Elon University launched its newest fundraising campaign today — Elon LEADS: Our University Campaign. The campaign has already raised $167 million since 2015, with hopes of reaching its goal of $250 million by May 2022. 

At today’s press conference launching the public phase of the campaign, President Connie Book said the campaign will be student centered. The four goals hope to improve student economic diversity, support for staff and faculty and additional funding for Elon's Experiential Learning Requirements, such as study abroad and internships. 

Currently, Elon ranks 16th for least accessible school economically in a survey of 2,395 colleges in the United States. Fourteen percent of Elon students come from the most affluent 1% of Americans. More than half of Elon LEADS Campaign funds will go towards scholarships to bring economic diversity to Elon’s student body, including Odyssey scholarships. The Odyssey Scholarship Program gives scholarships for need-based students.

Trustee Dave Porter acknowledged Elon’s lack of economic diversity and said the Elon LEADS Campaign aims to change this.

“Keeping college affordable is the great challenge at every institution,” Porter said. “We understand that, and this effort is the cornerstone of the Elon LEADS Campaign.” Porter is the parent of two Elon alumni and is serving as the chair of the public phase for the campaign. 

Currently, the university offers 180 Odyssey scholarships, but through this campaign, it hopes to change that to 100 students a year. Already, the campaign has added 66 endowed Odyssey scholarships, 14 endowed Fellows scholarships and 38 endowed Elon Engagement scholarships. 

The campaign is the biggest in Elon’s history, lasting seven years (2015-2022) and aiming to raise $250 million. The university's previous campaign, Ever Elon, concluded in 2011 and raised $107.3 million. 

Elon LEADS is hosting events in cities across the country throughout the rest of the year to continue bringing in donations from alumni and other donors.