Updated as of 12:20 p.m. Aug. 19 to include video from the Convocation ceremony.

Elon University President Connie Book welcomed the class of 2027 at New Student Convocation with a pledge to help incoming students grow.

“You will be challenged and supported,” Book said. “And then challenged and supported again. Because that’s how we learn.”

Book spoke to a class of nearly 1,800 along with other university leadership Under the Oaks on Aug. 19. According to Randy Williams, vice president for inclusive excellence, 1,685 students are freshmen, while 88 are transfers from other universities — making this one of Elon’s largest classes. 

Meredith Schiffer, mother of freshman Tyler Schiffer, said she found Convocation beautiful.

“This is overwhelming,” Schiffer said. “We're just talking about the oaks and the music. The setting is unbelievable.”

Meredith, who is from Connecticut, said she is comfortable leaving her son at Elon because of the kindness she has experienced.

“Everyone in North Carolina is so nice,” Meredith said. “It’s just very welcoming. I’m excited and I know that this is the right place for him.”

Meredith also said she will miss not having him at home. 

“I haven’t cried yet,” Meredith said. “But I started to tear up when we walked in.”

Junior Alyvia Cooke, whose younger sister Mya is an incoming freshman, said she was nervous at her own convocation but is now happy for Mya.

“I’m excited for her,” Alyvia said. “It’ll be fun watching her go through the things I went through.”

Alyvia said she has encouraged her sister to participate in campus activities and is looking forward to watching her grow.

“It will be exciting to see her find her own love for Elon,” Alyvia said.

Kevin Kittredge, father of incoming freshman and Elon Bridge participant Lena Kittredge, said he enjoyed hearing about the opportunities for his daughter during Convocation.

“It was really powerful,” Kevin said. “It was cool to see all the faculty and see how much support exists out there for students.”

Kevin said he appreciated the sheer number of faculty — 480 of whom are full-time — who said they are always available to university students.

“There are a lot of people here to support each of the students,” Kevin said. “It’s really impressive.”

Javanika Weltig, mother of incoming freshman Nikhil Weltig, said she was pleasantly surprised by Convocation.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Javanika said. “But it felt like a really warm welcome and a sense of community.”

Javanika also said she liked hearing Student Body President Britt Mobley speak because he was more relatable to the new students than the faculty. 

“That was inspiring,” Javanika said. “The kids could relate to him and feel like it’s a very welcoming school.”

Mobley said in his address to the class of 2027 that he will support them throughout the next year. 

“I personally commit to being a source of light,” Mobley said in his speech. “I’ll be there to cheer you on on your best days, I’ll also be there to pick you up on your worst.”

Book said she looks forward to seeing the class of 2027, like previous classes at Elon, grow in kindness and respect.

“At the center of your education will be human values, human relationships, and a very real sense of your own power — your human intelligence — to shape the future of humanity,” Book said. 

She closed the event by saying she is looking forward to getting to know the incoming students during their time at Elon. 

“You are just a part of Elon that we do not know yet, because we are continually evolving,” Book said. “You are our hope. Our hope for a smarter, stronger, and kinder world.”