Founded in 1889, Elon University is a private, four-year university with a beautiful campus and a historic past. The 620 acre campus in Elon, North Carolina is a designated botanical garden. It supports a student body of about 6,000, and the university maintains a healthy student / faculty ratio of 13 to 1 and an average class size of 21. The teaching at Elon is highly praised, and 21 percent of undergraduates annually work on research projects with faculty. Elon was ranked the #2 Southern university "with a strong commitment to teaching" and the #1 up-and-coming Southern University among 46 top-tier institutions by U.S. News and World Report.