First-year and transfer students gathered in Alumni Gym on Monday, Aug. 22 and learned about the four pillars of honor that are central to Elon University.
Honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect. Those are the four pillars of Elon University’s Honor Code, and on Monday, Aug. 22, over 1,700 first-year students and 100 transfers affirmed their commitment to that code at the 17th annual Call to Honor ceremony.
“I know it may sound like rules … but they are actually gifts,” President Connie Ledoux Book said to these newest Elon students at the ceremony. “On behalf of the university, I pledge to you that Elon will do its part to challenge you to grow intellectually, socially and spiritually. I am counting on you to accept Elon’s challenges and to join your faculty and staff in the daily practice of these four values.”
Book pledged her commitment to the four pillars by adding her signature to the Honor Code book. After the ceremony, the first-year students also bonded themselves to that commitment by signing their names on boards inscribed with the Honor Pledge. Students also received a commemorative coin engraved with the word “honor.”
Elijah Pegues ’26 from Chicago said he would have more trouble keeping track of the commemorative coin than adhering to Elon’s Honor Code. The four pillars which are the foundation of the university’s moral standing are an ethos that Pegues says he has long implemented into his everyday life.
“These are standards I’ve been taught. Respect, honesty, integrity and responsibility. I try to live by those,” Pegues said.
Student Government Association Executive President Nadine Jose ’23 charged the members of the new class to take control of their future. Being a college student comes with independence unlike most students have experienced before, but with that comes a great deal of challenges most students will face. Holding to the university’s Honor Code will help manage those challenges, Jose said.
“Honesty, integrity, responsibility and respect. These are more than just words. They are a guiding star for every decision we make throughout our lives,” Jose said at the last major event of New Student Orientation.
Wallace Showalter ’26 came away from the ceremony feeling more reassured about the culture at Elon. “Don’t take the easy option because later in life, it’ll come back to get you,” she said.
Titch Madzima, associate professor of exercise science and chair of the Department of Exercise Science, reminisced about his time as an undergraduate student. There were chances for him to act dishonorably and share answers or not cite others’ ideas in his work. But Madzima said he decided against these actions, a decision he’s still proud of himself for making.
“Looking back, I can tell you that I’m truly glad that I did not partake in such activities and maintained academic honesty. Because I know if I had, it would have haunted me until this day,” Madzima said. “As faculty, we are entrusting you as students to be honest, strive for personal integrity, be responsible for your actions and look out for others as well as be respectful.”
Honor Board Representative Chase Gurey ’24 told the Class of 2026 about the value of respect. Citing “The Rebirth of Education,” by Lant Pritchett, Gurey spoke on how schooling and education are not synonymous. Education prepares us for our lives, whereas schooling is associated with long-existing structures and traditions with barriers that can sometimes impede the education of ourselves and our community.
“By breaking down those barriers to think critically, compassionately and independently, we challenged the status quo and social norms around respect,” Gurey said. “We all must understand that respect is no longer earned but must become ingrained at the core of our behavior moving forward.”
Kaylee Hayden ’23 led the Class of 2026 in singing Elon’s alma mater. President Book led the first-year students in reciting the university’s Call to Honor:
Today we are entrusted with the honorable legacy of Elon University, dedicated to the intellectual, personal and spiritual growth of all its members, to the advancement of knowledge for the good of all, and to the service of local, national and global communities. To that end, we affirm our commitment to the core values of our university:
- We commit ourselves to honesty, being truthful in our academic work and in our relationships with others
- We commit ourselves to show integrity, being trustworthy, fair and ethical
- We commit ourselves to responsibility, being accountable for our actions and for our learning
- We commit ourselves to respect, being civil, valuing the dignity of each person, and respecting the intellectual property of others
With these commitments, we join generations of Elon students as bearers of its honor.
“We have pledged our commitment to live these Elon values. It is what makes a community out of individuals and binds us together as Elon,” Book said.