Looking Back: The Class of 2024 arrives at Elon

A look back at Move-In Days and New Student Convocation for the Class of 2024 as they prepare to graduate on Friday, May 24.

As Elon University prepares to celebrate the Class of 2024 during commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 24, in Schar Center, take a look back at the arrival of these students at Elon during a unique and challenging time.

Throughout their time at Elon, members of the Class of 2024 have demonstrated grit and resilience that stems in part from the impact of a global pandemic during such an important transition in their lives. These students missed out on traditional in-person high school graduation ceremonies as schools closed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and arrived at an Elon that had instituted a range of health and safety measures that while challenging, ensured that they were able to begin their college careers in person.

A student and family member with another person as they move into a dorm
More than 1,600 members of the Class of 2024 and other new students arrived on campus from Friday, Aug. 14, through Saturday, Aug. 15, for Move-In and New Student Orientation.

The traditional Move-In Day became Move-In Days, as new students arrived on Friday, Aug. 14, and Saturday, Aug. 15. As reported in the coverage of Move-In and New Student Orientation on Today at Elon, “The cheers and the welcomes were slightly muffled by cloth masks and other face coverings on Friday, but Elon University demonstrated the same spirit as it welcomed the Class of 2024 and other new students to campus during Move-In.”

The excitement was still among the faculty and staff who turned out to help the Class of 2024 get settled and among the new students arriving with their family members. “I’m just so excited to meet new people, despite all that is going on,” said Michael Buccellato from Chicago as he moved into his room in Global Neighborhood.

That extended to his mother as well. “I am so excited for him to embark on this new chapter in his life,” Cassie Buccellato said. “I am way more excited than I am anxious.”

Student checking in received a Ready & Resilient Kit, which includes an Elon-branded mask, hand sanitizer, tissues, a thermometer other information about steps students can take to promote health and safety on campus.

“I’m definitely looking forward to a change — starting in a new place, meeting new people and seeing all sorts of different people,” said new student Alex Percival.

More than 1,600 members of the Class of 2024 and other new students arrived on campus from Friday, Aug. 14, through Saturday, Aug. 15, for Move-In and New Student Orientation.

New Student Convocation looked different, too. Health and safety measures prevented the entire class of new students from gathering together with their family members to celebrate the official start of their journeys at Elon, but the new class was still able to learn about Elon’s traditions and begin to build the bonds with each other that would carry them through the next four years. Many students gathered in Alumni Gym while other smaller groups of students participated remotely from locations around the campus.

“More than ever before, the world is waiting in anticipation of you, the next generation, to bring your creativity and grit to our future,” President Connie Ledoux Book said during her convocation address. “2020 is a landmark moment in our history and you, the Class of 2024, you will write our future.”

New first-year and transfer students attend New Student Convocation in both Alumni Gym.

In her remarks, Book noted that these new Elon students are living during a time when they could say either say, “Why me?” and question why they are facing such widespread challenges, or say “Send me” as they respond to what has been put in front of them with curiosity and resilience. It is OK during this time of uncertainty to admit you don’t know everything or exactly what might lie ahead, Book said.

“There’s a vulnerability in saying, ‘I don’t’ know’ and ‘I don’t know why,’ acknowledging that we don’t have answers in a time when people are craving the certainty of the world we once knew,” Book said. “It is the intellectual curiosity of ‘I don’t know,’ that stages the curiosity necessary to ask the critical questions for leadership.”

You have come to Elon equipped with curiosity to ask critical questions and seek knowledge and understanding, Book told the students, and it’s those goals that are hallmarks of the journey at Elon.

“This year, your journey begins with a foundational understanding that our future together requires your leadership and is dependent on each other,” Book said. “This is your moment, your moment to shine, your moment to lead, your moment to learn and your moment to grow. When you said, ‘Send me, send us,’ Class of 2024, you demonstrated the most powerful aspect of any education — you raised your hand and said, ‘I’m here.’”

At the conclusion of New Student Convocation, each member of the Class of 2024 received acorn in an iconic Elon tradition. The acorn serves as a symbol of the beginning of intellectual and personal growth that will take place during their time at Elon. And on Tuesday, May 24, the Class of 2024 will receive their oak saplings Under the Oaks at Numen Lumen: Senior Baccalaureate Reflection — a symbol of the growth that has taken place over the last four years.

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The 134th Undergraduate Commencement for the Class of 2024 is scheduled for Friday, May 24, at 9 a.m. for the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and School of Communications, and 2:30 p.m. for the Dr. Jo Watts Williams School of Education and Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. The ceremonies will be held in Schar Center.

A full schedule of events and further details can be found on the Commencement website. Both ceremonies will be available to livestream on personal devices.