Elon celebrates 117th Founders Day

Elon celebrated its 117th Founders Day on March 14 with special events honoring the career of Dr. Alonzo L. Hook, who spent 69 years on the faculty. Read this note for details of the day's events and an audio tribute to Dr. Hook....

Four generations of Hook’s descendants, more than 40 people, gathered for a special Founders Day College Coffee in Moseley Center. Three of Dr. Hook’s daughters, Irene Covington, Jeanne Harrell and Patricia Neal, cut a special commemorative cake. The winners of a special Founders Day trivia contest were also announced.

President Leo M. Lambert said that Elon honors Hook’s memory with the A.L. Hook Scholarship for science students, and the A.L. Hook Professorship, which is awarded to chemistry, math or physics faculty to support their scholarship and work with students. Also awarded is the A.L. Hook Scholar-Athlete Award to junior or senior athletes (male and female) who have the highest grade point averages.

Hook graduated from Elon College in 1913 and joined the faculty in 1914, teaching a variety of science and mathematics courses. He served as Dean of the College from 1922 to 1935 and again from 1956 to 1957. He was registrar from 1935 to 1955. Hook attended every Elon commencement from 1910 to 1982, and died on commencement day in 1983.

Featured speaker at the Founders Day event was Marvin Moss ’54, a noted physicist who was one of Hook’s students. Moss went on to earn a doctorate in physics, become a fellow with the Atomic Energy Commission and direct the Nuclear Arms Division of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency of the U.S. State Department. Moss was later provost at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and he continues to teach there as professor of physics and physical oceanography.

Moss credits Hook for getting him started on a rewarding career in science.

>>Listen to an audio recording of remarks by Moss…

Following the College Coffee, Hook’s family members went to McMicheal Science Center to see a new permanent display in his honor located in the building lobby.

More about Alonzo Hook

As a student, Dr. Hook was president of the senior class, curator of the college museum, manager of sports teams and a founder of PhiPsiCli, the yearbook. He constructed a crystal radio receiver with students in 1920 and operated the first college wireless station in North Carolina. He also installed the first movie projector in Whitley Auditorium in 1937.

As dean, Hook managed the college under emergency conditions following the fire of 1923 and supervised construction of Duke building. He obtained a pilot license in 1939 and led Elon’s Civilian Pilot Training Program throughout World War II.

Hook founded and served as president and commissioner of the North State Conference for athletics, and was elected the first member of Elon’s Sports Hall of Fame. He was also elected to the NAIA Hall of Fame. Hook attended every Elon football game from 1909 through 1982.

Hook attended every Elon commencement from 1910 to 1982, and died on commencement day in 1983.

In a 1974 interview, Hook talked about his philosophy in working with people.

Play his response>>

Hook also compared the students of the 1970s with students from the early part of the 20th century.

Play his response>>