Home Iconic bar Elon University / Today in Elon / Friends, families and alumni show up for Elon LEADS in the Triad and Triangle

Elon University / Today in Elon / Friends, families and alumni show up for Elon LEADS in the Triad and Triangle


Elon University has launched its series of regional Elon LEADS events in the Triad and Triangle. The Elon LEADS campaign aims to raise funds to provide current and future students with more opportunities to become the leaders the world needs and will end on December 31.

On April 28, Elon University hosted the first Elon LEADS event of the year, one of a series of regional events that will take place throughout the final year of the Elon LEADS campaign. This special event brought together more than 120 alumni, parents, teachers, staff and friends of Elon at The Inn at Elon to celebrate the success of the campaign so far and learn how to make an impact before the end of Elon LEADS on December 31, 2022.

Guests enjoyed a hosted bar and hors d’oeuvres while listening to remarks from special guests, including Elon alumnus and administrator Burney Jennings ’87 P’18, Vice President for Access and success Jean Rattigan-Rohr, current student Jose Alex Reyes’ 25 and President Connie Ledoux Book. Giselle Watts ’23 took the stage to wow attendees with a stunning vocal performance.

Vice President for University Advancement, Jim Piatt, shared the impact more than 30,000 donors have had on the campaign’s top fundraising priorities, including:

  • Over 270 new endowed scholarships created to help graduates the world needs.
  • Over $10 million raised and 45 new scholarships created to expand access to Elon experiences such as study abroad and internships.
  • Nearly $8 million raised to support faculty and staff mentors that matter
  • Seven new facilities have been added to Elon’s signature learning environment, including the Schar Center, The Inn at Elon and Innovation Quad.

“If there’s one thing our community has taught us during this campaign, it’s the power of philanthropy to transform lives, and know that every donation has an impact,” said Piatt. “Each of us – alumni, parents and friends – plays an important role in the success of Elon LEADS and can take pride in knowing that together we are moving Elon forward in profound ways.”

The second event in this series took place on May 5 at the Angus Barn Pavilion in Raleigh, North Carolina. Over 200 guests attended the highly anticipated event as Chairman Book gave an update on Elon LEADS. Book and Piatt were joined by Jenn Nowalk ’99 and Rich Nowalk ’97, and Elon senior Samantha Dominguez ’22. Book spoke about the role alumni have played in the Elon LEADS campaign.

“Each of our alumni speakers embodies what it means to be a committed Elon alumnus and they demonstrate the critical role alumni play in securing Elon’s future,” Book said. “Tonight, I ask each of you to make Elon and Elon LEADS one of your priorities. After all, we are funding dreams in this campaign!

Campaign co-chairs Priscilla Awkard ’95 and Christian Wiggins ’03 also spoke at the Angus Barn Pavilion event, sharing their Elon stories and how their donations can have an impact.

For Awkard, a former volleyball player, first-generation college student, and scholarship recipient, Elon taught her that she was not alone on her college journey and had a community that supported her. She wants to be part of this community of support for current and future Elon students and encourages others to join her by donating to Elon LEADS.

“I love this campaign because it gives you so many opportunities and ways to give,” Awkard said. “As alumni, we are the future of Elon. It’s up to us to leverage the leadership skills Elon taught us to take ownership of our university.

Elon de Wiggins’ story began with his family around the kitchen table discussing how they were going to afford to send him to college. With the help of Elon’s donors and his family, especially his generous great-aunt, Wiggins’ college dream came true.

“It was through the generous spirit of my great-aunt that I learned that no one has to do everything, but we can all do something,” Wiggins said. “You never know what kitchen table conversation you can change with your gift. You never know who will be standing in front of you 23 years from now thanks to your leadership and generosity.

Through the Elon LEADS campaign, Elon is raising money to invest in graduate scholarships the world needs, engaged learning, faculty and staff mentors that matter, and Elon’s iconic learning environment. ‘Elon. Donations of any size to any designation made before December 31st count towards this historic campaign.

Elon LEADS will hit the road again in the fall. Keep up to date with campaign news, how you can donate and upcoming events in a city near you at www.elonleads.com.