Making History: Elon LEADS Campaign concludes raising a record $260 million

During the largest fundraising campaign in Elon history, donors provided funding for hundreds of new scholarships, access to engaged learning programs, faculty and staff mentors and Elon’s iconic campus.

President Connie Ledoux Book has announced the successful conclusion of the Elon LEADS Campaign, which raised a record $260 million to support four main funding priorities: scholarships and student aid, increased access to the Elon Experiences engaged learning programs, support for faculty and staff mentors and to continue developing Elon’s iconic learning environment.

“This is an exciting day in the history of Elon University,” Book said. “We are grateful to the more than 34,000 donors to Elon LEADS who believe deeply in investing in Elon students and our bright future. These historic investments in an Elon education will continue to fuel excellence and our national rise in the decades ahead.”

The public phase of Elon LEADS was announced in April 2019. The campaign concluded on Dec. 31, 2022, exceeding the $250 million goal. The university’s previous campaign, Ever Elon, ended in 2011 raising $107.3 million.

“Elon’s culture of philanthropy has never been stronger thanks to the leadership of thousands of alumni, parents and friends whose inspired investments in this campaign are changing lives,” said James B. Piatt Jr., vice president for university advancement. “The success of Elon LEADS is providing transformational support for Elon students, faculty and staff, and our campus.”

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to congratulate the entire Elon community on making the Elon LEADS Campaign a big success,” said Dave Porter P’11 P’19, chair of the board of trustees who led the first year of the campaign’s public phase. “It is gratifying to see this collective commitment to preparing the courageous leaders our world needs.”

Strong leadership was a hallmark of excellence throughout Elon LEADS. President Book thanked all the campaign chairs whose leadership and generosity played an integral role in its success, including Dave Porter, Elon Trustee Allen Gant, Trustee Ed Doherty and Joan Doherty P’07, Trustee Chris Martin ’78 P’13, Priscilla Awkard ’95, Christian Wiggins ’03, Maity Interiano ’07 and Jack McMackin ’08.

The success of Elon LEADS is the result of the collective impact of gifts from throughout the Elon donor community, including endowed and annual gifts, estate commitments and capital gifts that added stunning new facilities to Elon’s campus.

Elon LEADS was focused on four main funding priorities:

Scholarships to Prepare Graduates the World Needs

The top campaign priority was increasing support for students in the form of scholarships. Donors contributed $155 million to establish 287 new endowed scholarships, bringing historic growth to Elon’s endowment, and to support financial aid through annual gifts.

The majority of new endowed scholarships were in Elon’s renowned Odyssey Program, which serves students with high financial need, including many who are the first in their families to attend college. Donor gifts also created new Fellows scholarships and Elon Engagement scholarships for admitted students.

Access to Engaged Learning

Donors contributed $11 million to create 60 new endowed funds to broaden access to the university’s nationally recognized Elon Experiences engaged learning programs, including study abroad, internships, undergraduate research, service learning and leadership. These investments help bolster Elon’s consistent ranking as the top school in the nation in 8 high-impact teaching and learning practices that lead to student success.

Faculty and Staff Mentors Who Matter

Believing in the power of mentoring relationships, donors contributed $8 million to support the work of Elon’s outstanding faculty and staff mentors, including endowing three professorships. These mentoring relationships help drive Elon to the #1 national ranking for undergraduate teaching.

Elon’s Iconic Learning Environment

The impact of Elon LEADS on the university’s campus footprint has been profound. Thanks to $86 million in gifts from hundreds of Elon families, the following new facilities and spaces have been strategically added:

  • School of Communications expansion, including Steers Pavilion, Dwight C. Schar Hall, Citrone Plaza, Snow Family Grand Atrium, Turner Theatre and the Jane and Brian Williams Television Studio
  • LaRose Student Commons
  • Schar Center
  • The Inn at Elon
  • Richard W. Sankey Hall
  • Koenigsberger Learning Center
  • Founders Hall & Innovation Hall in the Innovation Quad

Among the highlights of the campaign was the largest single endowment gift ever received by Elon. The Williams family, including Elon Trustee William (Lee) Williams III and Dr. Randall Williams and his wife, Elizabeth, made a $10 million gift to endow the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education in honor of their mother, a beloved 1955 Elon graduate who was connected to her alma mater as an educator and administrator for more than 75 years.

The endowment supports multiple initiatives across the university involving students, faculty, administrators and the university’s community partnerships, as well as establishes 20 scholarships in the Odyssey Program.

In addition to building the university endowment, Elon LEADS brought substantial gains in annual giving, with alumni, parents and friends contributing $78 million as part of the total raised to support scholarships, programs and daily operations of the university.

Donors were also inspired to contribute to Elon’s long-term future by making $46 million in estate and other planned gifts, creating a vital pipeline of support to keep Elon moving forward.