The Elon University community gathered in the Snow Family Grand Atrium on Friday, March 31, to dedicate the recent expansion of the School of Communications and celebrate the donors and supporters whose generosity and work helped make the new facilities a reality.

The celebration that brought together hundreds of students, faculty, staff, donors and community members caps a project that first began moving forward six years ago to accommodate strong growth within one of the country’s leading communications schools. The gathering offered a chance to say “thank you” to those who contributed the resources and the expertise to an investment that furthers Elon’s School of Communications as an educational leader and helps provide new generations of students the tools they need to succeed.

“We can’t thank you enough for transforming these facilities, and we know your generosity will echo forward for generations and generations of Elon students,” said President Leo M. Lambert to the crowd filling the atrium.

​Three years ago, Elon had “a handful of architectural renderings and a plan for what we could be” when it kicked off a major capital campaign for the expansion project that would attract some of Elon’s most steadfast supporters. Completed within just 18 months, more than 40 families, including parents, alumni and friends, contributed gifts that have made the transformational project possible.

“These facilities really are magnificent, aren’t they?” Paul Parsons, dean of the School of Communications, asked the crowd at the dedication. “They make such a difference in the learning environment that we can provide to our students.”

The School of Communications expansion includes the addition of Dwight C. Schar Hall, the Snow Family Grand Atrium, Citrone Plaza, Steers Pavilion and the newly renovated Long Building to the school, and boosts the school’s footprint from the 38,000-square-foot Iris Holt McEwen Building to a four-building complex encompassing more than 105,000 square feet and filled with state-of-the-art technology. The expansion comes as Elon’s communications program boasts 1,240 students and 60 faculty, up from just 500 students and 12 faculty in 2000.

An overview of the School of Communications expansion:

  • Dwight C. Schar Hall, a 45,000-square-foot building that is the centerpiece of the new communications campus. It was made possible by a portion of a $13 million gift from Dwight and Martha Schar, parents of Stuart ’16 and Spencer ’19 Schar. The facility includes classrooms, faculty offices, student engagement suites, the Innovation Lab, the Kanarick Media Sandbox and expanded space for Live Oak Communications, the student-run strategic communications agency.
  • Snow Family Grand Atrium, named for David and Lynette Snow, parents of Lauren Snow ’15. The 5,000-square-foot, two-story glass structure links Schar Hall with McEwen building and features comfortable seating and a 1.4-million-pixel video wall. It provides a popular gathering space for daily interactions and conversations, group activities and community gatherings and celebrations.
  • Citrone Plaza, a beautiful pedestrian gathering place outside the atrium that connects the new facilities to downtown Elon. The plaza is named for Elon Trustee Cindy Citrone and her husband, Rob, parents of Gabriela Citrone ’17.
  • Steers Pavilion, a single-story, 7,300-square-foot facility that is named for Bob and Lauren Steers, parents of John “JP” Steers ’15. The pavilion houses the internationally recognized Imagining the Internet Center, a media analytics lab and faculty and staff offices.
  • Turner Theatre, a 220-seat, high definition digital movie theater located on the first floor of Schar Hall. The theater is named for Parker ’06 and Garrett ’08 Turner and their parents, Toni and Jim Turner. The theater screens student films, hosts the annual CinElon Film Festival and offers the campus community a regular lineup of box office hits.
  • Jane and Brian Williams Studio in McEwen building features new LED lighting, new broadcast sets with windows opening onto Citrone Plaza, high-definition cameras and two control rooms. Jane and Brian are parents of Doug Williams ’13, who earned his degree in journalism and is now an anchor for SportsNite on SportsNet New York (SNY). Brian Williams is chief anchor for MSNBC and host of “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams.”
  • Long Building, the new home of the Master of Arts in Interactive Media program and the Department of Sport Management. Renovations were completed just as Commencement wrapped up in May, closing out the final phase of the School of Communications expansion project. The building’s extensive redesign includes a functional layout, movable spaces and equipment, new classrooms and faculty offices, video editing bays and graphics work stations.

The expansion, with Citrone Plaza opening onto Williamson Avenue in downtown Elon, has become “the new gateway” to Elon, Lambert said.

“Our students are going to take these efforts to a new level, working closely with the faculty to hone their skills, gain more experience and practice, and prepare to go out in the world to make a difference,” Lambert said.

Kerrii Brown Anderson ’79, chair of the Elon University Board of Trustees, said the expansion project for the School of Communications represents “the best of Elon.” It is a project anchored in Elon’s long-term strategic plan, the Elon Commitment, and supported by a fundraising campaign that was generously received, she said. “It represents our joint commitment to students and to the leveraging of every opportunity for mentoring and engaged learning,” Anderson said.

Also providing vital support to the School of Communications expansion are the following:

  • Jeffrey and Karena Bacciocco P’16 P’19
  • Roger and Lynne Bolton P’16
  • Brad and Michelle Brinegar P’18
  • Mike and Meg Bruno P’16
  • Reid and Suzanne Campbell P’12 P’19
  • The Clark Family Foundation
  • Rob and Doreen Crimmins P’16
  • Brian and Debbie Domeck P’16
  • Wes and Cathy Elingburg P’11
  • Sandy and Missy Gullquist P’15
  • Jeffrey and Victoria Hadden P’13
  • William Randolph Hearst Foundation
  • Russell and Jennifer Herndon P’17
  • Christopher and Alice Holbrook P’16 P’18
  • Richard ‘87 P’17 and Laurie Johnson P’17
  • Bill and Katie Kanarick P’19
  • Steve and Francine Kyriakos P’15 P’18
  • Marc and Joy Lautenbach P’15
  • Bob and Jackie Leonard P’16
  • Chris and Kay Linneman P’16
  • Kurt Locher and Anne Stark-Locher P’16
  • Warner and Cary Mason P’15
  • Michael McGee and Olga Castellanos P’17
  • Sanjeev and Karen Mehra P’16
  • Ed and Jill Moriarty P’15 P’18
  • Paul and Mary Helen Parsons P’06 P’09
  • Alan and Susan Rafte P’16
  • Peter and Mary Renner P’13
  • The Shepherd Foundation
  • Jessalynn Strauss and Allan Hoffman
  • Mark and Carlota Taylor P’15
  • Tonya Taylor ’94
  • James and Laurie Theiss P’12 P’15 P’17
  • Bill and Susan Tucker P’16
  • Michael Vinson ’07
  • Pam Vinson P’07