Alumni and friends celebrate during Evening for Elon event in New York City

Last Wednesday, Sept. 13, over 750 alumni, parents and friends gathered in the Big Apple to hear about the newest updates happening on Elon’s campus.

Friends pose for a photo at the Evening for Elon, New York event.

In the dazzling lights of New York City, at the Cipriani 42nd Street on Sept. 13, Elon alumni, parents and friends gathered to celebrate a new academic year and receive an update on the innovative new initiatives happening on campus this year.

The night began with a reception that featured a hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres. Once guests had time to mingle, programming began with an introduction from Chuck Racioppo ’17, who serves as president of the New York regional alumni chapter board, along with a short video review of Elon today.

Chuck Racioppo ’17 speaks to the attendees of Evening for Elon, New York.

Racioppo shared key updates from the New York alumni board.

“This year, I’m excited to announce that some of our events will be dedicated to the women of Elon. We’ll be recognizing, supporting and connecting our women alumni. Each year, we are finding new ways to positively impact our alumni base and the city we call home. I couldn’t be more excited for the new events that are in store for this year, and I hope to see you all there,” Racioppo said. 

President Connie Ledoux Book began her university update by sharing her gratitude for Elon’s donors. She also cited the addition of 287 new endowed scholarships and 60 new endowments to ensure that all Elon students can engage in Elon Experiences.

“Thank you for the role each of you played in making our Elon LEADS Campaign, which concluded last December, the most successful in university history. More than 34,000 donors contributed more than $260 million to support our distinctive mission,” Book said. 

President Book addresses the attendees and speaks about major changes to the campus landscape and curriculum.

Book shared upcoming events that are bringing excitement to Elon, including the appropriate use of AI, the addition of new majors, the expansion of Elon STEM programs and the opening of a new Regional Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Her remarks also covered one of the largest construction projects in university history, describing a wellness facility that will serve as “a physical hub to provide programs and spaces to allow students to explore ways to advance their personal wellness within each of these areas and to develop habits and skills that will support their wellness for the rest of their lives.”

“This new facility is going to be transformational providing space for collaboration, connection and community building,” Book said.

Attendees also learned that construction of a new performing arts center is on the horizon for Elon, which will support the dynamic music theatre and performing arts students and programs. 

Following Book’s remarks, Giselle Watts ’23 took the stage to perform the song “Beautiful,” as featured in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” which Watts performed in this past summer as Little Eva/Shirelle at Short North Stage in Ohio. Watts majored in music theatre at Elon and is now pursuing a career in music theatre, working with several major companies.

Giselle Watts ’23 performs “Beautiful” from “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the event.

Jim Piatt, senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs, provided closing remarks, focusing on growing stronger together. He gave an example of an oak tree, explaining how the roots will grow together to create a stronger foundation that anchors the tree so that it withstands storms.

Because they are so connected, the roots share resources so the tree can grow and thrive for centuries. It’s a powerful idea, that we grow stronger when we grow together.

Jim Piatt, Senior Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs, gives a call to action to attendees, inspiring them to give back.

Piatt closed out the night with a call to action, asking constituents to be involved as partners, advocates and investors in the spirit of helping Elon thrive.

The next Evening for Elon event will take place in Philadelphia at Down Town Club on Wednesday, Oct. 4. To register for the event, please email