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. Leo M. Lambert announces his plans to conclude his tenure as Elon's eighth president. Elon women's basketball wins the Colonial Athletic Association title and makes the university's first appearance in the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.

2018: Connie Ledoux Book takes office as Elon University's ninth president on March 1.

Key Facts

Location: Elon, North Carolina
Founded: 1889
Size of campus: 656 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: 1223
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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