The university will be hosting a wide variety of events throughout 2023 connected to its commemoration of the 1923 fire and the century of resilience and innovation that has followed. This list will be updated periodically as new events and new details are finalized.

Tuesday, January 31 – Commemorative College Coffee

A commemoration kick-off during the first College Coffee of the spring semester. Guests can enjoy some fun giveaways along with commemorative breakfast items. This event will be in McKinnon Hall at 9:40 a.m.

Friday, February 3 – Campus Conversation: Developing Individual and Community Resilience

This session uses the Elon fire and Rosewood Massacre — both occurred in January 1923 — to spark a conversation about building resilience on our campus and in our communities. Campus scholars will provide some context for Rosewood and share how they would connect this event to their teaching. Then participants will discuss what it takes to build a resilient community, the challenges that stifle resilience, and how we can overcome these challenges in the work we do inside and outside of the classroom. The conversation concludes with uplifting thoughts related to thriving in challenging times. All faculty and staff are welcome.

Featured in the session, which will be held in McKinnon Hall at 2 p.m.: Lorraine Ahearn, Heather Barker, Jessica Carew, Rod Clare, Naeemah Clark, Vanessa Drew-Branch and Randy Williams.

Thursday, February 16 — Student Government Association commemorates the 1923 fire

At its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 16, the Elon University Student Government Association adopted a resolution to commemorate the 1923 fire, committing to preserve the university’s rich history, to work toward achieving future accomplishments and to support the university’s efforts to commemorate the historic event.

Tuesday, February 28 – 1923-2023: A Century of Innovation – the discussion

Join the campus for an engaging panel discussion from Elon community members who have championed innovation at Elon University. Through admissions, sports, student life and other ways, our panelists were at the helm, leading the way for change. Panelists will include former employees and alumni who were present for major Elon milestones. The event will be in McKinnon Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m.

Featured panelists include: Nan Perkins, who served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Richard McBride, Chaplain Emeritus; and Gerald Whittington, who served as Vice President of Business, Finance and Technology.

Tuesday, March 7 – Elon Day

In 1923, donors helped Elon rise from the ashes after a devastating campus fire. A century later, the Elon community carries on that generous spirit by supporting students on Elon Day.

On March 7, we will celebrate the 10th annual Elon Day. This day of giving inspires thousands of alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends to make gifts of every size in support of Elon students. Donors can designate their gifts to any part of campus that matters most to them, including scholarships, academic schools and majors, student organizations, athletics programs, Elon Experiences and many more.

Friday, May 26 – Staff Appreciation Day

An annual employee event to celebrate the accomplishments of Elon staff members and celebrate new retirees. This year, the theme will be centered around Elon’s history, its present and its future. Details will be shared with staff members later this year. This event is for Elon University faculty and staff.

Thursday, June 22 – Summer Concert and Picnic

The university will welcome the community to campus for the annual Summer Concert and Picnic from noon to 2 p.m. Under the Oaks in the Historic Neighborhood. The concert will feature Keenan McKenzie & the Riffers, a band specializing in original music and tight arrangements from the 1930s and 1940s.

This event is open to the community. Free food and beverages will be available for all guests in attendance.

Friday, Sept. 22 – Phoenix 4th Friday

Join the community for a celebration at the Historic Depot in downtown Burlington as Elon takes over a Fourth Friday. There will be plenty of fun for the family, including games, food trucks, live music, giveaways and hang with the Elon Phoenix. Parking will be available in designated spaces in downtown Burlington. The Elon Express will provide transportation every 15 minutes from the Inman Admissions Welcome Center roundabout on campus along North O’Kelly Avenue.

Sunday, October 8 – Premiere performance of “The Phoenix Rising” musical work

Associate Professor of Music Todd Coleman will present his composition “The Phoenix Rising” in Whitley Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. Coleman composed the new musical work to commemorate the 1923 fire as well as the near-century anniversary of Whitley Auditorium.

A demo of the piece can be found on YouTube. The event is open to all in the Elon community.

Saturday, October 28 – Flight of the Phoenix Fun Run

On your mark… get set… get ready for the Phoenix Fun Run! Meet at Medallion Plaza at 10 a.m., come run or walk 2.8 miles around Elon’s beautiful campus and enjoy fall activities with the community. The first 200 registrants will receive a free gift! All participants must complete a waiver at the event; children under 18 years old are welcome to participate with a parent or guardian present. Please bring either canned or dry food items (minimum of four) as a donation to our United Way partners. Deadline to complete the registration form is Friday, Oct. 13. Register here.

Friday, November 3 – Rising from the Ashes: A Century of Progress and Innovation

Save the date for the final event of Elon’s year of commemoration as we celebrate the moments that have directed Elon University’s trajectory over the last century.

On Friday, Nov. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Great Hall, attendees will walk through a gallery of displays highlighting the programs, initiatives, ideas, individuals and events that defined Elon’s astonishing rise from the ashes. In addition, a special Elon Medallion, Elon’s highest honor, will also be presented. Food and refreshments will be served. On Tuesday, Nov. 7, the weekly College Coffee gathering will be held in the Great Hall for the wider Elon community to enjoy the gallery of displays.

We invite you to fully explore the 1923 Commemoration website — — to learn more about the fire, including a video overview of the fire and rebuilding. For any questions about the mentioned events, please email We offer many thanks to our campus partners for helping to make these events happen successfully.