A brief history of Elon’s transformative strategic plans

Elon’s emergence as a national university is the result of a series of four successive long-range strategic plans that were carefully created with broad community input and implemented with attention to measurable goals and accountability. The vision statements and goals of the plans form a timeline of Elon’s impressive trajectory.

  • Plan for the 90s (1991-1993)

    Vision statement: To ensure that Elon College is one of the best institutions of its type on the Eastern Seaboard.

    This plan had two primary goals: to achieve a higher level of quality in academic programs and to develop programs that provide a special identity and meaning to an Elon education. The major accomplishments of this plan included the following:

    • Revision of the General Studies curriculum
    • Strengthening of business, education, communications, grad programs
    • Enhancement of cultural awareness and programs in study abroad
    • Investments in campus technologies
    • Investments in faculty salaries and resources
    • Creation of the Elon Experiences
    • New facilities included Moseley Center, upgrades in the library and facilities for science and communications, and construction of Koury Center and renovation of Alumni Gymnasium
  • Elon Vision (1994-1999)

    Vision statement: To be, and be recognized as, one of the top private undergraduate institutions on the Eastern Seaboard.

    This plan was a 17-point blueprint to reposition Elon on the higher education landscape – to move beyond the college’s regional identity and prepare for the transition from college to university. The main goals were organized under four headings and included the following:


    • Achieve excellence in the sciences and construct the McMichael Science Center
    • Construct Belk Library and repurpose the previous facility (McEwen Building) for communications programs
    • Advance many premier academic programs and strengthen graduate programs, including addition of the physical therapy program
    • Enhance technology resources


    • Increased student quality, more selective admissions with higher test scores
    • Establish the Fellows programs and increase financial aid
    • Increase retention and graduation rate
    • Increase school spirit with construction of Rhodes Stadium and transition to NCAA Division I athletics


    • Higher faculty credentials, increased salaries, and advancing Elon’s rankings in major college guides

    Increase available resources by building the endowment and expanding the annual fund

  • NewCentury@Elon (2000-2009)

    Vision statement: To be a national model of engaged learning, founded upon our traditions of innovation and community.

    This plan was carried out in two phases and had three overarching objectives: Enhance academic excellence, provide facilities to support excellence and provide resources to support excellence. Phase I accomplishments included the following:

    • AACSB International accreditation for the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business
    • ACEJMC accreditation for the School of Communications
    • Addressed criteria for hosting a Phi Beta Kappa chapter
    • Construction of the Ernest A. Koury, Sr. Business Center
    • Development of the Academic Village for the Arts and Sciences
    • Establishment of the Elon University School of Law
    • Creation of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
    • Strengthening of the honors and fellows programs
    • Increased participation in the Elon Experiences
    • Major investments in library and technology resources
    • Expansion of faculty development and sabbatical opportunities
    • Targeted salary initiatives for both faculty and staff
    • Construction of Belk Track/White Field and continued progress in NCAA Division I competition
    • Acquisition of South Campus property

    Phase II accomplishments included the following:

    • Received approval to shelter a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa
    • Used research and discussions from a university-wide Academic Summit to increase academic challenge and enhance learning
    • Completion of the Academic Village for the arts and sciences
    • Expansion of residential facilities, including The Oaks and first buildings in The Colonnades
    • Expanded programs to attract and retain a diverse student body, faculty and staff
    • Awarded innovation and creativity grants to students, faculty and staff to pursue ideas that promote engaged teaching and learning
    • Created additional international study centers similar to Elon’s current centers in London and Costa Rica
    • Establish national program sites in several major U.S. cities to create additional student opportunities for internships, service, leadership and research experiences
    • Developed a premier program in career services and renamed the office the Student Professional Development Center
    • Broadened university efforts to be a responsible corporate citizen in the community
    • Developed an environmental sustainability plan for the Elon campus
    • Expanded partnerships with local school systems and community agencies and establishment of the Elon Academy
    • Significantly increased the endowment, providing additional support for scholarships, program support, faculty development and other priorities
  • Elon Commitment (2010-2019)

    Vision statement: Engaged minds. Inspired leaders. Global citizens.

    This comprehensive plan to fully establish Elon as a national university includes eight themes:

    1. An unprecedented university commitment to diversity and global engagement
    2. Supporting a world-class faculty and staff
    3. Attaining the highest levels of achievement across our academic programs
    4. Launching strategic & innovative pathways in undergraduate and graduate education
    5. Stewarding Elon’s commitment to remain a best-value university
    6. Developing innovative alumni programs to advance and support Elon graduates
    7. Establishing a national tournament tradition of athletics success along with the highest academic standards for Phoenix athletics
    8. Significantly enhancing Elon’s campus with premier new academic & residential facilities and a commitment to protecting our environment

    Elon Commitment website

    Progress on achieving the Elon Commitment goals