A Timeline of Elon History

Elon Main Building

1889: N.C. Legislature issues charter for Elon College, a four-year coeducational institution, located at Mill Point and founded by the Christian Church; William S. Long is founder and first president; 76 students are enrolled

1890: Main (Administration) Building is completed

1891: Elon College Monthly, the first student publication, is established

1891: Nathaniel G. Newman, C.C. Peel and Herbert Scholz make up the first graduating class

1892: M. Irene Johnson is the first female graduate and becomes first female faculty member

1893: Town of Elon College is incorporated; Glee Club, the first student musical group, is formed

1894: William W. Staley named 2nd president

1900: Baseball becomes the first intercollegiate sport

1905: Emmett L. Moffitt named 3rd president; central heat, electricity, running water and indoor plumbing are installed during his presidency

1907: Electric lights are turned on for the first time on New Year's Day

1911: William A. Harper named 4th president

1913: Phi Psi Cli, the yearbook, begins publication

1918: Senior class shrinks from 46 to 30 as men enlist to fight in WWI

1923: Fire destroys Main Building, including school records, classrooms, library and chapel; trustees immediately vote to rebuild; Alamance Building opens in Fall 1923

1924: Whitley Auditorium, Carlton Library and Duke Building open; citizens of Alamance County are active in fundraising for rebuilding efforts following the disastrous 1923 fire

1925: Mooney (social and religious activities) Building opens

1931: Leon Edgar Smith named 5th president, beginning a 25-year term as the longest-serving president; enrollment declines to 87 students due to the effects of the Great Depression

1933: Dramatic arts students organize Delta Psi Omega with performances held in Whitley Auditorium

1936: The college faces the risk of financial collapse; President Smith persuades creditors to accept partial payments, convinces faculty to compromise on delinquent salaries and launches a new fund drive

1937: First issue of the Colonnades, the student literary magazine, is published

1941: W. Clifton Elder '25 receives first outstanding alumnus award

1943: 672 pilots are trained on campus for WWII duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps; their enrollment provides critical financial stability

1946: Returning WWII GIs increase enrollment to nearly 700

1949: Fightin' Christians defeat Edenton Marines 80-0 in Elon's first football game played at Burlington Memorial Stadium

1950: Alumni Memorial Gymnasium opens and is dedicated to alumni who died in WWI and WWII

1955: Enrollment exceeds 1,000

1956: Trustee and N.C. Secretary of State Thad Eure drafts new charter, clarifying ownership and relationship with the church

1957: J. Earl Danieley named 6th president; at age 32, he is one of the nation's youngest college presidents

1961: Elon's railroad station, once the primary means of transportation for students and faculty, is dismantled

1962: Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks at Founders Day

1966: William S. Long student center opens; Hook, Brannock and Barney Halls dedicated, honoring veteran faculty members Alonzo Hook, Ned Brannock and John Barney

1968: Students, faculty and staff form a human chain to move books from Carlton building to the new Iris Holt McEwen Library; Tau Kappa Epsilon is the first nationally chartered fraternity

1969: First study abroad trip to England; Sigma Sigma Sigma is the first nationally chartered sorority

1969: Eugene E. Perry is the first African-American graduate; Elon awards its 5,000th degree

1970: Caroline Powell building opens; Jordan Gymnasium and Beck Pool are constructed

1971: Basketball is the first women's varsity sport

1973: J. Fred Young named 7th president; enrollment exceeds 2,000

1974: First edition of the student newspaper, The Pendulum, is printed

1977: First WSOE radio broadcast

1980: Elon wins first NAIA national football championship

1981: Historic Senior Oak tree, the traditional place for photographs, first kisses and marriage proposals, dies and is removed; Elon repeats as NAIA national football champs

1982: Scott Plaza and Fonville Fountain are completed

1983: Elon awards its 10,000th degree

1984: Master of Business Administration becomes first master's program; College Coffee tradition begins

1985: Martha and Spencer Love School of Business is established with the first $1 million gift in Elon history

