Skip to main content

Presidential Records Collection

Identifier: EUA145

Scope and Contents

This partially processed collection contains papers from the Office of the President; including President Smith, Danieley, Young, and Lambert. The files contain information pertinent to the presidency and its duties.


  • 1931-1989


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is closed. Please contact the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

The nature of the Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of Belk Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research of otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical / Historical

To date this collection contains papers of the Presient's Office including; Smith, Danieley, Young, and Lambert.

Leon Edgar Smith 1931-1957 A 1910 Elon College graduate, Dr. Leon E. Smith was the longest-serving and one of the most influential presidents in the college’s history. His dedication to Elon and his business-minded leadership saved the institution from financial collapse. Smith carried Elon College through the Depression, three campus fires, World War II and the Korean War. Smith was the 1950 recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award and oversaw the construction of a new campus gymnasium that same year. Throughout the 1950s, he continued to improve Elon’s programs, opening a night school, building new residence halls and growing enrollment. Before his retirement in 1957, Smith became the first president in Elon history to be honored with the title of president emeritus.

James Earl Danieley 1957-1973 A native of Alamance County, Dr. J. Earl Danieley has dedicated half a century to the growth and improvement of Elon and the surrounding community. A 1946 Elon graduate, he received graduate degrees in organic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and conducted post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins University. Beginning his career as a chemistry instructor at Elon, Danieley served from 1953 to 1956 as dean of the college before being named president of Elon in 1957. He stepped down in 1973 to dedicate the next years of his life to teaching. Danieley was elected to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 1983 and served in that capacity for 12 years. In 1987, Danieley agreed to reduce his teaching hours in order to serve as Elon’s director of planned giving in the development office, a position he held until 1992. In that year he was named president emeritus of the college. Dr. Danieley continued to teach classes as a member of the faculty of the Department of Chemistry until his retirement in spring 2016. He died on Nov. 29, 2016, at the age of 92.

James Fred Young 1973-1998 Dr. J. Fred Young has spent a lifetime striving for educational excellence in Alamance County. A native of Burnsville, N.C., Young was educated at Mars Hill College, Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Columbia University. In 1973 Young was named the seventh president of Elon College and served until 1998, making him one of the longest-serving presidents in Elon history. During the 25 years of his tenure, the college more than doubled enrollment to 3,685 and became one of the premier undergraduate institutions on the Eastern seaboard. New academic offerings included masters programs in business administration, education and physical therapy; a new general studies program; and new majors including communications, computer systems, sports medicine and leisure/sport management. The Elon campus expanded from about 145 acres to more than 500 acres during Young’s presidency. Facilities construction and renovation included additions of the Center for the Arts; The Koury Center for athletics and physical education; the Moseley Center for campus activities; the Story Center, Jordan Center and East Campus residence hall complexes; and the McMichael Science Center. Groundbreaking was held for the Carol Grotnes Belk Library, and Young also began planning and fundraising for Rhodes Stadium. Dr. Young has been named President Emeritus by the Elon Board of Trustees.

Leo Michael Lambert 1999-2018 More information on President Emeritus Lambert

In 19 years of service as Elon University’s eighth president, Leo M. Lambert led implementation of two ambitious strategic plans – NewCentury@Elon and the Elon Commitment – that created a model for the modern liberal arts university. During Lambert’s presidency, applications for undergraduate admission doubled, enrollment grew from 4,000 to more than 6,700, and full-time faculty numbers increased from under 200 to 425. During this period of growth, student academic credentials increased, average class sizes dropped and the student-faculty ratio decreased from 16-to-1 to 12-to-1. Nationally accredited schools of communications, education, health sciences and law were established and Elon gained a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, achieving the highest standards of quality in the arts and sciences. Lambert increased resources for faculty and supported development of the Elon teacher-scholar-mentor model. Elon established the Center for Engaged Learning and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and consistently received top rankings for excellence in undergraduate teaching. Elon maintained a position as one of the nation’s best values in private higher education under Lambert’s leadership, quadrupling the university’s endowment to $230 million with a priority on funding increased student financial aid. During Lambert’s presidency, the number of endowed scholarships more than doubled; he led completion of the record-setting $107 million “Ever Elon” campaign and made endowed scholarships a central goal of the “Elon Leads” campaign. More than 100 buildings were added to Elon’s iconic campus during Lambert’s tenure, creating one of the nation’s finest environments for learning. During his presidency, Lambert awarded more than 22,000 Elon diplomas, 54 percent of the degrees conferred since the first graduating class in 1891. Dr. Lambert has been named President Emeritus by the Elon Board of Trustees.


174 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection is a compilation of papers from each of Elon's presidents, from President Smith to President Lambert. It includes papers that are relevant to the time in which each person held the presidency and the events around the college and the world. Many of them include correspondence from various people connected to the town of Elon or the college itself, and the business they conducted. The collection only includes a rough inventory of the collection.


This collection is arranged by President, then grouped by date and then alphabetical by topic or correspondent.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Unknown. Materials collected and assembled over many years to form collection.

Related Materials

Please consult with the Archivist and Special Collections Librarian for additional information about related materials to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Juliana Siler.

Juliana Siler
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Belk Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

100 Campus Drive
2550 Campus Box
Elon North Carolina 27244 USA