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Elon University

Coordinates: 36°06′26″N 79°30′05″W / 36.1071867°N 79.5013207°W / 36.1071867; -79.5013207{{#coordinates:36.1071867|-79.5013207||||||| |primary |name= }}

Elon University
File:Elon seal.png
Former names
Elon College (1889–2001)
Motto Numen Lumen
Motto in English
Intellectual and spiritual light
Established 1889
Type Private
Affiliation None
Endowment $188.8 million[1]
President Leo Lambert
Academic staff
Undergraduates 5,599
Postgraduates 706
Location Elon, North Carolina, United States
Campus Suburban
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Colors Maroon and Gold          
Athletics Division I
16 varsity sports
Nickname Template:If empty

Elon University is a private liberal arts university in Elon, North Carolina, United States. Founded as Elon College in 1889, it became Elon University on June 1, 2001.


Presidents of Elon
President From To
William S. Long 1889 1894
William Wesley Staley 1894 1905
Emmett Leonidas Moffit 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

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.

In the early 1970s, Elon was an undergraduate college serving mainly local residents commuting from family homes,[2] attracting "regional students of average ability from families of modest means."[3] By the start of the 21st century, however, about 68 percent of Elon's students came from out-of-state and were only accepted if they met high academic standards.[3] Elon is a selective university[4] and, as of 2013, 82% of incoming students were from out of state.[5] 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 an unimpressive college to a selective, nationally recognized university.[6]

Elon maintains its historic relationship to the United Church of Christ, but is no longer directly affiliated.[7] 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."[8]

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 Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,[9] Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak,[10] Nobel Peace Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Muhammad Yunus, astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin and network news anchors Brian Williams[11] and Anderson Cooper.[12]

The Elon College Historic District and Johnston Hall are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[13]


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.[14][15]

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

Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences

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.

School of Business

The Martha and Spencer Love School of Business offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management and Marketing. In 2013, the part-time MBA program was ranked 5th in the United States by BusinessWeek.[16]

School of Communications

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.[17] The teaching staff is rich in professional experience, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, top corporate communicators, a CNN veteran and a Webby Honors winner. There are no lab fees, and students can sign out top-line digital media equipment to use for free.

Students each complete at least one required internship. Workplaces include NBC, 60 Minutes, National Geographic, MTV, DreamWorks, 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.[18]

Students in this discipline have several opportunities to gain practical experience, whether through working on the newspaper (The Pendulum), the radio station (WSOE), or one of many award-winning shows on Elon Student Television (ESTV) including two Emmy award winning shows: One-on-One Sports, and Phoenix14 News, both recognized by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Elon also has a public relations company called Live Oak Communications, 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. Elon Communications is also home to sketch comedy show Elon Tonight, established in 2010.

School of Law

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. According to US News the law school is currently "unranked".

Rankings and reputation

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Elon #1 among southern regional universities.[19] They also rank Elon as the #1 Southern University (and among the top 46 colleges and universities in the nation) "that have recently made the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty, student life, campus, or facilities"[20]
  • In 2003, Jay Mathews of The Washington Post named Elon the #1 under-appreciated college in the nation[21]
  • In 2009, the Daily Beast named Elon #4 on its list of "the decade's hottest schools"[22]
  • The Education Trust recognizes Elon for excellence in freshman retention and outstanding graduation rates[23]
  • The Fiske Guide to Colleges ranks Elon one of 24 "best buy" private universities[24]
  • Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranks Elon # 1 in the "total costs category" among the nation's top 50 best value private universities
  • Newsweek-Kaplan named Elon the hottest college in the nation for student engagement in its 2006 guide
  • The Carnegie Foundation chose Elon as one of 76 schools meriting their new Community Engagement Classification in 2007[25]
  • Princeton Review and Campus Compact chose Elon as one of 81 "colleges with a conscience" in the United States[26]
  • The Templeton Guide chose Elon as one of the 100 universities that does best with the "character development" of its students[27]
  • 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.[27] 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.[28]

Student body

Elon has a student body of 5,599 undergraduate students and 706 graduate students. 48 states, the District of Columbia, and 49 nations are represented in the student body.

