Elon University

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

Elon University is a private university in Elon, North Carolina. Founded in 1889 as Elon College, Elon is organized into six schools, most of which offer bachelor's degrees and several of which offer master's degrees or professional doctorate degrees.

Elon University
Elon University seal.svg
Former name
Elon College (1889–2001)
MottoNumen Lumen (Latin)
Motto in English
Intellectual and spiritual light
TypePrivate university
Established1889; 132 years ago (1889)[1]
AffiliationNonsectarian/Independent (Historic ties with the United Church of Christ)
Endowment$261.6 million (2020)[2]
PresidentConnie Ledoux Book
ProvostAswani Volety
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
656 acres (265.5 ha)[1]
ColorsMaroon and Gold[3]
AthleticsNCAA Division ICAA
Elon University logo.svg

Located in North Carolina's Piedmont region, Elon is situated on a 656-acre suburban campus between the cities of Greensboro and Raleigh. Fewer than twenty percent of Elon's undergraduates are native to the state of North Carolina. Elon's intercollegiate athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I athletics as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association.


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
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] 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 became known as a selective university and, by 2013, 82% of incoming students were from out of state.[6] 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 transformed itself from a regional religious college to a selective, nationally recognized university.[7]

Elon is no longer affiliated with the United Church of Christ.[8][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]

On October 9, 2017, the Elon Board of Trustees elected Dr. Constance "Connie" Ledoux Book as the ninth president of the University. Book became Elon's first female President on March 1, 2018.[11]


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.[12]

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

Elon College, the College of Arts and SciencesEdit

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 BusinessEdit

The Martha and Spencer Love School of Business offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing.[13]

School of CommunicationsEdit

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.[14]

School of LawEdit

The Elon University School of Law opened on August 10, 2006. The School 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.[15]

School of Health SciencesEdit

Established in April 2011, Elon's School of Health Sciences offers a doctor of physical therapy (DPT) program and a physician assistant (PA) studies master's program.

School of EducationEdit

The School of Education offers both licensure and non-licensure undergraduate majors, as well as Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Arts in Higher Education (MHE) degrees.


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%.[16] The average student coming to Elon in the class of 2020 had a grade point average of 4.303, an SAT range of 1890-1930, and an ACT range of 27–31.[17]

Rankings and reputationEdit

University rankings
Forbes[18] 133
THE/WSJ[19] 143
U.S. News & World Report[20] 88
Washington Monthly[21] 146

U.S. News & World Report ranks Elon tied for 88th overall among national universities in 2021. The same edition ranked Elon 2nd out of 73 for "Best Undergraduate Teaching", 10th "Most Innovative" out of 83, 110th for "Best Value" and tied for 371st in "Top Performers on Social Mobility" among national universities.[22] In 2020 Elon was the only university with top-10 rankings in all of U.S. News's "Academic Programs to Look For" categories.[23]

Student bodyEdit

Elon has a student body of 6,277 undergraduate students and 811 graduate students. Approximately 59% of students are female and about 41% of students are male.[24] Elon students come from 47 states and 53 countries; the leading suppliers of undergraduates are North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Maryland.[1]


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.[25] The nickname was chosen due to Elon's proximity to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Guilford Quakers, and the Duke Blue Devils.[26] As Elon committed itself to diversity, and the number of non-Christian students increased, the decision was made to change Elon's mascot.[27] 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, Schar Center, Walter C. Latham Baseball Park, Rhodes Stadium, Hunt Softball Park, 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, a twelve-court complex, won an "Outstanding Facility Award" from the United States Tennis Association.[28] 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.[29] Construction was completed on the 5,100-seat Schar Center in 2018. The Schar Center is the home to Elon's basketball and volleyball programs, as well as a venue for other major Elon events, such as convocation.[30]


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.

Elon's 656-acre (265.5 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. There are 46 residence buildings on campus and 20 major academic buildings. Elon also has numerous lakes and fountains throughout its campus. The Elon College Historic District and Johnston Hall are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[31]

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 lifeEdit

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

Student mediaEdit

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. 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.[32]

Extra-curricular organizationsEdit

Numerous student government, special interest, and service organizations are represented on campus, including Elon Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity, Model UN, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, 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.[33]

Religious lifeEdit

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.[34]

The Jewish population at Elon has grown especially rapidly in recent years, with twelve percent of recent classes self-identifying as Jewish.[35][36] 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,[37] and since 2013 it has been listed as one of the "top schools Jews choose."[38][39] The Muslim student population is small but has increased dramatically in size in recent years,[40] and a Muslim Student Association formed at Elon in 2011.[34] The Hindu population has also increased in size,[40] Hindu festivals have become an important part of the university calendar,[36] and Hindu students report feeling accepted at Elon.[41]

