Friends, families and alumni show out for Elon LEADS in the Triad and Triangle

Elon University has kicked off its regional Elon LEADS event series in the Triad and the Triangle. The Elon LEADS campaign aims to raise funds to provide current and future students with more opportunities to become leaders the world needs and will conclude on December 31.

On April 28, Elon University held the year’s first Elon LEADS event, one in a series of regional events set to take place throughout the final year of the Elon LEADS campaign. This special event saw more than 120 Elon alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends gather at The Inn at Elon to celebrate the success of the campaign so far and learn how to make an impact before Elon LEADS concluded on Dec. 31, 2022.

Guests enjoyed a hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres as they were treated to remarks from special guests, including Elon alumnus and Trustee Burney Jennings ’87 P’18, Vice President for Access and Success Jean Rattigan-Rohr, current student Jose Alex Reyes ’25 and President Connie Ledoux Book. Giselle Watts ’23 took to the stage to wow attendees with a stunning vocal performance.

Vice President for University Advancement Jim Piatt shared the impact that more than 30,000 donors have made on the campaign’s main funding priorities, including:

  • More than 270 new endowed scholarships created to assist graduates the world needs.
  • More than $10 million raised and 45 new scholarships endowed to broaden access to the Elon Experiences such as study abroad and internships.
  • Close to $8 million raised to support faculty and staff mentors who matter
  • Seven new facilities added to Elon’s iconic learning environment, including Schar Center, The Inn at Elon and Innovation Quad.

“If there’s one thing our community has taught us during this campaign, it is the power of philanthropy to transform lives, and please know that every gift makes an impact,” said Piatt. “Each of us—alumni, parents and friends—plays an important role in the success of Elon LEADS and can take pride in knowing that together, we are moving Elon forward in profound ways.”

The second event in this series took place on May 5 at The Angus Barn Pavilion in Raleigh, North Carolina. More than 200 guests attended the highly anticipated event as President Book gave an update on Elon LEADS. Book and Piatt were joined by Jenn Nowalk ’99 and Rich Nowalk ’97, and Elon senior Samantha Dominguez ’22. Book spoke of the role alumni play in the Elon LEADS campaign.

“Each of our alumni speakers embodies what it means to be an engaged Elon alum and they demonstrate the essential role that alumni play in securing Elon’s future,” Book said. “Tonight, I’m asking each of you to make Elon and Elon LEADS one of your priorities. After all, we are funding dreams in this campaign!”

Campaign co-chairs, Priscilla Awkard ’95 and Christian Wiggins ’03, also spoke at the Angus Barn Pavilion event, sharing their Elon stories and explaining how impactful their gifts can be.

For Awkard, a former volleyball player, first-generation college student and scholarship recipient, Elon taught her that she was not alone in her college journey, and she had a community supporting her. She wants to be a part of that supportive community for current and future Elon students and encourages others to join her by making a gift to Elon LEADS.

“I love this campaign because it gives you so many different opportunities to give and ways to give,” said Awkard. “As alumni, we are Elon’s future. It’s up to us to leverage the leadership skills Elon taught us to take ownership of our university.”

Wiggins’ Elon story began with his family around the kitchen table discussing how they were going to afford to send him to college. With the help from Elon donors and his family, in particular his generous great aunt, Wiggins’ college dream became a reality.

“It’s through my great aunt’s generous spirit that I learned that no one has to do everything, but we can all do something,” said Wiggins. “You never know whose kitchen table conversation you may change through your gift. You never know who will stand in front of you in 23 years because of your leadership and generosity.”

Through the Elon LEADS campaign, Elon is raising funds to invest in scholarships for graduates the world needs, engaged learning, faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic learning environment. Gifts of any size to any designation made before December 31 count towards this historic campaign.

Elon LEADS will be back on the road in the fall. Keep up to date with campaign news, how you can make a gift and upcoming events in a city near you at