Elon President Connie Book welcomed families and shared progress on the Boldly Elon strategic plan during the Oct. 1 University Update on Family Weekend.
Book started by thanking families for coming to campus and said that students’ spirits usually begin to lift after Family Weekend.
“It is important, and I know how much I appreciate it,” Book said.
Book also thanked faculty, crediting them for Elon’s No. 1 ranking in undergraduate teaching from the U.S. News and World Report, as well as Elon’s nine other top 10 rankings.
“We truly, truly have an outstanding faculty. And it didn't happen by accident,” Book said. “Our faculty balance that teaching, that scholarship and service to the institution in a meaningful way.”
Book highlighted Elon’s core curriculum, Center for Engaged Learning and the university’s investment in STEM. Pictures of Elon’s Innovation Quad were projected behind her as she spoke. Book said the empty pedestal outside Founder’s Hall will soon feature a solar powered sunflower statue that will generate electricity and be a place for students to charge their phones. She said the project was inspired by a student who wanted to beautify clean energy.
“The sunflower is in honor of that learning that truly transforms our world and to watch unfold during a student’s time here at Elon,” Book said.
Book also updated the community on the success of Elon’s nursing program, now in its second year.
She said this program will “keep Elon on the forefront what the world needs in terms of professional services.”
Next, she thanked alumni and their contributions to the Elon Leads campaign. The initiative raises money for the university through monetary donations.
“They provide us in multiple ways through philanthropy through networking, role modeling, admission work,” Book said. “So truly, Elon’s reputation is being supported by the important work and advanced by our alumni network.”
Book also covered new scholarships that the university has been able to offer, including scholarships for Fire of the Carolinas, Elon’s marching band. She said new scholarships were made possible, in part, by the revenue that the Inn at Elon has generated.
The hotel was designed to fund scholarships. According to Book, it turned a profit of about one million dollars which was put towards new scholarships.
Book stressed the importance of physical and mental health and well-being.
“I'm confident that this is one of the greatest challenges of our global community,” she said.
Book said these issues inspired the creation of Health EU. The initiative is a part of Boldy Elon and focuses on community, emotional, financial, physical, purpose and social wellbeing.
Book also talked about university growth, specifically, the integrated facility that is set to be built behind Innovation Quad and Founders Hall which she called one of the largest undertakings in Elon’s history.”The facility is expected to bring together exercise science, public health, human services, counseling services and a new gym.
Book highlighted the growth of Alamance County. According to Book, 55,000 new jobs have been announced in the areas surrounding Elon since January.
“We're all watching this and engaged and wanting to make sure that we are benefitting from the arrival of these opportunities,” she said.
Alamance Scholars and Campus Alamance, two partnerships between Elon and the surrounding school systems, have also advanced opportunities for students pursuing a career in education, according to Book.
After she spoke, Book took questions from the audience.
Lisa Betts, parent of an Elon freshman, asked about tuition increases, which she told Elon News Network caught her family was caught off guard, as when they first looked at Elon, the tuition increase had not been announced.
In response to Betts’s question, Book said Elon depends on tuition since the university has a small endowment.
“Elon is actually on a slow growth model,” Book said. “What we try to do is to grow a little bit so that we never have to put a hard dial on tuition. We are planning our growth for next year so that we can get back to our normal range of tuition increase.”
Parents also asked questions about mentorship efforts, Elon’s test optional admissions process and Book’s worries for the future.