From State Percentage
North Carolina 22%
Massachusetts 10%
Maryland 8%
New Jersey 8%
Virginia 7%
Pennsylvania 6%
Connecticut 6%
New York 6%
Florida 4%


Further information: Elon Phoenix

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.

The Elon Fightin' Christian Emblem

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.[29] The nickname was chosen due to Elon's proximity to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and the Duke Blue Devils.[30] 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.[31] In 2000, a new mascot was adopted, the Phoenix. The choice came from the 1923 fire that destroyed almost the entire campus. Soon after the fire, the university trustees began planning to make Elon "rise from the ashes". The Phoenix was a mythical creature that rose from the ashes of its predecessors.


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.[32] The Script error: No such module "convert". facility at the north end of Rhodes Stadium in the North Athletics Complex is the new headquarters for Phoenix athletics.[33]


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, and Wake Forest.

Princeton Review as well as the New York Times ranked Elon University as the nation's #1 most beautiful campus. Elon's Script error: No such module "convert". campus is divided into seven major sections: North Area, Central Campus, West Area, East Area, South Campus, Danieley Center, and Elon West. Each area consists of different services and facilities. There are 29 residence buildings on campus and 12 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

The university has more than 150 campus organizations and programs, including 12 national fraternities and 13 national sororities.

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. ETV (Elon Television) is the Student television station featuring numerous student-created and -run programs in addition to its nationally recognized news program, Phoenix14 News, produced by ESTV (Elon Student Television). Phoenix14News was ranked #1 college newscast by the Broadcast Education Association in 2009 and was recognized as the Best College Newscast by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Phoenix14News was at the center of controversy in March 2010, when former student journalist Nick Ochsner was denied a complete incident report from Elon's Campus Safety and Police Department following an open records request for the details surrounding a fellow student's arrest.[34] Ochsner has since sued the university and the state attorney general's office for the records.[35] On June 5, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university and the attorney general's office, holding that private university police departments, like that at Elon, are not subject to the state's open records law.[36]

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 Resident Student Association, the Student Government Association, and the Student Union Board. Cultural groups on campus include the Black Cultural Society, 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.

Religious life

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, Sigma Alpha Omega, and Campus Outreach.[37]

The Jewish population at Elon has grown especially rapidly in recent years, with ten percent of recent classes self-identifying as Jewish.[38][39] 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,[40] and in 2013 it was listed as one of the "top schools Jews choose."[41]

The Muslim student population is small but has increased dramatically in size in recent years,[42] and a Muslim Student Association formed at Elon in 2011.[37]

The Hindu population has also increased in size,[42] Hindu festivals have become an important part of the university calendar,[39] and Hindu students report feeling accepted at Elon.[43]

Elon has worked closely with the Interfaith Youth Core in developing a university distinguished by religious diversity and interreligious dialogue.[39] The university has received praise for its efforts to build a multi-faith center that is open to students of all religious traditions.[44]

Greek life

Elon University recognizes 25 social Greek organizations. Forty-three percent of women and 26% of men on campus belong to one of the following campus-chartered organizations.

Interfraternity Council National Pan-Hellenic Council Panhellenic Council Professional Fraternity Association

Student traditions

Acorn and Oak Tradition

At the start of each school year, Elon University holds a New Student Convocation ceremony for first year and transfer students.[45] 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.[46] 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.[47] The Oak Sapling tradition began in 1991, and the Acorn tradition began in 1999 after Leo Lambert became president of the university.[45]


ELONTHON began in 2003 as a Dance Marathon for Duke Children's Hospital. Each year, more than one thousand Elon students participate in a 24-hour event and raise money for Children's Miracle Network and Duke Children's Hospital. Activities during this event involve dancing, swimming, free food, fun performances, “color wars” with Elon athletes, meeting the CMN hospital patients and survivors, making friends, and watching the sunrise.[48] Participants can register for a minimum of 6 hours in this event. Most recently, dancers at the 2014 ELONTHON raised 176,000 dollars for the hospital. ELONTHON is Elon's largest student event, student philanthropic effort, and student organization. ELONTHON was also only the third Dance Marathon to double its fundraising total from year to year. The motto for Elonthon is For The Kids (FTK).

