'Coming home': President-Elect Connie Ledoux Book's remarks to the Elon community

Book, who will become Elon's ninth president on March 1, was welcomed by the Elon community at a gathering in Alumni Gym on Monday, Oct. 9.

The Elon community gathered in Alumni Gym on Monday, Oct. 9, to welcome Connie Ledoux Book as the university’s ninth president. 

Book, who will move into the role on March 1, offered the following remarks to those gathered. 

> More information on Elon’s presidential transition website

Madam chair Anderson, Trustee Elingburg, President Lambert, President Young, students, faculty and staff and many friends, this is truly an exciting day this is for me and my family.

Walking across campus this morning, I had a strong sense of coming home. Elon University holds a special place in my heart. It is the place where I learned from my faculty colleagues about creating transformative learning environments; an intellectual community where I was inspired by my students who always asked great questions and strived to make the world better; a tight-knit community where I learned that together we could design and build an inclusive community fueled by the mentoring of 1,500 faculty and staff educators.

​I am also enormously proud of the welcoming learning community at Elon and our ability to advance students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds and beliefs. We have a deep understanding that our mission flourishes when courtesy and human dignity are the standards and I commit myself to advancing this environment each day in my work as president.

At Elon, I grew to see my discipline in new and meaningful ways and here, I had the opportunity to begin to learn about leadership, thanks to President Lambert and the Administrative Faculty Fellow program he created.  

Elon is also a place that created important family memories for my children. Bella attended her first lecture on feminism here when she was just 13 years old, and it sparked a fire that would set the course for her own education. 

And no one in the family will forget the time campus safety called to ask me to please get my seven-year-old son out of the magnolia tree in front of McEwen building. Joe graduated from Elon last year, a music major, and fills our house with original scores—music inspired by his Elon education.

Both Bella and Joe are with me here today, and I know they feel the powerful sense of “coming home” as well.

Today, as I prepare to assume the presidency, the advancement of this powerful learning community is foremost on my mind. Elon University holds a truly remarkable place among colleges in the United States. Its trajectory of excellence has been the topic of important studies in higher education. Elon’s innovative core curriculum and commitment to student engagement serve as models for colleges and universities around the world.  

This is a university that understands the essential nature of bringing together the critical ingredients of a premier learning environment: the strong relationships students form with their faculty and staff mentors; the priority of learning at a deep level, in classes and experiences led by professors who thrive in a teacher-scholar-mentor model; the commitment to excellence in the arts and sciences, both as a foundation for every student and as outstanding major programs of study that challenge students to be deep thinkers, innovative resilient problem solvers, and moral leaders for the world;  and the strength of distinctive professional programs that prepare students for success in our changing and competitive world.

And in every dimension of the Elon experience, you will find a global perspective. Elon students seek to understand their place in our world, the essential lessons they learn from people from many backgrounds and cultures, and their obligation to apply the privilege of higher education to solve complex problems and prosper human dignity around the world.

I am humbled and excited by the remarkable opportunity to work with each of you and I commit to being a faithful steward of the trust this community is placing in me today.

I want to take a moment to pay tribute to my colleagues at The Citadel who have given me the opportunity to deepen my understanding and practice of principled leadership. Like Elon, The Citadel is deeply committed to student success, and to developing the leaders our nation needs to prosper peace and further democracy around the world. 

The people of these two institutions know that only higher education can safeguard and advance our great nation, and nurture our democracy based on what the Elon mission describes as “freedom of thought and liberty of conscience”. The work ahead is important for our country and our world.

I look forward, over the next several months, to hearing your stories, to becoming reacquainted with Elon and learning anew about the community’s aspirations. I will listen carefully to understand the critical work that has taken place since I left Elon.

I am eagerly anticipating saying hello to former colleagues and meeting all the new faces who are part of Elon’s community today.

Throughout the search process, I was impressed with how the search committee took seriously the community’s commitment to identifying a leader who understands Elon’s unique history, and the power of this hardworking community to change young peoples’ lives. I will champion and hold this university’s future with great care.  

It is an honor and privilege to be selected as the ninth president of Elon University, and I look forward to working together with each of you. The world needs what Elon and Elon graduates have to offer.

Together we will advance Elon’s future.

Together we will continue building the best learning environment in the country.

Together we will set the next horizon for Elon’s destiny.