President’s letter to students

Read this note for President Leo M. Lambert's summer update letter to the Classes of 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005...

I look forward to welcoming the Class of 2005 and transfer students at the New Student Convocation Under the Oaks in just a few weeks. Just nine months later, in that same historic grove, the Class of 2002 will gather for commencement. Let’s hope for good weather for both occasions! I look forward to seeing you all safely back on campus for what promises to be one of the most exciting years in Elon’s history.

You will have opportunities this year to hear and possibly meet a number of prominent world leaders and scholars. I hope you will take advantage of these special moments. Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Prize-recipient and president of Poland from 1990 to 1995, will speak at Elon on October 2. Formerly an electrician and shipyard worker, Walesa led the Solidarity movement that was key to establishing democracy in Poland. One of the most important new books of the year is John Adams by historian and Pulitzer Prize-winner David McCullough. On September 19, Mr. McCullough will give the inaugural lecture of the Baird Pulitzer Prize Lecture Series. “Almost Absolute Zero” will be the topic when William Phillips, recipient of the Nobel Prize in physics, speaks as part of the Voices of Discovery lecture series on September 25. During Winter Term, Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel, will share his views on the prospects for peace in the Middle East, and Gilbert Grosvenor, chair of the board of the National Geographic Society (and Elon parent), will speak on globalization and culture. Primatologist and environmentalist Jane Goodall will give the Convocation for Honors address April 4.

You will notice several changes to the campus upon your return. As I write, the health center and counseling center staffs are moving into the beautiful new R. N. Ellington Health and Counseling Center, increasing the number of examining rooms from two to five and bringing health and counseling services under the same roof for the first time. You will also soon see a construction fence on the west side of Koury Center, marking an expansion which will house new dance studios, expanded fitness areas, and a weight room for intercollegiate athletics. The old East Building on Haggard Avenue has been demolished, making room for 150 new parking spaces. The department of sociology is moving into the house adjacent to Holland House. Two hundred new parking spaces and new basketball courts will be available this fall at Danieley Center. Carlton will close after fall semester exams so that a major renovation to house the departments of English and foreign languages, the new Isabella Cannon Centre for International Studies, and El Centro de Español can begin. In downtown Elon, the Acorn Café, formerly College Coffee, has a new outdoor seating area and is expanding into what was previously the accounting offices next door. ARAMARK has purchased the former Brown and Company and will be opening a new Southwestern theme restaurant there this fall; Phoenix Cards will be welcome. Fidelity Bank will open in the former Bank of America building on Williamson Avenue. Finally, new brick Elon University signs have been erected at campus entrances.

To meet the growing demand for on-campus accommodations, residence life has added housing for 240 additional students in university-owned or -managed facilities. This includes 160 beds in two new Danieley Center flats and 80 more spaces in leased apartments and houses in the community. The Board of Trustees has approved the construction of another 80-bed Danieley Center flat for fall 2002, as well as special theme houses and a new style of apartment building, to be available fall 2003.

Please join me in welcoming two new academic leaders and new faculty to Elon. Dr. Steven House comes to us from Seton Hall University as dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Paul Parsons joins us from Kansas State University as the dean of the School of Communications. The University has also added 11 new full-time faculty positions to maintain the priority of close student-faculty interaction.

Many of you have been following the construction of Rhodes Stadium via E-net this summer. The stadium is more beautiful than any of us could have anticipated. McKinnon Field was created by the same contractor who has built football fields for NFL teams and the World Cup soccer field at Soldier Field in Chicago. The bell tower adjacent to Rhodes Stadium is nearly completed and awaits the installation of four bronze bells cast in France. We eagerly anticipate Rhodes Stadium opening activities September 14 – 15, including the first appearance of Elon’s new marching band, “The Fire of the Carolinas.” And, of course, we look forward to seeing the Elon Phoenix play one of the season’s toughest Division I-AA schedules.

A new on-campus stadium realizes an Elon dream of more than 50 years. You will be the first Elon students to enjoy an on-campus stadium experience. This year you will create new traditions and enjoy pre-game tailgating “On the Green” between Moseley Center and Loy Center. We expect hundreds of alumni to be on campus for football weekends, and many of these alumni will see campus landmarks, such as Belk Library and McMichael Science Center, for the first time. As we open this new chapter in Elon athletics, I ask your patience and cooperation, as game days will bring hundreds of visitors to campus, with the accompanying challenges of providing transportation, hospitality, and safety. Please welcome returning alumni to their alma mater and greet visitors with the friendliness that has long been characteristic of Elon students.

I hope that, in addition to internships and summer jobs, your summer has included time with family and friends and some chance for relaxation. I look forward to seeing you at the year’s first College Coffee at Fonville Fountain on August 28!