Elon was founded in 1889 by the United Church of Christ (then called the Christian Church) as a small liberal arts college mainly for residents of the state. In 1923, a fire roared through campus, destroying most of the buildings. They were immediately replaced, and the school adopted the Phoenix as a mascot. Over the past few decades, Elon has expanded, seeking to encourage more out-of-state students to attend. Only about a third of its undergraduates currently come from North Carolina, and in 2001, the school changed its name to Elon University to reflect its new status as a research institution with graduate programs. It remains affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
Elon’s 575-acre lush, green, well-groomed campus is frequently noted as one of the most beautiful in the country. Appropriately, since it is a botanical garden, it features a diversity of flowers and trees, wooded areas and open spaces, fountains—including North Carolina’s largest—and lakes.
Architecturally, almost all buildings are classical Southern, constructed of red brick with white pillars. The campus is divided into seven sections: North Area, with an athletic complex and the football stadium; Central Campus, with the Moseley Center’s Zone game room and Octagon Café, the Koury Center’s fitness rooms and pool, and Belk Library; West Area; East Area; South Campus; Danieley Center; and Elon West, with the newly renovated Arts West houses.
Elon University in Elon, N.C. (pop. 6,738), is situated in the Piedmont section of North Carolina, just outside of Burlington (pop. 50,000) and twenty minutes away from Greensboro (pop. 244,610). The area is equidistant from the Appalachian Mountains and the coast. More substantial cities—Winston-Salem, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh—are all about an hour's drive away. Students agree that having a car is crucial as the immediate area, while lovely and blessed with good weather, does not offer much in the way of shopping.
Students are given an acorn as freshmen and receive an oak sapling when they graduate.
Festivus: An annual daylong off-campus outdoor party with a mud pit.
Jumping into Lake Mary Nell.
College Coffee: A weekly breakfast meeting between students and faculty and administration.
Rich Blomquist (2000) is an Emmy-award winning writer for the “Daily Show.”
Ward Burton (1982) is a NASCAR driver.
Martin Ritt (1934) was an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and director.
Elon offers 16 intercollegiate men's and women's sports in the Southern Conference of the NCAA Division I (for football, Division I Football Subdivision Championship, formerly Division I-AA), as well as 18 intramural and 21 club sports, including flag football, equestrian, lacrosse, swimming, and rugby. Students as a whole are neither fervent athletes nor fervent fans, however, although they do stand up to sing the school song and shake Phoenix dolls at the field. They do enjoy the many expensive and well-maintained fitness options and sports facilities provided by the school, including two gyms, a golf course, a dance studio, and one of the country’s most state-of-the-art tennis complexes.
Starting in the 1930s, Elon’s mascot was the Fightin’ Christians. That was retired in 1999 when the school moved up to Division I in favor of the Phoenix.
Elon’s Fonville Fountain is the largest fountain in North Carolina.
The entire campus burned down in 1923 and had to be rebuilt—hence the school mascot is the Phoenix, which symbolizes rising from the ashes.
Elon was featured as one of the university locations for the Spike Lee movie He Got Game as “Tech University.” The Alamance Building, Fonville Fountain, and the Moseley Center all made appearances.
All dorms in Elon are air-conditioned, and most are co-ed. Staley Hall has two female-only floors while West and Carolina Halls are all female and Smith Hall is all male. Housing options include doubles, singles, suites, apartments, and Living and Learning Communities.
North Area: Staley Hall, Moffitt Hall, Colclough Hall, Chandler Hall, Maynard Hall
West Area: Virginia Hall, Sloan Hall, West Hall
Danieley Center Flats: Danieley G-N Buildings
The Colonnades: Buildings A and B
East Area: Smith Hall, Carolina Hall, Hook Hall, Brannock Hall, Barney Hall, Isabella Cannon International Studies Pavilion, William R. Kenan Jr. Honors Pavilion
College-owned apartments: Danieley Center O & P (single-bedroom, 4 person apartments); Danieley Center A - F (4 students per apartment); Oak House (5 students per apartment); the Oaks (2 and 4 bedroom apartments)