A special College Coffee inside Alumni Gym with a Mardi Gras theme on Tuesday morning offered a chance for students, faculty, staff and supporters to celebrate the university they love.
Beignets and King cake provided a taste of Mardi Gras to a special College Coffee on Tuesday, and students, faculty, staff and supporters gathered in Alumni Gym to celebrate Elon Day, the university’s single-day giving event to celebrate its 130th birthday.
Elon is marking its sixth Elon Day, a day of philanthropy that brings together those on campus and thousands of alumni, parents and friends of Elon around the world to support the mission of the university. With events and giving challenges throughout the day, the university hopes to top last year’s tally of 5,370 gifts totaling $1,840,378.
“Together, today, we can achieve what we would never be able to achieve alone,” President Connie Ledoux Book told the crowd gathered in Alumni Gym. “Today we celebrate our commitment to Elon to ensure that Elon University remains a dynamic environment for learning, a great home for students, a great education that sets our students off as they become alumni.”
The Elon faithful began the day with an enthusiastic response, with more than 1,500 gifts offered by the start of College Coffee at 9:40 a.m. Topping the 1,500-gift mark by the start of the event triggered a matching gift of $115,000 from two families who prefer to remain anonymous, with that money supporting two new Elon Engagement scholarships.
Jeanne Robertson of Burlington, N.C., an Elon trustee who with her husband, Jerry, has been a steadfast supporter of the university, announced that the couple would support a dollar-for-dollar match today for any gifts to the Phoenix Club or any Elon athletics team for a second year. She challenged all supporters to “go bigger” for Elon athletics, which she said have played an important part in her life as well as the lives of student-athletes.
Robertson encouraged the Elon family to follow the #JoinJeanne hashtag on social media throughout the day, with several short videos featuring Robertson and Elon student-athletes planned for Elon Day.
A mobile-friendly #ElonDay website is being updated throughout the day to include a total of Elon Day gifts in real-time, a live list of donors and interactive leaderboards displaying the academic schools, campus funds and athletic programs receiving support. Gifts of all sizes and designations will count toward the total given during the campaign.
SGA Executive President Kenneth Brown Jr. ’19 rallied the crowd by announcing another matching gift — the Together Elon gift that will offer a match of up to $100,000 for gifts to Elon’s Greatest Needs. Brown shared that alumni, many of whom were watching along during a livestream of College Coffee, will be getting together at 38 Elon Day events around the country and abroad to celebrate philanthropy.
From 1 to 4 p.m., students can celebrate #ElonDay by catching a ride to class in two “Prize Cab” golf carts driven by Elon Student Alumni Ambassadors who will give them the chance to answer questions and win prizes. Those on campus were also invited to “taco bout philanthropy,” earning a taco from a taco bar in exchange for spinning a wheel and answering a question about giving.
Supporters had their eye on hitting a midday challenge of $300,000 for new Elon Engagement scholarships if 3,300 gifts were received by 5 p.m., with additional challenges expected before the day concludes.
The senior class giving committee will host the Senior Toast at 7:30 p.m. in Lakeside Meeting Rooms and from 8 to 11 p.m., all students are invited to attend the Elon Day Mardi Party in Moseley Center. Attendees are invited to watch a fireworks show on Iconic Plaza at 8:30 p.m.
A full list of events throughout the day is available here – https://www.elon.edu/u/elon-day/events/.
“There is so much more to accomplish, and I am confident today will be a day of records in Elon giving,” Book said.