Photograph of the Suffolk Collegiate Institute discovered

Posted on: February 25, 2020 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: General Elon History, News from the Archives, Uncategorized

Every once in a while, an archive can yield a treasure that hasn’t been seen in many years.  Such is the case with a photograph that was recently found in the Elon University Archives & Special Collections.  The photograph is of the Suffolk Collegiate Institute, which along with Graham College was a forerunner of Elon College, now Elon University.  What is unique about this find is that it may be the only remaining photograph of the Institute, and it is the first time a photo of the institute has been seen in many years. Suffolk Collegiate Institute was founded in 1872 in Suffolk, Virginia, by the Eastern Virginia Conference of the Southern Christian Convention of the Christian Church.  W. B. Wellons, one of the Christian Church’s most influential figures of the time, was the school’s first president.  It was part of a movement within the Christian Church to establish denominational…

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“Black Studies Protests” Story Map

Posted on: November 8, 2019 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Uncategorized

On November 19, 1969, a group of students sent an open letter to the head of the Department of Social Sciences with three demands: the creation of a Black Studies course, the hiring of a Black faculty member, and the removal of a racist Elon professor. This story map collects material from books, newspapers, and additional archival records to ground the November 1969 open letter within the movement towards a Black Studies curriculum at Elon. You can find the online exhibit in the Archives’ Online Exhibit’s page, or on the Story Maps website (linked below). Black Studies Protests: Elon University’s Journey to an African and African-American Studies Program Sometimes archival research resists a linear narrative. Instead of telling a story chronologically, it becomes easier to communicate the importance of an event or a piece of evidence through a different starting point. The November 1969 open letter is one such example….

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“Lives from the Archives: Lithuanian Faculty at Elon” Story Map

Posted on: August 1, 2019 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Faculty and Staff, General Elon History

Between 1949 and 1978, three Lithuanian faculty taught in Elon’s Department of Languages and Department of History. Dr. Konstantinas Avizonis, Angele Avizonis, Dr. Kostas V. Cepas, and Lidija Cepas immigrated to the United States after World War II. A Story Map is a method of integrating text, pictures, documents, and maps to creatively showcase information. There are few (if any) limits to the topics one can engage with, and the blend of text and digital materials makes it great for archival research. With the Avizonis and Cepas’ travel across Europe and the United States, their story seemed particularly well-suited to the format. This story map showcases information from their lives, from their early education in Lithuania, to their displacement during World War II, to their careers at Elon College. Many of the documents, correspondence, and pictures are housed in the Elon University Archives. Make sure to click on the map…

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Elon College and the First World War, part 4: After the War

Posted on: November 8, 2018 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Faculty and Staff, General Elon History, National Events, Student Life, Student Publications

By Randall Bowman, Archivist and Assistant Librarian. In December 1918, the SATC unit at Elon was officially disbanded; members of the company were discharged, and the officers who had trained them departed just before Christmas, to be reassigned by the Army. In May 1919, at the end of the academic year, President Harper informed the Board of Trustees that the college was in debt due to the cost of housing the SATC unit.  The cost of hosting the company had exceeded the War Department’s payments to the college by $14,065.05 ($233,368.53 in 2017 dollars).  College officials reached a compromise with the U.S. Government that reduced the deficit to $4,896.86 ($81,249.13 in 2017), still a large sum of money for the small college. Over the course of the following year, things began to return to normal at Elon.  Many college activities that had been suspended during the war resumed; the PhiPsiCli…

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Elon College and the First World War, part 3: The SATC at Elon, 1918-1919

Posted on: November 7, 2018 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Alumni, General Elon History, National Events, Student Life

By Randall Bowman, Archivist and Assistant Librarian. In May 1918, the War Department formed the Student Army Training Corps (SATC).  Similar in many ways to the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), the SATC was created to encourage young men to attend college and receive military training at the same time.  Unlike ROTC, however, SATC members were not training to become commissioned officers.  Elon College became one of twelve colleges in North Carolina to qualify for a SATC unit; the Board of Trustees overwhelmingly approved plans to host the company, and the college administration began working with the War Department to prepare Elon to receive the unit for the fall semester 1918. As part of this preparation, a group of Elon students were chosen to attend a school for military instructors in Plattsburgh, New York, during the summer months of 1918.  A photograph published in the August 1918 issue of the…

