‘Long Maroon Line of Alumni’ celebrates Elon’s ninth president

Alumni, representing every decade of Elon graduates dating back to the 1930s, participated in the inauguration ceremony held for President Connie Ledoux Book.

Sixty-nine alumni participated in the 'Long Maroon Line' to support the inauguration of President Connie Ledoux Book.
Donned in maroon robes and commemorative medallions to mark the occasion, 69 alumni led the procession into Schar Center Thursday afternoon to support the inauguration of President Connie Ledoux Book and their alma mater.

Selected based on their ongoing commitment and involvement with the university, the alumni spent much of the day attending inauguration events held around campus, including an alumni luncheon, a special campus tour, a pop-up history display and community reception.

Many met President Book for the first time on Thursday and were excited to take part in such an important day in Elon’s history. “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Dr. Book,” said Renita Leak Webb ’04. “I am so happy to be a part of the inauguration of Elon’s first female president and such a phenomenal woman.”

Elon is where Meredith Citty ’14 grew into the teacher she is today, so participating in the Long Maroon Line means a lot to her.  

“I believe that being a part of the Long Maroon Line is a way that we can all celebrate the accomplishments that are achieved on this campus,” Citty said. “I’m excited to see how President Book continues to move Elon in a positive direction throughout her presidency.”

At age 100, Dr. Charles Kernodle, a member of the Class of 1938, led the line of alumni. After graduating, he served as a U.S. Army chief surgeon in Frankfurt, Germany, during World War II and then returned to Burlington, North Carolina, and established the Kernodle Clinic with his brother and cousin. For 35 years, he provided family health care. He also served as the football team physician for Williams High School in Burlington for nearly seven decades.

Kernodle, who began offering free physicals to Elon football players in 1949, was proud to be chosen to lead his fellow alums. “It’s an honor to be here at Elon,” he said. “I have always had a long association with Elon, especially athletics.”

Kernodle was the first person that Richard McGeorge ’71 warmly greeted when he arrived at Elon Thursday afternoon. McGeorge, a former Elon football and basketball player, was the 16th overall pick of the 1970 NFL draft and had a nine-year career with the Green Bay Packers. He’s come back to Elon several times since he graduated but supporting President Book at her inauguration was a definite highlight. “I’m excited and very proud for my family, for my friends and for Elon,” McGeorge said.

Tracey Walser Nugent '84 P'15, front center, said she 'takes such pride in Elon and its traditions.'
For many of the alumni, the opportunity to participate in the historic event was a “great honor,” said Ira “Ike” Credle ’83. “It makes me feel like my alma mater appreciates the genuine love I’ve demonstrated in promoting Elon as a premier institution for developing leaders in our global society over these last 35 years. I am proud to be an alumnus and honored to participate in this historic inauguration of a great leader like Dr. Book.”

When Nolan Elingburg ’11 G’12 was a student at Elon, he was able to experience a class with Book, who was associate provost of academic affairs at the time. “Dr. Book taught me at Elon and I could not be happier to see her become the first female president in school history,” he said. “Today is a great day for our Elon community and university, and I know there will be many more to come during Dr. Book’s tenure.”

Brian Feeley, director of alumni engagement, thanked the 69 alumni at a luncheon prior to the inauguration. “In all of the diverse ways we seek to better ourselves in concert with others, we are Elon,” Feeley said, quoting Chaplin Emeritus Richard McBride who retired in 2009. “Each of us honoring each other’s contributions to create and recreate the Elon that will live long.”

Philip Rodriguez '17 and Arielle Watkins '18 were the youngest alumni and at the end of the 'Long Maroon Line.'
For Feeley, that’s what the Long Maroon Line represents. “The collective spirit of we and what we will accomplish together,” he said.

Members of the “Long Maroon Line of Alumni”

Charlie Kernodle ’38 P’72
Mildred Johnson Erlacher ’49
Jim Drummond ’50
George Shackelford ’51
Phil Mann ’54
Mary Sue Colclough Mann ’55
George Nall ’56
Dick Simpson ’57
Don DeSarro ’58
Jim McCauley ’59
Don Blalock ’60 P’92
Glenda Isley Blalock ’61 P’92
Della Marie Vickers McKinnon ’62
Linda Clark Kelley ’63
Gail Hettel LaRose ’64
Bill Maness ’65
Nancy Turner Watson ’66
Sam Troy ’67
Bobbie Ippolito Morrison ’68
Sam W. Story, Jr. ’69
Wade Williamson ’70
Rich McGeorge ’71 P’00
David Moore ’72
Kathy Streeter Morgan ’73
Mark Smith ’74 P’07
Raymond Beck ’75
Daryl Ingold ’76

Dana Miller Hester ’77
Doug Cox ’78
Grayson Whitt ’79 P’08 P’09
King White ’80
Leon Proffitt ’81
Hunt Ward ’82 P’11
Ike Credle ’83
Tracey Walser Nugent ’84 P’15
Sue Hoggard Rich ’85
Darryl Smith ’86 P’21
Rick Barnes ’87
Patricia McDowell Brewer ’88 P’16
David Hibbard ’89
Karen Cain-Henderson ’90
Kathryn Frith Richardson ’91
Sallie Hutton Sistare ’92
John Denning ’93

Thad Gulliford ’94
Priscilla Awkard ’95
Trey Foy ’96
Rich Nowalk ’97
Lee Leckie ’98
Jenn Bonnell Nowalk ’99
Kristen Nastasia ’00
Charlie Cooper ’01

Joe Keener ’02
Christian Wiggins ’03
Renita Leak Webb ’04
Zack Pund ’05
Britten Ginsburg Pund ’06
Jeremy Allen ’07
Webb Bond ’08
Dorian Wanzer ’09
Brandon Helton ’10
Nolan Elingburg ’11 G’12
Hannah Wachtmeister ’12
Leslie Johnson ’13
Meredith Citty ’14
Allison Fox ’15
Sophie Ritter ’16
Philip Rodriguez ’17
Arielle Watkins ’18