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Historic ties

Descendants of two Elon presidents are among the members of the Class of 2005. Read this note to learn about graduates with ties to President Emeritus Danieley and President Harper...

President Emeritus Earl Danieley says it "feels very good" to see his grandson Jonathan Shutt of Charlotte graduate. "We were so pleased when he decided to come to Elon, but it seemed as if his time here was too short," Danieley said. "Any time he did well, I enjoyed it."

Shutt enrolled in two courses Danieley taught, chemistry for non-majors and the history of Elon class. "When I took the history class," Shutt recalls, "it was great, because so much of Elon's history is my family history. By listening to my grandfather talk, I was learning my own personal history … learning about myself and my family."

Shutt is a broadcast communications major who hopes to begin a career working in television. His younger brother enrolls at Elon next fall.

Also among the members of the Class of 2005 is Sarah Nicole Spence, the great-great-great niece of William A. Harper, Elon's president from 1911 to 1931. Among members of her family attending Commencement are her father, Jeff Spence and her grandmother Ruby Harper Spence, who recalls being with her "Uncle Will" when she was very young.

"He was a much beloved person and we were proud of everything he did," Ruby says.

Sarah says she enjoyed being on a campus that includes Harper Center and a portrait of her great-great-great uncle, which hangs in Whitley Auditorium (see photo). Harper is credited with rebuilding Elon College following the devastating 1923 fire that destroyed the main administration building. His vision for the campus led to the construction of Alamance, Mooney, Duke and Carlton buildings and Whitley Auditorium.

Jeff Spence says his daughter's time at Elon was very special. "To have her be educated and spend part of her life here is almost beyond words. I believe he (President Harper) would be quite impressed that another generation, beyond his time, would attend this college. He's paying attention up there, I'm sure."

Sarah is a business administration major. She and her family are from Jacksonville, Fla.

Dan Anderson,
5/20/2005 6:11 PM