Inauguration Day festivities kick off with campus tours, historical exhibit

Visiting alumni and higher education delegates spent Thursday morning exploring the campus and learning about Elon’s history before celebrating the inauguration of President Connie Ledoux Book.

The Elon community formally begins a new chapter Thursday, Oct. 18, with the inauguration of Connie Ledoux Book as the university’s ninth president. But before looking toward the future, inauguration attendees were invited to explore Elon’s past and present with a historical pop-up exhibit and campus tours.

Visitors to Moseley Center perused 129 years of Elon’s unique and transformative history during the exhibit, which is open again from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday. Portraits of each of the university’s nine presidents are on display, along with photographs, writings and other artifacts from their periods of leadership.

The exhibit charts Elon’s growth in academic excellence, athletics and campus development, featuring archived items such as a course catalog from founding president William S. Long’s tenure, minutes from an 1893 faculty meeting under William W. Staley, a football from a winning game against Guilford College in 1941 and a press release announcing the presidency of J. Earl Danieley in 1957.

Chrystal Carpenter, coordinator of university archives and special collections and assistant librarian, and other library staff are on hand to answer questions. “The pop-up exhibit features a brief history of each presidency highlighting key events that shaped Elon from its founding, to the [1923] fire, to World War II to the exciting growth and transformation of Elon under Presidents Danieley, Young, Lambert and the historic nature of Dr. Book’s presidency,” Carpenter said.

​Alumni and delegates from other colleges and universities also had the opportunity to join student guides on walking tours of the campus. Bob Patterson, a delegate representing the University of Pittsburgh, and wife Trish have lived in Graham, North Carolina, for 21 years and have watched Elon grow tremendously in that time.

“When we moved here we thought it was quaint and beautiful, but it’s really transformed into a striking campus,” Bob Patterson said. “The programs have also achieved national recognition, so the prominence of the university has grown with the campus.”

Elon has evolved significantly since Lauren Ridgway graduated in 2000, when the university was Elon College. She’s visited a few times since then, but said she’s particularly happy to be back for today’s historic inauguration.

“My class was [President Emeritus] Fred Young’s last graduation, so the campus has changed a lot since then,” Ridgway said. “I’m excited for what’s next. I can’t wait to hear what President Book has to say this afternoon.”