Community is a cherished Elon value. Our vision is to be a community in which each member of the Elon family is embraced, valued and respected.
In the Elon community, we are concerned about the education of the whole person. Our mission statement embraces our founders’ vision of “an academic community that transforms mind, body and spirit.”
Elon is taking a historic step toward supporting the spiritual life of all of our students as we begin construction this fall on the Numen Lumen Pavilion in the Academic Village. Named for the university motto signifying spiritual and intellectual light, the Numen Lumen Pavilion will house the new multi-faith center, a tangible symbol of the ideal that all faiths and spiritual traditions have an honored place at Elon.
This project also reflects our firm belief that much can be accomplished through interfaith communication, understanding, cooperation and service. Th at understanding is a key dimension in preparing our students to lead as globally aware citizens of the 21st century. Simply put, we hope the construction of the Numen Lumen Pavilion represents a modest Elon contribution toward achieving peace in the world, a slow process of building understanding and trust among people that happens one relationship at a time.
Of course, the Numen Lumen Pavilion will be a place for prayer, meditation and reflection in the very center of a busy campus, featuring both indoor and outdoor spaces for personal meditation and prayer; a large, round, light-filled sacred space that can be used for religious services; and a gathering room to host scholarly conferences, group meetings, meals and special events. It will be a space well used by Catholic Campus Ministries, Hillel, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, the Muslim Student Association and many other groups. The religious life staff of the Vera Richardson Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life will have offices in the pavilion.
We are excited that the Numen Lumen Pavilion will host visiting scholars and colloquia and foster dialogue among Elon faculty from a variety of academic disciplines about religion, faith and spirituality.
I am deeply grateful to many leaders on the Elon University board of trustees, especially Mark Mahaffey, Allen Gant and Kerrii Anderson ’79, who have supported this project at every turn and who have been personally involved in securing the funds for the project’s completion.
At the heart of what we hope to accomplish are discussions and interactions across faith traditions. The spirit of that work is already under way in Elon’s new Better Together living-learning community, where students such as roommates Mason Sklut, a Jewish student from Charlotte, N.C., and Toorialey Fazly, a Muslim student from Afghanistan, are showing what can be accomplished through peer-to-peer interfaith discussion, cooperation and service.
In making the endowment gift to the Truitt Center several years ago, Edna Truitt Noiles ’44 expressed her hope that Elon students would “learn about their faiths and other faiths and go into the world to live lives of reconciliation.” That powerful and noble ideal still inspires us today. The Numen Lumen Pavilion and the important discussions that will take place there will give new energy to that extraordinary vision.
Leo M. Lambert