Elon campus community gathers to celebrate U.S. News & World Report recognition

Faculty, staff and students filled the Great Hall on Monday to toast the new rankings by U.S. News, which named Elon a top-100 National University.

Elon President Connie Ledoux Book on Monday offered a toast in the Great Hall to celebrate the faculty, staff and students who have paved the way to a new national recognition for the university.

President Connie Ledoux Book commended faculty and staff for what they have done to ensure student success.

The celebration came as Elon for the first time was ranked as a top-100 National University in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” guide. Elon debuted as #84 among the nation’s best universities, with a #2 ranking in undergraduate teaching.

“What a day for Elon University,” Book told the crowd, eliciting a cheer. “We could not have been more proud to see Elon recognized among this list of prestigious institutions. These rankings recognize the hard work for more than 50 years of the faculty and staff at Elon, and our powerful student experience.”

Book said she was most proud of the #2 ranking in undergraduate teaching, which she said recognizes the power of the teacher-student-mentor model at Elon. She noted that Elon was ranked #11 nationally for innovation, among institutions such as Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“It’s powerful that the rest of the country recognizes that itch to be the very best we can be,” Book said.

Executive Vice President Steven House recounted the progress that Elon has made during the past 25 years to become a leader in engaged and experiential learning. In 1996, U.S. News & World Report ranked Elon #39 among universities in the South Region at time when Elon’s four-year graduation rate hovered below 50 percent. Since then Elon has refined and expanded its educational model by focusing on high-impact practices that can lead to student success, House said.

This was the first year Elon was ranked as a National University.

The university was selected to shelter a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in 2010 while its schools achieved top accreditations in their disciplines, he said. For the past six years, Elon has been the #1 school among universities in the South Region, but this year was moved into the National University category based upon its reclassification as a professional/doctoral university.

Elon has consistently been recognized as a national leader in eight high-impact practices that lead to student success, and this year again was the only school to be recognized in all eight, House noted.

“You all should be incredibly proud of what you’ve done,” House told the crowd. “You created an institution that transforms the lives of young men and women.”

Now that Elon has moved into the National University category, it is being compared to some of the country’s most well-funded and high profile institutions, Book said. But there is something that sets Elon apart, something that has enabled the university to enjoy the reputation as a national leader, Book said.

“It’s absolutely the people that make the difference,” Book said.