Elon University is a private, liberal arts university located in Elon, North Carolina.
The University was founded in 1889 by the Christian Church, which is now the United Church of Christ. Formerly known as Elon College, it became Elon University on June 1, 2001. The historic 575 acre (2.3 km²) campus has been designated a botanical garden and features oak trees, brick sidewalks, fountains and lakes. Elon is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is ranked as one of the top southern master's-level universities by U.S.News & World Report.
In 1889, the North Carolina Legislature issued a charter for Elon College. William S. Long was the founder and the first president. 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 disastrous fire still stand today and make up the bedrock of Elon's campus.
Elon has changed drastically from its longstanding status in the past 25 years, when it was solely an undergraduate college. Until 25 years ago, students were almost all from North Carolina, and mainly local residents commuting from family homes. Now, about 68 percent of Elon's students come from out-of-state.
Many prominent figures have visited and spoken at Elon, including 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 winner Elie Wiesel, and astronaut John Glenn.