Every day on the Elon campus I experience a sense of privilege for being a member of this dynamic community. To be at Elon is to be surrounded by ideas, arts, wonderful facilities and technology, and countless opportunities to nourish the mind, body and soul.
Imagine looking at our community through the eyes of young people outside our gates, persons who would never dream they could experience the wonders of the campus. These might be young people from disadvantaged families who would never expect that college, much less a private college, could possibly be within reach. They might be young people who have never had the opportunity to visit a college campus and dream about a future as a scientist, teacher, business person or lawyer. They might be bright young people of excellent character whose expectations about their lives are not nearly as high as they have a right to be. Many of these young people are our neighbors. We have an obligation to offer them a helping hand.
This year with the strong support of the board of trustees and the enthusiastic participation of many faculty, staff members and students, Elon will launch two exciting new programs to open the campus to deserving young people. The first is the Honorable Thad Eure Achievement Scholars Program, open to students from 12 counties in the central North Carolina Piedmont. The Thad Eure Scholars Program is named for a distinguished North Carolinian who served as North Carolina secretary of state for 52 years and chair of the Elon Board of Trustees for 34 years. Eure Scholars will receive annual scholarships of $12,000, which will be supplemented by other grants and need-based scholarship aid up to the full cost of Elon tuition, room and board. The scholars will also receive one-time $4,000 awards to support study abroad opportunities or undergraduate research experiences so that they might take full advantage of the Elon undergraduate experience.
In summer 2007, Elon University will also launch The Elon Academy, a program for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors from the six high schools in Alamance County. The Elon Academy, a three-week summer residential program, will provide academic enrichment, college counseling, mentoring by faculty and exposure to the resources of the university. Over the course of three successive summers at Elon and follow-up experiences during the academic year, The Elon Academy will offer deserving young people transformative life experiences that will put them on the path to a university education, and eventually, community leadership.
Alamance building, at the heart of Elon’s historic campus, is an enduring reminder of the support the college received from its Alamance County neighbors following the fire in 1923. The people of Alamance County helped Elon rebuild, and their aid was critical to the college’s survival. Today, as a leading institution in American education with a growing national reach, Elon must be mindful of its responsibility to give back to the local communities that have stood with the institution for 117 years. The Thad Eure Achievement Scholarships and The Elon Academy are the newest examples of hundreds of initiatives supported by our students, staff, faculty and alumni that have earned Elon University a deserved reputation as one of the most civically engaged campuses in the United States.
In the words of the great Thad Eure, “Long Live Elon!”
Leo M. Lambert