Turkey Trot

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.[49]


Festivus is an unofficial annual spring festival and BBQ cookout started in 2005, held once a year on a Saturday during the spring.[50][51] It is financed entirely by the students[52] and takes place off-campus in the parking lot of Sheridan Apartments,[53] which is a housing complex located on Haggard Avenue. The parking lot neighbors the Colonnades parking lot and the Danieley Center. Students arrive in clean clothes only to become covered in mud as the party continues. The name of Festivus originates from a 1996 episode of Seinfeld, wherein the characters engage in a parody of the commercialism of Christmas. While Festivus takes place in the Spring rather than the winter, it retains the same spirit, as students engage in rebellious activities like drinking and mud wrestling while observing to no rules.[54] The event remains under control as Elon police and EMTs stand by to keep the students safe. [55]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


Arts, literature, and entertainment


Politics and military



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2014. "NCSE Public Tables Endowment Market Values" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  2. ^ George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)
  3. ^ a b The Review of Higher Education,
  4. ^ The university is classified as selective by the CIS Higher Education Directory 2010, Council of International Schools, p. 204
  5. ^
  6. ^ George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 109
  7. ^
  8. ^ About Elon University
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Israeli War Hero Bisits Elon", Greensboro News and Record, January 17, 2002, B2
  11. ^ E-Net! News & Information
  12. ^ E-Net! News & Information
  13. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  14. ^ Phi Beta Kappa Society :: News View
  15. ^ The history of Elon's efforts to obtain a Phi Beta Kappa chapter is discussed in George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), pp. 70–72, 94
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Elon University – School of Communications Quick Facts
  19. ^ Elon University | Best College | US News
  20. ^ U.S. News & World Report ranks Elon among nation’s best
  21. ^ Colleges Worth Considering
  22. ^
  23. ^ Title II Report on Teacher Education
  24. ^ Fiske Guide Announces Best Buys |
  25. ^ E-Net! News & Information
  26. ^ E-Net! News & Information
  27. ^ a b George Keller, Transforming a College, p. 88
  28. ^ Elon University – Multicultural Center
  29. ^ "Elon University Student Newspaper". Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Elon College Fighting Christians". North Carolina Digital Heritage Center Blog. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  31. ^ George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 39
  32. ^ USTA Outstanding Facility Awards | USTA
  33. ^ E-Net! News & Information
  34. ^ Dean, Nick (June 1, 2011). "Student's suit against N.C. university seeks to open private campus police records". Student Press Law Center newsflash. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Ochsner v. Elon University and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper" (PDF). 
  36. ^ Zweifler, Seth (June 5, 2012). "Appeals court: Private college police not covered by N.C. open records law". Student Press Law Center newsflash. Retrieved June 7, 2012. 
  37. ^ a b Elon University – Office of Religious Life
  38. ^
  39. ^ a b c Trusteeship Magazine - An Interfaith Dialogue for the 21st Century Campus
  40. ^ Admissions 105: Unexpected Welcomes, by Claire D. Friedlander,
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b
  43. ^ The Pendulum – Hindu students faithful at Elon, even without formal organization
  44. ^ Hindus laud prestigious Elon University over construction plans of multi-faith center
  45. ^ a b First-Year Students,
  46. ^ Elon Traditions,
  47. ^ Towsend, Eric, A New Arrival Under the Oaks, 4/15/2014
  48. ^
  49. ^ "Elon University Traditions" Elon University Traditions Accessed: October 8, 2013
  50. ^ Horwitz, Audrey. "'Festivus for the Rest of Us' Comes to Elon" The Pendulum (May 8, 2012)>.
  51. ^ Moore, Andy. "I Attempted to Relive College Amid Mud-Wrestling and Keg-Killing" on (April 30, 2013)<>.
  52. ^
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ Newsroom — UVA Health System Corporate Site
  57. ^
  58. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  59. ^ "Jimmy Smith". NFL Enterprises LLC. Retrieved October 30, 2012. 

External links