Elon University is a private liberal arts university in Elon, North Carolina, United States. Formerly known as Elon College when founded in 1889, it became Elon University on June 1, 2001.
Elon College was founded by the Christian Church, which later became a part of the United Church of Christ. The charter for Elon College was issued by the North Carolina legislature in 1889. William S. Long was the first president, and the original student body consisted of 76 students. In 1923, a fire destroyed most of the campus, including school records, classrooms, the library, and the chapel. The Board of Trustees voted to rebuild immediately. Many of the buildings that were erected in the years following the fire still stand and make up the bedrock of Elon's campus.
In the early 1970s, Elon was an undergraduate college serving mainly local residents commuting from family homes, attracting "regional students of average ability from families of modest means." By the start of the 21st century, however, about 68 percent of Elon's students came from out-of-state and were only accepted if they met high academic standards. Elon's transformation was the subject of an academic study by George Keller of the University of Pennsylvania titled Transforming a College: The Story of a Little Known College's Strategic Climb to National Distinction. The study, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, depicted how Elon successfully transformed itself from an unimpressive college to a selective, nationally recognized university.
Elon maintains its historic relationship to the United Church of Christ, but is no longer directly affiliated. Elon's mission statement states that the university "embraces its founders' vision of an academic community that transforms mind, body, and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience," and emphasizes its commitment to "nurture a rich intellectual community characterized by student engagement with a faculty dedicated to excellent teaching and scholarly accomplishment."
Many prominent figures have visited and spoken at Elon, including U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, former U.S. Secretaries of State General Colin L. Powell and Madeleine Albright, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, Nobel Peace Prize winners Elie Wiesel and Muhammad Yunus, astronauts John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin and network news anchors Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper.
The university includes Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences; the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business; the School of Communications; the School of Education; the School of Law; and the School of Health Sciences. Master's programs are offered in business administration, interactive media, education and physician assistant studies, and doctoral programs include physical therapy and law. Elon operates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar, including a four-week term in January known as Winter Term.
In 2009, the Phi Beta Kappa Society voted to establish a chapter at Elon, a mark of distinction for the university's commitment to meeting the high standards of excellence in the arts and sciences advocated by the Society.
Elon is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, offers 51 undergraduate majors within three divisions: the Arts and Humanities, the Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Natural, Mathematical and Computational Sciences. Students can also create their own independent majors, and choose from a range of minors. Students are also strongly encouraged to participate in five programs known as the "Elon Experiences": doing student undergraduate research, studying abroad, doing internships, engaging in service learning, and demonstrating leadership. Elon sends more undergraduate students to study abroad than any other master's-level school in the nation. 80% of Elon students complete internships and 91% of recent graduates participated in volunteer service. Mention of participation in these programs can be included on an "Elon Experiences" transcript which accompanies the academic student transcript.
Admitted freshmen in the class of 2013 had a core academic GPA of 3.96, and the class included 12 high school valedictorians.
The average class size is 21 students, maximum class size is 35 and the 4-year graduation rate is 71%. 71% of students will complete at least one study abroad program (the national average is 6%). 84% of students will complete an internship prior to graduation. As of 2011, Freshman retention rate was 90%.
The Martha and Spencer Love School of Business offers undergraduate degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Management and Marketing. The part-time MBA program was ranked #1 in the South by BusinessWeek.
The Elon School of Communications is one of 18 accredited communications programs for private universities in the US by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). The program encompasses 20% of students and is divided into six main concentrations: Journalism, Broadcast & New Media, Cinema, Strategic Communications, Communication Science and Sport & Event Management. The teaching staff is rich in professional experience, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, top corporate communicators, a CNN veteran and a Webby Honors winner. There are no lab fees, and students can sign out top-line digital media equipment to use for free.
Students each complete at least one required internship. Workplaces include NBC, 60 Minutes, National Geographic, MTV, DreamWorks, New York Times, VOGUE and the Washington Post. Many students complete multiple internships. Some students complete an internship while enrolled in the London program and intern at international media companies headquartered there. There are summer programs in Los Angeles and New York City for students to intern and take classes there. Elon students also conduct research at or present their work at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, Federal Communications Commission, the Broadcast Education Association conference and many other venues.
Students in this discipline have several opportunities to gain practical experience, whether through working on the newspaper (The Pendulum), the radio station (WSOE), or one of many award-winning shows on Elon Student Television (ESTV) including two Emmy award winning shows: One-on-One Sports, and Phoenix14 News, both recognized by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Elon also has a public relations company called Live Oak Communications, as well as a student film group known as Cinelon. In the summer of 2009, the school established an M.A. program in Interactive Media which lasts for ten months. Elon Communications is also home to sketch comedy show Elon Tonight, established in 2010.
The Elon University School of Law opened on August 10, 2006. The School of Law is located in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina in the former city library. Former United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor delivered the Dedication Address on September 19, 2006. According to US News the law school is currently "unranked".
Elon has a student body of 5,225 undergraduate students and 691 graduate students. 48 states, the District of Columbia, and 57 nations are represented in the student body.
Elon's 17 varsity sports teams, known as the Phoenix, will compete in the NCAA's Division I Colonial Athletic Association starting in the 2014-2015 academic year, after a decade of success in the Southern Conference. Intercollegiate sports include baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, and tennis for men, and basketball, cross-country, golf, indoor track, outdoor track, soccer, softball, tennis, and volleyball for women. The football team competes in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA).
Campus Recreation offers intramural and club sports programs, such as baseball, cycling, lacrosse, flag football, equestrian, swimming, rugby union, triathlon, water skiing, ice hockey and Ultimate Frisbee. During Winter Term the intramurals include bowling, arena football, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and a monster golf tournament.
