Generosity at the center of 10th annual Elon Day

The on-campus events offered an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to safely gather to celebrate philanthropy and support the university.

College Coffee at Alumni Gym on Elon Day, March 7, 2023.

Golden balloons spelling out “Elon Day” shimmered above the entrance to Alumni Gym as hundreds of students, faculty and staff filed in to celebrate philanthropy at the university and those who have contributed to its success.

“Today, Elon is an extraordinary place of engaged and experiential learning made possible by the generosity of so many alumni, parents, faculty, staff, family and friends who have contributed in remarkable numbers over the last 10 years and over our history,” Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book said at the celebratory College Coffee.

“The community’s collective belief in our distinctive mission and our values has fueled excitement and passion that has made Elon Day an exciting tradition for the last 10 years,” she added.

Group using the photo booth at the 2023 Elon Day College Coffee on Tuesday, March 7.

Since the first Elon Day in 2014, the annual fundraising effort has generated 40,000 gifts producing a combined $16 million to support university initiatives, including the creation of more than 45 endowed scholarships.

“We hope that everyone will rise to the challenge today and support this special place we call Elon,” said John Barnhill ’92, associate vice president for university advancement. “Thank you to the students, alumni, parents, grandparents and friends who have already made a gift today. Your impact has made a lasting impact across this campus and we hope that people will continue throughout the day.”

Barnhill announced that the first of multiple challenges offered during Elon Day was reached during the College Coffee. In honor of the 10th year, the university set a challenge of reaching 1,010 gifts by the start of the event Tuesday morning. By the conclusion of College Coffee, over 1,110 gifts had been made totaling more than $339,000.

Students enjoying tacos at the “Let’s Taco ‘Bout Philanthropy” event on Elon Day, March 7, 2023.

Student Government Association President Nadine Jose ’23 announced a special challenge that would offer a dollar-for-dollar match for certain contributions. With every donation of $20.23, for example, an Elon donor will match that gift. “I think that’s a pretty good deal if you ask me,” Jose said.

This significant milestone of 10 Elon Day celebrations also coincides with the university’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the fire of 1923 — “Rising from the Ashes: A Century of Innovation.”

During the College Coffee, Book spoke about the altruism on display from the community 100 years ago in replacing the college’s administration building after it was destroyed in the fire. A fundraising drive was launched and in less than three years, Alamance Building was built (named for the community that banded together to build it) along with four others that still form the center of Elon’s historic campus.

Elon Day banner hanging from Alamance Building portico on Elon Day, March 7, 2023.

That generosity made it apparent that the Elon community has always been extraordinary, Book said.

“The most remarkable part of that 1923 story is not the fire. It is what happened next,” Book said. “That morning with the fire still smoldering, the faculty met and decided to continue the semester. They were undaunted by the fact that most of the college’s books, records and equipment were gone. They were courageous, determined and unstoppable. Qualities that have come to define the Elon community and the Phoenix.”

Several other events throughout the day brought the university community on campus, including the “Taco ‘Bout Philanthropy” event on Medallion Plaza where students answered trivia to win a free taco. The Student Union Board had several stations open at the event with a make-your-own-sticker table, caricature artist, photo booth, music and Pelican’s Snoballs.

The opportunity to enjoy the fair March weather and fellowship in celebration of Elon Day was also available at the pop-up student lounge on Young Commons. Students stopped by and grab some snacks and played games or just sat back and relaxed on the lawn in front of Moseley Center.

Left to right, Patrick Shealy ’25, Callie Reign ’25, Carlos Levy ’26, and Calle Edelstam ’25, play spike ball on Young Commons on Elon Day, March 7, 2023.

In the evening, a senior toast will be held for the Class of 2023 in the Global Commons Great Hall from 7:30 to 9 p.m. At 10 p.m., there will be an evening College Coffee in the Koury Concourse.

The celebrations aren’t limited to Elon’s campus as there are 40 regional alumni events scheduled around the country and world for Elon Day.

Patrick Shealy ’25 said Elon Day is a day to be appreciative of those who support the institution. “We have what we have because of them,” he said.

Henry Narkiewicz ’26 said the festivities of the day were a bit of a pleasant surprise thanks to the great weather and the plethora of events offered.

“It’s nice knowing that there are donors and people interested in helping the school grow and thrive. I’ve enjoyed Elon now and I think that the resources from the donors are a big part of why the school is successful. I hope it continues,” Narkiewicz said.

Elon Day balloon banner at pop-up student lounge on Elon Day, March 7, 2023.