1986: Enrollment exceeds 3,000; Master of Education program begins

1987: Elon University Center for the Arts opens

1988: Jimmy Powell Tennis Center opens and is recognized as one of the finest collegiate tennis complexes in the nation; Habitat for Humanity chapter is established

1989: Year-long centennial celebration; former President Jimmy Carter speaks on campus; Pride II Campaign concludes, raising $8 million

1991: Trustees adopt The Plan for the 1990s strategic plan

1993: Center for Service Learning is established (endowed as the John R. Kernodle Jr. Center for Service Learning in 1997)

1994: Investing In Excellence Campaign raises $21 million; Stewart Fitness Center opens; Elon Vision strategic plan is launched

1995: Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher dedicates Moseley Center, Koury Center and the Center for the Arts

1997: Loy Center is dedicated, providing on-campus facilities for Greek organizations

1998: Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center opens; Master of Physical Therapy program is established

1999: Leo M. Lambert named 8th president; transition to NCAA Division I athletics is completed; Danieley Center is dedicated

2000: Carol Grotnes Belk Library opens; College of Arts and Sciences, Schools of Education and Communications established; NewCentury@Elon strategic plan created; enrollment exceeds 4,000; Young Commons dedicated; the Phoenix is adopted as the new athletics identity; Isabella Cannon '24 delivers commencement address at age 96, appears on national television; Elon awards its 20,000th degree; Queen Noor of Jordan speaks at fall convocation

2001: Elon Vision campaign concludes, raising $46.7 million; former President George Bush speaks on campus; Elon College becomes Elon University; Town of Elon College becomes Town of Elon; Rhodes Stadium opens

2002: Isabella Cannon International Studies Pavilion and William R. Kenan Jr. Honors Pavilion open in the Academic Village; primatologist Jane Goodall speaks at Spring Convocation; former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto speaks at Fall Convocation; Belk Track and White Field are completed

2003: Elon enrolls first class of Doctor of Physical Therapy students; Elon purchases 75 acres of the Elon Homes and Schools for Children campus, including Johnston Hall, Holt Chapel and other buildings; broadcasting legend Walter Cronkite visits campus; Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at Spring Convocation; Elon joins the Southern Conference for athletics

2004: Martha and Spencer Love School of Business achieves AACSB International accreditation; former presidential adviser David Gergen serves as Elon's first Isabella Cannon Distinguished Visiting Professor of Leadership; Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel speaks at Spring Convocation; Board of Trustees votes to establish Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, N.C.; Ella Darden and Elmon Lee Gray Pavilion opens in Academic Village

2005: Pioneering astronaut John Glenn dedicates site of new Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center; Elon named one of nation's 25 "Hottest Colleges" by Newsweek-Kaplan; Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduates charter class; construction begins on School of Law facility in Greensboro

2006: Elon University School of Law opens in downtown Greensboro, N.C. with a charter class of 115 students; the school is formally dedicated by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor; Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center opens; former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell delivers Convocation for Honors address; School of Communications achieves ACEJMC accreditation; The Oaks, a student residence complex, opens; Elon named one of nation's top three universities for community service in President Bush's inaugural Higher Education Service Honor Roll; total enrollment exceeds 5,000 for the first time

2007: William Henry Belk Pavilion and Luvene Holmes and Royall H. Spence Jr. Pavilion open in the Academic Village; The Colonnades Dining Hall and the Colonnades Residence Halls A & B open; The Elon Academy, an outreach program for Alamance County high school students, is launched; the Lumen Prize is established as the university's premier award recognizing student scholarship

2008: Elon University School of Law receives provisional approval by the American Bar Association; Breanna Detwiler becomes the first Elon student to receive the prestigious Truman Scholarship; former President Bill Clinton speaks on campus on behalf of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for president

2009: Elon University School of Law graduates its charter class; a master's program in interactive media is launched; Lindner Hall, the home of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, opens in the Academic Village; Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic society, votes to establish an Elon University chapter

2010: Elon trustees approve the establishment of the 56-acre Elon University Forest; Elon trustees approve the addition of a master's program in physician assistant studies; a full renovation of Alumni Gym is completed, including the newly-named Robertson Court

