University community gathers at special College Coffee to commemorate 1923 fire and rebuilding

The commemorative College Coffee honoring the 100 years of resilience and innovation that followed the fire of 1923.

Elon University on Tuesday, Jan. 31, brought together students, faculty and staff to honor the resiliency and vision of the university community following the devastating 1923 campus fire that threatened the future of what was then Elon College.

The special College Coffee as the spring semester gets underway offered an opportunity to commemorate the “century of innovation” that has following the devastating fire that destroyed the Administration Building, and which served as a pivotal moment in Elon’s history.

Throughout the year, the university is hosting a wide variety of events under the theme “Rising from the Ashes: A Century of Innovation.” Tuesday’s commemorative College Coffee included branded treats, a display of artifacts from the last 100 years, Elon trivia and a raffle for special commemorative items.

“This has been a labor of love for me and the committee, so kudos to all of them around the room. This year is about celebrating the innovation that happened at Elon since the 1923 fire,” said Kari Taylor ’09, deputy chief of staff and co-chair of the 1923 Committee charged with implementing events throughout the year.

The special College Coffee garnered media coverage from NBC-affiliated WXII featuring comments from Taylor and Elon President Connie Ledoux Book.

The next 1923-themed event is Friday, Feb. 3 — a Campus Conversation on “Developing Individual and Community Resilience” in McKinnon Hall at 2 p.m. The discussion will use the Elon fire and the Rosewood Massacre — both occurred in January 1923 — to spark a conversation about building resilience on Elon’s campus and in communities. Elon faculty and staff members Lorraine Ahearn, Heather Barker, Jessica Carew, Rod Clare, Naeemah Clark, Vanessa Drew-Branch and Randy Williams will be featured in the session.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, Elon community members will have an engaging panel discussion on how the university has championed innovation through admissions, sports, student life and other avenues. The event will be in McKinnon Hall at 7 p.m.

For the full list of 1923 Fire Centennial Observances, visit the 1923 Commemoration webpage.