym, an aerobic fitness center, a weight room, racquetball courts, an indoor pool, and a dance studio. The Jimmy Powell Tennis Center is a twelve-court state-of-the-art complex and is recognized as one of the finest collegiate tennis complexes in the nation.[44] The 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) facility at the north end of Rhodes Stadium in the North Athletics Complex is the new headquarters for Phoenix athletics.[45] Construction finished in 2018 on the 5,100-seat Schar Center, which is the home to Elon's basketball and volleyball programs, as well as a venue for other major Elon events.[46]


Elon's historic campus is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, adjacent to Burlington, a city of 50,000. Elon is 20 minutes from Greensboro and within a one-hour drive of many other universities – Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University, Guilford College, and Wake Forest.

Princeton Review as well as The New York Times has ranked Elon University as the most beautiful campus in the country multiple times. Elon's 600-acre (242.8 ha) campus is divided into seven major neighborhoods: Historic Campus, Central Campus, Global Neighborhood, The Oaks, The Station at Mill Point, Danieley Center, East Neighborhood, The Colonnades, and South Campus. Each area consists of different services and facilities. There are 46 residence buildings on campus and 20 major academic buildings. Elon also has numerous lakes and fountains throughout its campus.

Spike Lee used Elon as one of the university locations for the movie He Got Game. The Alamance Building, Fonville Fountain, and the Moseley Center's outside patio were the setting for the movie's "Tech University."

Campus life[edit]

The university has more than 250 campus organizations and programs, including 13 national fraternities and 14 national sororities.

Student Media[edit]

The Pendulum, Elon's undergraduate weekly newspaper is published every Wednesday. WSOE, the University's student-run non-commercial campus radio station, has been airing since 1977. ESTV (Elon Student Television) is the Student television station featuring numerous student-created and -run programs.

In 2016, with advice of their faculty advisers, the two largest student media organizations on campus; Elon Local News (ELN) and The Pendulum Newspaper, merged to form the new Elon News Network (ENN). ENN now operates out of the newly constructed newsroom in the McEwen Building of the School of Communications, and anchors the many state of the art facilities now available in the School of Communications. Following a 2016 expansion of facilities, The School of Communications consists of Iris Holt McEwen Hall, the Snow Family Grand Atrium, Turner Theatre, Dwight C. Schar Hall, Steers Pavilion, and Long Hall, which houses the MA in Interactive Media graduate program and the sport management major.[47]

Extra-curricular organizations[edit]

Numerous student government, special interest, and service organizations are represented on campus, including Elon Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity, Model UN, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Alpha Phi Omega, the Inter-Residence Council, the Elon University Student Government Association, and the Student Union Board. Cultural groups on campus include the Asian-Pacific Islander Student Association, Black Student Union, the Caribbean Student Association, Hillel, Intercultural Club, and Spectrum (Gay-Straight Alliance).

Elon is home to the Fire of the Carolinas Marching Band (FOTC), which delivers pre-game, halftime, and occasionally post-game performances at home football games. The band also includes color guard (flag spinning) and dance auxiliary squads.[48]

Religious life[edit]

Religious groups on campus include Catholic Campus Ministry, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, the Iron Tree Blooming Meditation Society, the Muslim Student Association, Baptist Student Union, and Campus Outreach.[49]

The Jewish population at Elon has grown especially rapidly in recent years, with twelve percent of recent classes self-identifying as Jewish.[50][51] Elon was profiled in Reform Judaism magazine in 2011 as a school which has "gone the extra mile" to make itself more attractive to Jewish students,[52] and since 2013 it has been listed as one of the "top schools Jews choose."[53][54]

The Muslim student population is small but has increased dramatically in size in recent years,[55] and a Muslim Student Association formed at Elon in 2011.[49]

The Hindu population has also increased in size,[55] Hindu festivals have become an important part of the university calendar,[51] and Hindu students report feeling accepted at Elon.[56]

Elon has worked closely with the Interfaith Youth Core in developing a university distinguished by religious diversity and interreligious dialogue.[51] The university has received praise for its efforts to build a multi-faith center that is open to students of all religious traditions. The Truitt Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, located within the Numen Lumen Pavilion of the Academic Village, serves a wide variety of purposes and continues to be a model of tolerance and learning for other universities.[57]

Greek life[edit]

Elon University recognizes 25 social Greek organizations. Forty-three percent of women and twenty-six percent of men on campus belong to one of the following campus-chartered organizations.

Interfraternity Council National Panhellenic Conference Panhellenic Council Professional Fraternity Association

Student traditions[edit]

Acorn and Oak Tradition[edit]

At the start of each school year, Elon University holds a New Student Convocation ceremony for first year and transfer students.[58] It is held “Under the Oaks” behind the West Dormitory. Each new student receives their own acorn at the close of the ceremony to symbolize their beginning at Elon. Upon Graduation, each student receives an oak sapling, which is supposed to symbolize their growth at the university as well as the growth in their own lives.[59] The use of the acorn and oak sapling is significant because Elon was named after the Hebrew word for “oak” because of the grove of oak trees it was founded on.[60] The Oak Sapling tradition began in 1991, and the Acorn tradition began in 1999 after Leo Lambert became president of the university.[58]


Elonthon began in 1980 as a Dance Marathon for Duke Children's Hospital. Each year, about three thousand Elon students participate in a 24-hour event and raise money for Children's Miracle Network and Duke Children's Hospital.[61] Most recently, dancers at the 2017 Elonthon raised a record-breaking $351,554 for Duke Children's Hospital.[62]

Turkey Trot[edit]

The Turkey Trot began in 1991 with fewer than 10 students participating. Each November, hundreds of students, faculty and staff gather to run a five kilometer trail around campus, one participant wearing a turkey costume, while the other runners chase the "turkey". Participants contribute canned goods to a local agency benefiting the community.[63]


Festivus is an unofficial annual spring festival and BBQ cookout started in 2005, held once a year on a Saturday during the spring.[64][65] It is financed entirely by the students and generous alumna[66] and takes place off-campus in the parking lot of Sheridan Apartments.[67]

Greek Week[edit]

A week in which all the sororities and fraternities compete while raising money for charity.

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


Arts, literature, and entertainment[edit]


Politics and military[edit]



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External links[edit]