More than 50 Elon faculty members gathered in the Numen Lumen Pavilion Monday to welcome Connie Book, who was elected Sunday to serve as Elon's ninth president.
The hugs and warm handshakes outnumbered the new introductions Monday afternoon at a faculty reception for Connie Ledoux Book, who will return to Elon next year at Elon’s ninth president.
Book spent 16 years at Elon as a faculty member and administrative leader before leaving in 2015 to become provost at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C. Book was selected to become Elon’s next president on Sunday by the university board of trustees, and will move into the role on March 1.
“It’s the beginning of another new, exciting era for Elon University,” said Tom Arcaro, professor of sociology who worked with Book as director of Project Pericles at Elon. From 2010 through 2015, Book served as associate provost for academic affairs, managing a broad range of academic programs and initiatives.
Catching up with Book, Arcaro reminded her of a conversation they had before her departure about her someday rising to lead a college or university as president. “She was always so receptive, a fantastic listener, both measured and sober in her thinking while also being visionary and open-minded,” Arcaro said. “I’m thrilled to have her back.”
Dozens turned out for the faculty reception in the McBride Gathering Space in the Numen Lumen Pavilion, with the event offering the opportunity for many to reconnect with their former colleague and others to begin to get to know Book. Book joined the Elon faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor of communications and then from 2008 to 2010 served as a member of President Leo M. Lambert’s senior staff as a presidential faculty fellow for strategic planning.
Caroline Ketcham, department chair and professor of exercise science, said an existing connection to Elon wasn’t an essential requirement for the university’s next president, but will provide many benefits going forward. “I’m really hopeful after her remarks to the university community, and hearing about how she’ll work to continue to move Elon forward,” Ketcham said. “The fact she has the Elon connection means she knows our community, and that is going to be a great asset.”
Stephen Byrd, associate professor of education and director of graduate studies in the School of Education, said he’s been impressed with her support for graduate programs, and her forward-thinking approach. “She’s someone who knows Elon, and I think that is so exciting,” Byrd said.”