Up until 2000, the mascot of Elon was the Fighting Christian. Early Elon athletic teams were known as the "Christians" with the name "Fighting Christians" gaining popularity by 1923. The nickname was chosen due to Elon's proximity to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, and the Duke Blue Devils. However, many did not feel that the nickname was universal enough for a team making the transition to Division I athletics,][ so a new mascot was adopted in 2000, the Phoenix. The choice came from the 1923 fire that destroyed almost the entire campus. Soon after the fire, the university trustees began planning to make Elon "rise from the ashes". The Phoenix was a mythical creature that rose from the ashes of its predecessors.
Elon's Fight Song was written in 1921 by Mark Z. Rhodes to the tune of F.E. Bigelow's march "Our Director."
So here's to dear old Elon
Faithful and bold
Here's to her banner
Of maroon and gold
Here's to men and women
Who've come and gone
Singing the victor's song
Of old Elon
Elon's sports facilities include two gymnasiums, Walter C. Latham Baseball Park, Rhodes Stadium, the on-campus football stadium, Alumni Field House, Koury Field House, six club athletic fields, Worseley Golf Center, and Koury Center, which features the 2,400 seat Alumni Gym, an aerobic fitness center, a weight room, racquetball courts, an indoor pool, and a dance studio. The Jimmy Powell Tennis Center is a twelve-court state-of-the-art complex and is recognized as one of the finest collegiate tennis complexes in the nation. Athletics staff and coaches began the move into Alumni Field House on Jan. 14. The 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) facility at the north end of Rhodes Stadium in the North Athletics Complex is the new headquarters for Phoenix athletics.
Elon's historic campus is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, adjacent to Burlington, a city of 50,000. Elon is 20 minutes from Greensboro and within a one hour drive of many other universities — Duke, NC State, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T State University, and Wake Forest.
Princeton Review as well as the New York Times ranked Elon University as the nation's #1 most beautiful campus. Elon's 600-acre (242.8 ha) campus is divided into seven major sections: North Area, Central Campus, West Area, East Area, South Campus, Danieley Center, and Elon West. Each area consists of different services and facilities. There are 29 residence buildings on campus and 12 major academic buildings. Elon also has numerous lakes and fountains throughout its campus.
Spike Lee used Elon as one of the university locations for the movie He Got Game. The Alamance Building, Fonville Fountain, and the Moseley Center's outside patio were the setting for the movie's "Tech University."
The university has more than 150 campus organizations and programs, including 12 national fraternities and 13 national sororities. Elon University's fraternities consist of the following: Delta Upsilon, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Pi, Kappa Alpha Order, Lambda Chi Alpha, Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Alpha, Zeta Beta Tau, and Kappa Alpha Psi. Elon University's sororities consist of the following: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Xi Delta, Kappa Delta, Sigma Kappa, Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Omicron Pi, Delta Delta Delta, Phi Mu, Sigma Sigma Sigma, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta.
The Pendulum, Elon's undergraduate weekly newspaper is published every Wednesday. WSOE, the University's student-run non-commercial campus radio station, has been airing since 1977. ETV (Elon Television) is the Student television station featuring numerous student-created and -run programs in addition to its nationally recognized news program, Phoenix14 News, produced by ESTV (Elon Student Television). Phoenix14News was ranked #1 college newscast by the Broadcast Education Association in 2009 and was recognized as the Best College Newscast by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Phoenix14News was at the center of controversy in March 2010, when former student journalist Nick Ochsner was denied a complete incident report from Elon’s Campus Safety and Police Department following an open records request for the details surrounding a fellow student's arrest. Ochsner has since sued the university and the state attorney general's office for the records. On June 5, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the university and the attorney general's office, holding that private university police departments, like that at Elon, are not subject to the state's open records law.
Numerous student government, special interest, and service organizations are represented on campus, including Elon Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity, Model UN, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Alpha Phi Omega, the Resident Student Association, the Student Government Association, and the Student Union Board. Cultural groups on campus include the Black Cultural Society, Hillel, Intercultural Club, and Spectrum (Gay-Straight Alliance).
Elon is home to the Fire of the Carolinas Marching Band (FOTC), which delivers pre-game, halftime, and occasionally post-game performances at home football games. The band also includes color guard (flag spinning) and dance auxiliary squads.
Religious groups on campus include Catholic Campus Ministry, Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Baptist Student Union, Sigma Alpha Omega, and Campus Outreach.
The Jewish population at Elon has grown especially rapidly in recent years, with eight percent of recent classes self-identifying as Jewish, though the number of Jewish students on campus is assumed by some to be higher than this. Elon was profiled in Reform Judaism magazine in 2011 as a school which has "gone the extra mile" to make itself more attractive to Jewish students.
The Muslim student population is small but has increased dramatically in size in recent years, and a Muslim Student Association has formed at Elon.
The Hindu population has also increased in size, and while there is no formal Hindu organization on campus, Hindu students report feeling accepted at Elon.
Elon has received praise for its efforts to build a multi-faith center that is open to students of all religious traditions.
Elon University recognizes 25 social Greek organizations. 43% of women and 26% of men on campus belong to one of the following campus-chartered organizations. In 2011, two new Greek organizations were installed, one IFC fraternity (Delta Upsilon) and one PHC sorority (Kappa Delta).
Elon students conduct statewide polls on issues of importance to North Carolinians. Formed in 2000, the non-partisan polls' results are shared with various media outlets, citizens and researchers to facilitate representative democracy and public policy making through the better understanding of the opinions and needs of North Carolina citizens. It is one of the only polls in the country that is conducted by student callers as compared to hired workers.
Polls have gauged respondents' opinions of the Presidential performance, capital punishment, and the Iraq War.
Dr. Kenneth Fernandez and Dr. Jason Husser are the directors of the Elon University Poll.