Elon has worked closely with the Interfaith Youth Core in developing religious diversity and interreligious dialogue.[36][42] 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 all religious traditions.[43]

Fraternity and sorority lifeEdit

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.[citation needed]

Interfraternity Council National Panhellenic Conference Panhellenic Council Professional Fraternity Association

Student traditionsEdit

At the start of each school year, Elon University holds a New Student Convocation ceremony for first year and transfer students.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46] The Oak Sapling tradition began in 1991, and the Acorn tradition began in 1999 after Leo Lambert became president of the university.[44]

Notable facultyEdit


Notable alumniEdit


Arts, literature, and entertainmentEdit


Politics and militaryEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Elon University Facts & Figures". Elon University. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ "Elon University Identity Standards - Core Colors". Elon.edu. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  4. ^ George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004)
  5. ^ The Review of Higher Education, http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/review_of_higher_education/v028/28.4renn.html
  6. ^ "Factbook" (PDF). Retrieved May 18, 2019.
  7. ^ George Keller, Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 109
  8. ^ "College and Universities - United Church of Christ". Ucc.org. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  9. ^ "Is Elon's religious affiliation still prevalent?". Elon News Network. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  10. ^ "About Elon University". elon.edu.
  11. ^ Stancill, Jane. "Elon University's first female president takes the reins". newsobserver. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ "Top schools with undergraduate business programs". Businessweek. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "School of Communications - Courses and Curriculum". Elon.edu. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  15. ^ "Elon Law - The Leadership Program". Elon.edu. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  16. ^ "Elon Admissions Statistics". Elon.edu. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  17. ^ "Elon Admissions First Year Class Profile". Elon.edu. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  18. ^ "America's Top Colleges 2019". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2021". Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  20. ^ "2021 Best National University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  21. ^ "2020 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  22. ^ "Elon University Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  23. ^ Newsom, John. "In the latest U.S. News college rankings, Elon debuts in the top 100 among some famous names". Greensboro News and Record. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  24. ^ "How Diverse is Elon University?". College Factual. February 20, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  25. ^ "Elon University Student Newspaper". Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  26. ^ "Elon College Fighting Christians". North Carolina Digital Heritage Center Blog. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  27. ^ George Keller. Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction, (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), p. 39.
  28. ^ "USTA Outstanding Facility Awards". USTA.com. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  29. ^ "Alumni Field House opens". E-Net! Elon University News & Information.
  30. ^ "Elon University Phoenix - Schar Center Groundbreaking Marks Historic Milestone for Elon". Elonphoenix.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  31. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  32. ^ "Elon's campus busy with summer construction activity". E-Net! Elon University News & Information.
  33. ^ "Elon University Music Department". Org.elon.edu. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  34. ^ a b "Elon University - Office of Religious Life". elon.edu.
  35. ^ "Page Not Found". elon.edu. Cite uses generic title (help)
  36. ^ a b c "Trusteeship Magazine - An Interfaith Dialogue for the 21st Century Campus" (PDF).
  37. ^ Admissions 105: Unexpected Welcomes, by Claire D. Friedlander, reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=2865
  38. ^ "Elon listed among 'The Top Schools Jews Choose'". Elon.edu. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  39. ^ "Hillel College Guide lists Elon among top 'Schools Jews Choose'". Elon.edu. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  40. ^ a b "Progressive view of faith at Elon - Elon University's News Organization". Elonpendulum.com. August 26, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2015.
  41. ^ "The Pendulum - Elon University's News Organization". The Pendulum.
  42. ^ Patel, Eboo (2018). Interreligious/Interfaith Studies. Beacon Press. ISBN 9780807020098.
  43. ^ "Hindus laud prestigious Elon University over construction plans of multi-faith center - TopNews". topnews.in.
  44. ^ a b "Page Not Found". www.elon.edu. Cite uses generic title (help)
  45. ^ "New Student Orientation - Elon Traditions". Elon.edu. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  46. ^ Towsend, Eric, A New Arrival Under the Oaks, 4/15/2014 http://www.elon.edu/E-Net/Article/92112
  47. ^ https://academic.oup.com/jaar/article-abstract/84/2/367/2572528
  48. ^ https://www.wired.com/story/free-speech-issue-antifa-data-mining
  49. ^ "Baltimore Ravens: Aaron Mellette". baltimoreravens.com. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  50. ^ "Jimmy Smith". NFL Enterprises LLC. Retrieved October 30, 2012.

External linksEdit