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.

Timeline of Elon's strategic plans

Plan for the 90s

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

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 


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

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