Glimpsing Elon University

As we drove through North Carolina, we learned that in many ways this state is similar to Massachusetts (e.g., mountains to the west, ocean to the east), if a tad bit warmer or at least more temperate. Many high school graduates must agree, as 10 percent of the students at Elon University hail from Massachusetts, second only in numbers to North Carolina itself. The rest of the student body is from another 46 states, D.C., and 47 nations. Located in the town of Elon, the campus is just 25 minutes from Greensboro and another 40 minutes to Chapel Hill.

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Once on Elon’s campus, we parked the car and walked around noting the new buildings and construction interspersed among older buildings on the 620-acre historic campus (Elon was founded in 1889). Though quiet when we visited (just days after Christmas), the campus accommodates 5,500 undergrads and 700 graduate students.

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Elon emphasizes community service and sends many of its students abroad while offering over 60 undergraduate majors in the areas of arts and sciences; education; health sciences; and law in addition to dual degrees in business and engineering.

At Elon, there are 17 intercollegiate sports (NCAA Division I), 40 intramural and club sports, over 200 student organizations, and 23 international fraternities and sororities. While its students are active, Elon stresses its academic environment.

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According to Elon’s mission statement, the school “embraces its founders vision of an academic community that transforms mind, body and spirit and encourages freedom of thought and liberty of conscience.”

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Trip taken December 2013.

Driving By James Madison University

We did not intend for our winter southern road trip to be a college tour, even so, with teenagers in the car, we made a point to drive by a few college campuses. We were curious enough to want to catch a glimpse and close enough that the detours did not interfere with our ambitious schedule. James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Pennsylvania, was our first drive by.

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Disclaimer – we did not take a campus tour or sit in on an information session. The schools were quiet; their students home for winter break.

Situated in the Shenandoah Valley, James Madison’s 640-acre campus is surrounded by mountains and farmland and is conveniently located off Interstate 81, just 2 hours south of D.C. Its slightly less than 20,000 students (1,800 of them are grad students) have a choice of 71 majors and 34 masters in the areas of business; communications; education; health and behavioral studies; humanities and social sciences; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and visual and performing arts.

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James Madison has a Division I football team and according to an alumni survey, homecoming and football are among the top 10 things about the school.

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According to its website, James Madison University is about “spirit, tradition, community,” while “changing the world one person at a time.”

Trip taken December 2013.