Removal of historic wall marks next phase of Elon’s expansion

A ceremony marking the removal of a portion of Elon’s west wall united town and gown leaders to celebrate the university’s continued growth.

A March 30 ceremony commemorated a key moment in the shared history of the university and the Town of Elon – the opening of the campus wall to downtown Elon. A 50-foot section of the wall will be permanently removed as construction of new facilities for the School of Communications continues.

An afternoon ceremony marked the removal of a 50-foot portion of the west campus wall surrounding Elon University on Williamson Avenue in downtown Elon. This is the next step in construction of new School of Communications facilities, which will include a pedestrian plaza opening onto Williamson.
Elon University President Leo M. Lambert, School of Communications Dean Paul Parsons and Town of Elon Mayor Jerry Tolley delivered remarks as the first bricks from the wall, which has been in place since 1925, were removed.

“In many ways, the removal of this wall serves as a reminder of how the well-being of the community is tied to a growing and increasingly vibrant downtown: a bustling commercial district that includes unique restaurants and thriving retail,” Lambert said.

To symbolize that special relationship, the following members of the community removed ceremonial bricks from the wall:

  • Mayor Jerry Tolley, Town of Elon
  • Dean Paul Parsons, School of Communications
  • Barbara D. Bass ’61, Alumna and Life Trustee
  • Maya Eaglin ’19, Student
  • Chrystal Carpenter, University Archives
  • Peter Ustach ’09, Elon merchant

“The university and the Town of Elon have always had a mutual respect and worked together in wonderful ways,” Tolley said. “We look forward to continuing our relationship with Elon University.”

In his remarks, Parsons noted that 1,200 students are enrolled in the School of Communications and opening the space between campus and town will encourage students and community members to more readily engage with one another.

“As this wall comes down, it will bring the campus and the town closer together. It’s exciting to envision,” he said.

The School of Communications expansion has been made possible through the generous support of friends and donors. The Elon community will dedicate Dwight C. Schar Hall, the Steers Pavilion, the Snow Family Grand Atrium and the Citrone Plaza in spring 2017 as the university celebrates the new facilities, which will merge two new buildings with two existing buildings to create a Communications Commons in the heart of campus. 

Reflecting on the university’s growth, Lambert noted that when the wall was constructed, the entire campus was just 25 acres. Elon’s campus now stretches more than 600 acres.

In the last few years, private investment has flowed into the community with the growth of a variety of establishments serving both the town and the university, he said. New businesses are making the Town of Elon a destination for families, students and the broader community.

“Today is a reminder of the great progress we’ve made together here in Elon, North Carolina, and we should all look forward to a brighter future,” Lambert said.