(Edited excerpt from: “From a Grove of Oaks,” by the late George Troxler, professor of history and University Historian)
News of the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, spread though campus as students and faculty were gathering on Scott Plaza for the weekly College Coffee, which had been planned to celebrate the opening football game in Rhodes Stadium against Eastern Kentucky University scheduled for the following Saturday. Elon’s new marching band was ready to play, the football team was to be recognized, and Coach Al Seagraves was scheduled to speak. Instead, President Leo M. Lambert briefly summarized what had happened that morning, and Chaplain Richard McBride led students, faculty, and staff in prayer.
The university held a prayer service that afternoon in the sanctuary of Elon Community Church, and the following day 10:40 a.m. classes were canceled and a community-wide meeting was held in Alumni Gym. At noon on Friday, September 14, on Scott Plaza, McBride, students, and Elon’s a cappella groups led an observance of the national day of prayer proclaimed by President George W. Bush. The following Monday evening in McKinnon Hall, faculty from political science, religion, history, and philosophy discussed the terrorist attacks in the context of political conditions in the Middle East. The September 11 tragedy touched Elon directly; the father of sophomore Jason Boone ’05 died in the attack on the Pentagon. Six varsity athletics events were canceled or postponed because of the attacks, including what would have been the opening football game in Rhodes Stadium on September 15.