“Together We Will Set the Next Horizon for Elon’s Destiny” promises Connie Book, president-elect of Elon University

By Ana Gabriela García

This morning, Elon students, faculty, staff and extended community woke up with the news that the search for the next president-elect had officially ended.

Before being named president-elect of Elon University, Connie Book distinguished herself on campus by leading the creation of the Student Professional Development, the Global Community. She also served as a presidential faculty fellow for strategic planning, which focused on the development of the Elon Commitment strategic plan and the department chair and associate dean of Elon’s School of Communication. Prior to being associate dean, she taught as a faculty member.

Fred Young, Elon’s seventh president, said before the event that he’s really excited about the new president.

“She brings exactly what we need at this school. I am excited to admire her work as I did president Lambert’s.” Young said, “It’s been a joy to watch him and admire his skill. A joy to see Elon progress and make a reality of dreams that were items on a wish list when I was here. I hope this is only the beginning.”

 “I am excited to admire her work as I did president Lambert’s. It’s been a joy to watch him and admire his skill. A joy to see Elon progress and make a reality of dreams that were items on a wish list when I was here. ”

– Fred Young

Connie broke the mold as being the first female Provost in the Citadel’s 175-year history, and as Elon’s first female president. The announcement of Connie’s induction was made this morning at 8 a.m. Despite the last minute announcement, the event had a large turn-out as senior staff and leaders in the Elon community, both former and current came early to see her speak.

During her time at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, she served as the Provost and Dean of the College, the school’s second-ranking official and was a tenured professor in the department of English.

Connie’s selection was unanimous, on both the part of the search committee and on part of the Board of Directors. Laurie Lambert, the wife of Leo Lambert, Elon’s current president, said that she’s really excited for the Elon community. “I think Connie is a great choice.”

“I think Connie is a great choice,” Lambert said.

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From left to right, current president Leo Lambert, president-elect Connie Book and former president Fred Young.

Vanessa Bravo, assistant professor of communications, was especially excited to see that Connie had been selected because she will be Elon’s first female president.

According to a 2011 report by the American Council on Education, only a quarter of college presidents are female.

“She has the academic background, is a great human being and knows Elon,” Bravo said. “I’m delighted that she’s going to be the new president.”

The Chair of Elon University’s Board of Trustees, Kerrii Anderson, said she believed the search committe met the expectations of the Elon community. These were  to look for an academic leader who is student-centered, has integrity, holds a global vision, will bring new resources and create a truly global community at Elon.

On her return to Elon, Book said,

“This is an exciting time for me and my family. I had a strong sense of coming home.”

Her sixteen years living and working at Elon are fondly remembered by her and her family. That was evident as she recounted anecdotes on how Elon had helped mold her children’s childhood and their interests. For instance, her daughter, Bella Book, attended her first lecture on feminism when she was 13 years old, something which she said  influenced her daughter’s studies and future life.

Near the end of her speech, Book addressed the entire Elon community, promising that,

“Together we will set the next horizon for Elon’s destiny.”

Leo Lambert said he has faith in Book, and presented her with a carved acorn.

“I give you this with our confidence that you have everything within you to be Elon’s might oak.”

“I give you this with our confidence that you have everything within you to be Elon’s might oak.”

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