Alumni, parents and friends celebrate the launch of the Elon LEADS Campaign in Boston

The Elon community gathered at Boston’s Museum of Science on Wednesday, Oct. 2, to kick off Elon’s historic fundraising campaign.

More than 330 alumni, parents and friends filled Boston’s Museum of Science on Wednesday, Oct. 2, for a special Evening for Elon. The event served as the launch of the Elon LEADS Campaign in Boston, with attendees gathering to learn more about how they can impact countless lives by participating in the campaign.

Elon LEADS is a seven-year campaign that has completed its planning and leadership phases and moved into its public phase in spring 2019, with supporters setting their sights on raising $250 million by May 31, 2022. That includes $140 million for student scholarships, $10 million to increase access to engaged learning programs called the Elon Experiences, $10 million to support faculty and staff mentors and $90 million to enhance Elon’s iconic learning environment.

President Connie Ledoux Book shared with the crowd that the campaign will inspire and support students as they serve as leaders on campus and beyond. “We educate leaders who share their talents and their hearts with the world, and we know that leadership, vision and hard work are the critical ingredients in advancing change.”

“We educate leaders who share their talents and their hearts with the world, and we know that leadership, vision and hard work are the critical ingredients in advancing change.”

– President Connie Ledoux Book

In her remarks, President Book also touched on Elon’s recent rankings in U.S. News & World Report, which included Elon’s debut in the report’s national university category.

Elon LEADS in Boston
President Connie Ledoux Book celebrates Elon LEADS at the campaign’s launch in Boston.

“We are so proud that Elon is now ranked among the top 100 universities in the nation,” Book said. “Debuting at #84, Elon is listed in that category with other prestigious institutions like Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Duke and Johns Hopkins. The ranking I was most proud of was Elon’s #2 ranking for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, with only Princeton University ahead of us.”

Boston’s Museum of Science served as a perfect backdrop as President Book shared Elon’s ranking of #11 for innovation by U.S. News & World Report. Attendees were able to explore some of the museum’s attractions, setting the tone for an exciting and fun night.

The program also showcased a few of the many examples of how Elon has been changing lives for 130 years, including music theatre alumna Cara McNiff ’18, who performed to kick off the evening, and Oscar Miranda ’17, who shared his gratitude for the donors that made his dream of attending college a reality.

Miranda attended Elon as a scholarship recipient in the Odyssey Program, a highly selective merit-based program consisting of talented individuals who are academically strong, civically engaged, and will benefit from an Elon education.

Elon LEADS in Boston
Oscar Miranda ’17 shares his story of the impact Elon donors had on his life.

“The Odyssey Program was family, a family away from home,” said Miranda. “This program provided me the opportunity to succeed and a chance at a better life.”

After graduating from Elon, Miranda went on to earn a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard. He returned to Elon to pursue a career in the office that supported his dream as a student, Elon’s Center for Access and Success. In his role as assistant director, access and student support, Miranda supports first-generation college students and students from low-income households.

Miranda’s story of success is one of many, thanks to the generosity of the Elon community. The top priority of Elon LEADS is increasing funding for scholarships so that additional outstanding students like Miranda have access to an Elon education.

Following Miranda’s remarks, trustee and Elon LEADS Campaign Chair Dave Porter P’11 P’19 took the stage. Porter shared how an Elon education influenced his two sons, Tim and Jack. Inspired by their education, Porter chooses to support Elon because “we need courageous, hard-working leaders to guide our future.”

Elon LEADS in Boston
Dave Porter P’11 P’19 addresses the crowd.

Porter challenged those in the Boston crowd to find their role in Elon LEADS. “I know there’s no goal we can’t reach when we have strong leadership and a collective commitment to preparing the leaders our world needs. This is our charge in the Elon LEADS Campaign — to reach our $250 million goal and make this historic campaign a success.”

The program also included remarks from James B. Piatt, Jr., vice president for university advancement, and Jean Rattigan-Rohr, vice president for access and success and professor of education.

Prior to the event, campaign donors and volunteers attended a pre-reception with President Book and others. The evening concluded with a Loyal Alumni Celebration honoring current alumni donors and the university’s most active alumni volunteers.

Elon LEADS in Boston
The Loyal Alumni Celebration honored Elon alumni who have made a gift during the current fiscal year (June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2020).

This Evening for Elon was the third of six special events across the country this fall celebrating the launch of Elon LEADS. Upcoming Evening for Elon events will be held in Charlotte (Oct. 17), San Francisco (Nov. 12) and Raleigh (Dec. 4).

Visit the Elon LEADS website to learn more about the campaign.