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Connie Ledoux Book joins staff, students to start first day as president

President Book shared breakfast with staff and students as she started her tenure on Thursday, March 1.

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and President Connie Ledoux Book started her first day at Elon sharing three breakfasts and plenty of conversation with students and staff.

After working out at Campus Recreation early on Thursday, March 1, Book delivered Biscuitville biscuits to the crew at Elon Physical Plant at 7:30 a.m.

“I’m so pleased to start my day here,” she told the staff members in charge of keeping Elon’s campus — inside and outside — pristine. “I brought my favorite, Biscuitville, so I want you to enjoy breakfast with me and be the very first group that sets off this great day at Elon in this great learning environment.”

Book was greeted with a round of applause, and her gesture was received well. “It’s nice that she wants to get to know the people who keep the college clean,” said Jeanette Harrelson, a custodian. “She needs to know who we are, and I wish her the best of luck.”

Book shared breakfast No. 2 at 8 a.m. with Campus Safety and Police. She told the staff gathered to greet her how much she values the work they do, and the importance of keeping Elon’s campus safe.

"I wanted to just welcome all of you this morning to a breakfast and tell you that I notice and I’m watching," she said. "It’s critical the work that we do to keep our community safe, students, faculty and staff. I understand the importance of being on the ready, which is what you all do all day long, being on the ready."

Dennis Franks, the director of Campus Safety and Police, gave Book a challenge coin. The coin, which has the Elon University Police Department patch on one side and the words “commitment to excellence” on the other, holds great significance for police officers.

“We don’t just give these out to everyone,” Franks said. “I think the new president needs to know that university police are committed to excellence.”

The group of students gathered at the Long Table at Lakeside Dining Hall was excited to have a chance to chat with Book on her first day. It was fitting that they gathered at the Long Table, a place that can be reserved in the dining hall for intellectual discourse, because when Book arrived at 8:30 a.m., she made it clear that she wanted to hear from them.

“I think it’s great that she wants to get student opinions on everything and that she really wants to get to know all of the students here,” said Julia Walter ’20, who is majoring in cinema and television arts.

Book initiated the conversation by asking what they would do if they were president and spent close to an hour finding out what matters most to them. Students talked about a variety of subjects, from the value of diversity on campus to the importance of students getting off campus and engaging in the community together.

​Spencer Wagner ’18, who has a double major in political science and policy studies, said Book’s decision to share breakfast with students on her first day exemplified how much Elon puts students first.  

“I think this really reinforces the student-centered model that Elon has,” he said. “I’m grateful to go to an institution that really values students and treats them as colleagues. I’m really glad that Dr. Book is taking time to visit with students. I think she is going to be an excellent leader for Elon. She is thoughtful and deliberate, which are many of the same qualities that we have gotten to know in Dr. (Leo) Lambert.”

Roselee Papandrea Taylor,
3/1/2018 11:05 AM