Elon community gathers to celebrate launch of Boldly Elon strategic plan

Hundreds filled Alumni Gym on Tuesday morning for a special College Coffee event marking the launch of the university's next 10-year strategic plan.

PHOTO GALLERY: Boldly Elon strategic plan launch

The Elon University community celebrated the accomplishments of the past decade while looking ahead at goals and priorities for the next 10 years on Tuesday with the launch of Boldly Elon, the university’s new strategic plan.

Hundreds filled Alumni Gym for a special College Coffee event as the new strategic plan was announced. President Connie Ledoux Book explained that Boldly Elon builds upon work completed under the university’s previous strategic plans, including the recently concluded Elon Commitment.

President Connie Ledoux Book speaking at the special College Coffee to launch the Boldly Elon strategic plan.

“What I admire about Elon is that we get to decide our future,” Book told the crowd. “We decide who we want to be. We set the course for the horizon, and then we get to work making it happen.”

Boldly Elon is the result of 18 months of work led by a 40-member planning committee co-chaired by trustee Kerrii Anderson ’79 and Jeff Stein, vice president for strategic initiatives and partnerships. The plan incorporates input from nearly 2,500 students, alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff, board and council members, with feedback solicited during multiple listening sessions and open forums, and from a survey that collected 10,000 responses.

The plan is organized around four themes — Learn, Thrive, Connect and Rise — with each theme including multiple objectives that lay out a transformative vision for Elon’s future. Learn more about the Boldly Elon plan at www.elon.edu/BoldlyElon.

Meredith Citty 14, right, guides students in her second-grade class at South Mebane Elementary School in the Elon fight song during the event.

On Tuesday Stein offered his thanks for the countless members of the Elon family who have contributed to this comprehensive effort. “The people in this room created the future for Elon,” Stein told the crowd. “Thank you for your dedication to this community and to building our shared future.”

President Book explained that in the late 1980s, Elon College was ranked #39 in the Southern Region by U.S. News & World Report, with a graduation rate of just 40 percent. This year Elon was ranked #84 in the country, with a graduation rate that puts it at #35 among national universities.

The past decade has seen a doubling of financial aid resources, the achievement of 100 percent access to study abroad, a deepening of the residential campus with 1,600 new on-campus beds added, the addition of the School of Health Sciences, the construction of the Schar Center and other accomplishments outlined 10 years ago in the Elon Commitment.

“This morning, we launch the next one because we’re going to do it again,” Book said. “We have set a bold course for the next decade. … It’s going to be a an exciting 10 years, and a busy 10 years.”

Joining Elon students, faculty, staff and alumni at the event were second-graders from South Mebane Elementary School and their teachers, including Meredith Citty, who is the daughter of alumni Rusty and Brenda Citty, the sister of Jonathan Citty ’10, and a 2014 graduate who majored in elementary education.

“Ms. Citty told me that bringing her students to Elon today connects perfectly with her overarching goal for her students to continue to further their education so they can follow their dreams,” Stein said.

These students are slated to graduate from high school and begin their college careers in 2030, at the conclusion of the Boldly Elon strategic plan. The students from Citty’s class took the stage to lead the crowd in the Elon fight song accompanied by Elon’s First of the Carolinas marching band.

“If you ever have doubts about the future or what higher education will look like in 2030, here is your answer and inspiration,” Stein said of the students.