Elon kicks off #ElonDay celebration with a cup of java
A special College Coffee on Tuesday morning helped shift giving into high gear for the fourth #ElonDay.
Students, faculty and staff who had gathered in the sunshine around Fonville Fountain on Scott Plaza let out cheers and raised cups of coffee Tuesday morning to help kick off #ElonDay, the university's single-day giving event to celebrate its 128th birthday.
This year marks the fourth #ElonDay, with those on campus and thousands of alumni, parents and friends of the university around the world spending the day celebrating the pride they have in Elon. It's a chance to encourage engagement and philanthropy among the widespread university family, with the goal this year of topping last year's tally of 3,749 gifts that raised $955,000.
"This year on Elon Day we again proudly proclaim, 'We Are Elon,'" said President Leo M. Lambert before the hundreds gathered in front of the Alamance Building, with many more watching a live stream of the event online. "Together, both here on campus and with our alumni throughout the world, we commit to making the world a better place, using the habits of mind and heart that are cultivated at Elon."
Students snapped selfies to post to social media while members of the Class of 2017 chipped in with senior gifts and others held up "We Are Elon" signs. The Elon community celebrated the accomplishments of its women's basketball team, which last week secured its first Colonial Athletics Association regular season conference title, and a group of students spontaneously broke into a cheer routine.
The crowd erupted when Lambert announced that supporters had already completed the day's first challenge — 1,000 gifts made by 9:30 a.m. With the challenge met, Jon and Nina Graves, the parents of Megan Graves '18, have committed $50,000 to create a new scholarship.
Lambert noted that this year's #ElonDay felt a bit different, after Elon has lost "so many legends" during the last several months, including President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley '46, long-time benefactor Edna Truitt Noiles '44, and friend of the university Bill Loy. "I am feeling that we have inherited fully Elon's noble legacy, and it is now in the care of our generations and that is an awesome responsibility," Lambert said.
Anna Rice '17, an executive intern who worked with the Office of Advancement to help organize #ElonDay, stepped up to the podium to announce the next challenge — hitting the 2,000-gift mark by 2:50 p.m. If met, the parents of a current Elon junior, who choose to remain anonymous, will create a $250,000 student scholarship. Rice noted that with these challenges, "every gift leverages more support for our great university." Elon supporters came through, and surpassed the 2,000-gift goal with time to spare.
A mobile-friendly #ElonDay website is being updated throughout the day to include a total of Elon Day gifts in real-time, a live list of donors and interactive leaderboards displaying the academic schools, campus funds and athletic programs receiving support. Gifts of all sizes and designations will count toward the total given during the campaign.
On-campus events include the senior class giving committee’s "A Toast for Elon" at 9 p.m. in McKinnon Hall, and an #ElonDay celebration in the Moseley Center at 10 p.m. with activities including photo booths and a Skee-Ball competition. Alumni chapters and clubs will also be holding #ElonDay events at nearly 40 locations across the country and in London.
"We are so excited about Elon Day this year," John Barnhill '92, assistant vice president for university advancement, told the crowd. "And remember — We Are Elon!"