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Elon College and the First World War, part 2: Patriotism at Elon, 1917-1918

Posted on: November 6, 2018 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Alumni, Campus traditions, Faculty and Staff, General Elon History, National Events, Student Life, Symbols

By Randall Bowman, Archivist and Assistant Librarian. As soon as the United States entered World War I, Americans began volunteering to enlist in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and the Red Cross.  Elon students were no exception to the patriotic fervor that swept the country.  On the very day war was declared, three Elon students volunteered for military service: W. F. Odom, William M. Horner, and Elvin Tuck.  Such enlistments soon had a visible effect on Elon’s campus; some members of the graduating class of 1917 were graduated in absentia since they were already in uniform.  This was possible because the faculty chose to give credit for courses to any male or female student whose studies were interrupted because they were serving. Elon College encouraged other ways of supporting the war effort; it was announced by the Board of Trustees that the college would give three…

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Elon College and the First World War, part 1: On the eve of The Great War

Posted on: November 6, 2018 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Academics, Campus buildings, Campus traditions, General Elon History, National Events, Student Life

By Randall Bowman, Archivist and Assistant Librarian. November 11, 2018, is the 100th anniversary of the cease-fire that ended World War I, often ironically called “The War to End All Wars.”  What was Elon like in the early years of the Twentieth Century, before this First World War? When William Allen Harper became Elon College’s fourth president in 1911, the school was very different from the university it is today.  In the fall of 1911, total enrollment for the college was only 234, although that was the largest enrollment since the school opened its doors in 1890.  Dr. Harper, then thirty-one years old, was an 1899 alumnus of Elon College, and the first graduate to serve as president.  He set out on an ambitious program to expand the school’s physical size, allowing for an increase in enrollment.  He was also determined to standardize and expand the curriculum.  In addition, Harper…

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A Brief History of Elon’s Winter Term Diversity Tradition

Posted on: January 24, 2017 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Uncategorized

Stephanie Hays Winter Term at Elon is used as a time for the university to focus on diversity by hosting sessions, lunches, and activities for students to engage in discussions about the different facets of diversity and how it impacts students’ lives. This year, the theme “The Difference Difference Makes” links together the events being held on campus, which celebrates human diversity. Elon started having themed Winter Terms in 2000, naming the first one “The Millenium” after the end of the 1900s and beginning of the 2000s. 2013 became the first Winter Term to have a theme of diversity, with the name of “Learn. Engage. Appreciate,” after making a commitment to diversity in its long-term plans. 2013 also saw the start of many different events and courses with ties to diversity, including the multi-faith lunch series, and multiple notable speakers. Every year since, Elon has continued the theme of diversity…

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Men’s Rugby at Elon

Posted on: October 9, 2015 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Athletics, General Elon History, Student organizations

October 9, 2015 Emma Flaherty During Homecoming 2015 celebrations, Elon University’s men’s club rugby team is celebrating its 20th anniversary. However, the first mention of men’s rugby in the student-run newspaper, The Pendulum, came seven years before the team’s founding in 1995. In 1987, the men’s rugby team at Elon was a small organization under a parent team, the Dan-river rugby club based out of Danville, Virginia. Elon team members travelled to Virginia to practice with the Dan-river team and a few Elon students even played in several of Dan-river’s matches. Unfortunately, the Elon rugby team could not get a $400 fee to cover spring dues in 1987 from the college; after this news, the men’s rugby team disappears from The Pendulum until 1995.Throughout its history, the men’s rugby team has consistently overcome a lack of experience with the sport, primarily because many students had no previous exposure to rugby…

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Elon College’s Finest Hour: Convocation with Lady Margaret Thatcher

Posted on: April 3, 2015 | By: belkarchives | Filed under: Academics, Cultural events, General Elon History

Julia Mueller April 2, 2015 On April 28, 1995, Lady Margaret Thatcher spoke at Elon College’s Spring Convocation. The theme of the event was academic excellence, community service, and philanthropy.  Lady Thatcher discussed the purpose of universities in her speech titled “The Challenges Facing the 21st Century” and encouraged individuality among students.  She was critical of communism, President Clinton, the separation of church and state, educational trends, and welfare.  While some in the audience disagreed with her political stances or thought the event was too political, many were impressed by the conviction of her opinions.   

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