2011: Alumni Field House opens at Rhodes Stadium, the new headquarters of Phoenix athletics; Elon trustees approve establishment of a School of Health Sciences; the Colonnades Residential Neighborhood is completed, including three new residence halls, Harper Hall, Staley Hall and Kivette Hall, along with Elon's first geothermal energy system; five new Greek Life houses open in Loy Center; the Ever Elon fundraising campaign concludes on Dec. 31, raising a record $107.3 million

2012: The Gerald L. Francis Center opens as the home of Elon's School of Health Sciences; The Station at Mill Point, a townhouse residential neighborhood for juniors and seniors, opens on Williamson Avenue; Elon purchases the 20-acre Snyder Campus of Elon Homes and Schools for Children, expanding the university's South Campus; the undergraduate program of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business is ranked among the nation's best by Bloomberg Businessweek; the Student Professional Development Center opens in Moseley Center; trustees approve the addition of women's lacrosse as a new NCAA Division I sport

2013: Elon enrolls the inaugural class of the master's program in physician assistant studies; Hunt Softball Park opens in the North Athletics Complex; Lakeside Dining Hall opens as a major expansion of Moseley Center; the Numen Lumen Pavilion, Elon's multi-faith center, opens as the final building in the Academic Village; Elon opens the Downtown Center for Community Engagement in Burlington, N.C.; the first two residence halls open in the Global Neighborhood; the Martin Alumni Center opens at the corner of Haggard Avenue and N. O'Kelly; Elon begins celebration of its 125th anniversary year

2014: Opening of the Global Neighborhood, including the Great Hall and five residential buildings; opening of Scott Studios for performing arts; opening of new South Campus facilities for psychology and human service studies; inaugural season of women's lacrosse; opening of fully renovated Jerry and Jeanne Robertson Track and Field Complex; first year of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association; celebration of Elon's 125th anniversary at spring Founders Day; announcement of the largest gift in Elon history - a $12 million commitment by parents Dwight and Martha Schar for new School of Communications facilities

2015: Opening of Inman Admissions Welcome Center; Physician Assistant Studies charter class graduates; The Phoenix Activities & Recreation Center (PARC) opens in Danieley Neighborhood; Master of Science in Management program launches with inaugural class

2016: Park Place at Elon residential facility opens on West Haggard Avenue; Elon announces launch of Design Thinking Initiative with a gift from Trustee Cindy Citrone and husband Rob; groundbreaking ceremonies celebrate start of construction of Schar Center, a 5,400-seat athletics and event venue 

2017: Opening and dedication of new School of Communications facilities: Dwight C. Schar Hall, including Turner Theatre, Steers Pavilion, Snow Family Grand Atrium, Citrone Plaza, and the renovated Iris Holt McEwen Building and Long Building

Key Facts

Location: Elon, North Carolina
Founded: 1889
Size of campus: 636 acres
Colors: Maroon & Gold
Mascot: The Phoenix

Enrollment 2017-18

Undergraduate: 6,045
Graduate: 746
Total: 6,791

Top states (undergrad):

Elon students come from 49 states, the District of Columbia and 58 other nations

First-year admissions

2017-18 Applications: 9,623
Admitted: 6,402
Enrolled: 1,573
SAT average: 1225
ACT average: 27
Average GPA: 3.98

2017-18 Cost

Tuition & fees: $34,273
Room & board: $11,869


Calendar: 4-1-4 (includes January term)
60+ majors
Full-time faculty: 433
Student/faculty ratio: 12/1
Average class size: 20
4-year graduation rate: 81%
Freshman retention rate: 89%

Students by major:
(includes double and triple majors)

Graduate programs

Total enrollment: 746

The Elon Experiences

Undergraduate participation:

  • Volunteer service– 89%
  • Internships– 87%
  • Study abroad– 79%
  • Leadership– 45%
  • Undergraduate research– 27%


17 intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports in NCAA Division I (FCS in football)

18 intramural sports and 21 club sports for men and women

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