Founded in 1989 by Isabella Cannon, Elon ‘24 graduate and former mayor of Raleigh, this dynamic opportunity instills values of academic excellence, strong leadership, and camaraderie within a cohort of inspired change makers. As a Leadership Fellow, you will immediately join a group of students driven to strengthen their leadership capacities and leave an impact within the Elon community. This program is designed to cultivate first-year students into premier leaders on Elon’s campus; upon graduation, Leadership Fellow alumni transfer their strong leadership skills to the workforce and their new communities. To learn more about the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows visit the program website

During the four-year program, you will:

  • Develop and strengthen your leadership abilities to best impact yourselves, your communities, and the world.
  • Partake in a nationally recognized, co-curricular leadership development program, combining the experiential components of the LEAD Program with the academic rigor of the Leadership Studies minor.
  • Be a part of an inclusive community from the moment you step foot on campus, maintaining this bond in many ways that are exclusive to Fellows, including:
    • Orientation events
    • Forums, monthly speakers and workshops
    • Weekend retreats
    • Academic classes
  • Exhibit your learning and development through the Common Good project, a time for you to take the reins and develop a program that will create a lasting impact on a community.

Learning to Lead

The Leadership Fellows program is rooted in curricular and co-curricular learning. As a Leadership Studies minor, you will be exposed to multiple theories and practices of leadership. The curriculum will help you appreciate leadership as an academic inquiry, understand your own leadership vision and values, and prepare you for key informal and formal leadership roles.

As a Leadership Fellow, you will participate in  the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program. As part of this program you learn about leadership from the following perspectives:

Leading for self

Investigate your leadership style, collaborate with others, and participate in campus clubs and organizations as you use your strengths to demonstrate leadership on campus.

Leading with others

Develop your leadership skills to lead with others through workshops, a retreat, and a conference. Identify a leadership coach who will mentor and challenge you to explore your effectiveness as a leader.

Leading for Change

Apply and synthesize your experience by deepening your leadership development through involvement in a variety of campus leadership opportunities. Integrate your experience with a common good project and capstone presentation of your leadership journey at Elon.

Who should apply?

Students who are outstanding leaders in their high schools and/or communities, have held one or more leadership positions in organizations, and have a GPA of 3.6 or better are encouraged to apply. Standardized test scores will also be considered. All applications will be reviewed. Select applicants will then be invited to interview during Fellows Weekend (March 2-3, 2018).   

Twenty-five incoming first-year students are selected annually based on leadership experience and potential, academic performance, essays and interviews. Additionally, lateral entry opportunities are available for students who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential following their first semester at Elon.

Program Benefits


Nine first-year Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows receive scholarships valued at $5,500 annually. In addition, all four cohorts of Fellows receive an Elon Experiences Grant of $1,000 to be used for study abroad. This amount is in addition to any Presidential or Elon Engagement scholarship received.

Leadership Courses

As a Leadership Fellow, you'll complete a minor in Leadership by taking courses such as: Foundation of Leadership, Psychology of Leadership and a Winter Term domestic travel experience. Additionally, you'll attend monthly Leadership Fellows Forums designed to encourage all of the Fellows to interact and discuss specific leadership topics.

Study Abroad Grant

All Leadership Fellows receive a $1,000 grant to use for a university-approved study abroad or Study USA experience.