#ElonTBT: Former President Gerald Ford visits Elon in 1986

In this edition of #ElonTBT, we look back at a special visit to campus by the 38th president of the United States.

In the #ElonTBT series, the Elon University News Bureau, along with Archives & Special Collections, will flash back to the past to take a look at Elon over the years. You will find videos, newspaper clippings, photos and more to celebrate Elon’s past, while looking ahead to the future. Follow along on Today at Elon and the university’s TwitterFacebook and Instagram pages every Thursday to see what we dig up.

Elon’s Liberal Arts Forum Lecture has brought a number of distinguished guests to campus, including a former U.S. president.

On Feb. 25, 1986, Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, spoke before an audience of 4,000 Elon students, faculty and staff inside Alumni Gym. Ford discussed U.S.-Soviet relations, the nation’s federal spending and presidential campaign regulations.

Ford praised Elon for its student body, administration, faculty and facilities, saying “I am pleased to see a private school of this excellence doing so well, and I am pleased to be joining you on this occasion.”

Ford also said he’d visited more than 100 colleges and universities after his time in office and made an observation about students at Elon and across the country.

Gerald Ford answers questions from local media at a press conference at Elon in 1986. Gov. Jim Martin (right) later introduced Ford in Alumni Gym for the Liberal Arts Forum Lecture.

“I say to the students, but more importantly I say to the older generation – from this grassroots exposure in the last eight-plus years, I am very confident of the quality of this generation of young Americans,” Ford said. “We should be proud of them. The country will be well served when they have the reins of government at the local, state or national government.”

The Liberal Arts Forum Lecture continues 34 years later with another special guest to campus. Bryan Terrell Clark, known for his starring role as George Washington in “Hamilton: An American Musical,” will present “Finding Purpose: From Baltimore to Broadway’s Hamilton” at Whitley Auditorium Wednesday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 or free with an Elon ID. Tickets are available beginning March 5 at the Center for the Arts Box Office. For ticket information, call (336) 278-5610.

For more information about the upcoming Liberal Arts Forum Lecture and other campus events, visit the Elon Cultural Calendar website.

Do you have any special pieces of Elon history? Share your photos and videos with us via email at news@elon.edu or using the hashtag #ElonTBT on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.