The longtime friend and supporter of the university died June 7 after a long illness.
Jerry Robertson, a generous and dedicated parent and friend of Elon University, died June 7 at the age of 83. Robertson was the husband of Elon trustee Jeanne Robertson. The couple received Elon Medallions in 2017 in recognition of their distinguished service to the university, with a special focus on Elon athletics, over many years.
“We are heartbroken at the passing of our friend, Jerry, and grateful for his life and the passion he had for Elon students,” said Elon President Connie Book. “Jerry and Jeanne have been tireless and generous advocates for our student-athletes that they took the time to know and support on a personal level. They also provided transformational gifts to the university that truly made a difference in the daily lives of Elon students.”
A Burlington, N.C., native, Jerry Robertson received his master’s degree and doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was an educator and school principal and later worked in business.
In his undergraduate years, Robertson was captain of the 1959 Duke University men’s basketball team. With a lifelong interest in athletics, Robertson could often be seen talking to Elon players about the game and their experiences on the court and beyond. He and Jeanne would frequently host dinners at their home to welcome students to Elon, make them feel at home and build a culture of community support.
“Elon Athletics has lost one of its longest and most loyal supporters in Jerry Robertson,” said Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank. “He touched the lives of our coaches and student-athletes in very meaningful ways, including his consistent presence at so many games. If Elon was playing and Jerry was in town, he was there. We will miss Jerry very much and are forever grateful to both Jerry and Jeanne for all they have done to support Elon athletics.”
The Robertsons began their association with Elon athletics in the mid-1980s, faithfully attending games, contributing to the program and supporting multiple scholarships and helping grow campus facilities. In 2007, the Robertsons were honored with the Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award in recognition of their exemplary leadership and support of Phoenix athletics. In 2010 they made a lead gift to fund renovations of Alumni Gymnasium where Elon’s basketball and volleyball teams competed.
In 2014 the university named the Jerry and Jeanne Robertson Track and Field Complex in their honor following their gift to fund improvements of the facility. The Robertsons also made gifts to honor former Elon athletics director Alan White and his wife, Norma. The Dr. Alan and Norma White Field at the track complex, and the Alan J. White Bell Tower adjacent to the football, baseball and soccer stadiums were named by the Robertsons in recognition of the Whites’ service to Elon.
The Robertsons contributed to the construction of Schar Center, which opened in 2018, and the main basketball court there is named Robertson Court in recognition of their gifts to help fund that facility, along with their contributions to renovate Alumni Gym.
In addition to their support of Elon athletics, the Robertsons have been consistent donors to many other university projects and priorities, always with a primary focus on students and their success.
Jerry and Jeanne Robertson’s son, Bailey “Beaver” Bowline is a 1989 Elon graduate. Their grandson, Ryder Bowline, graduated in 2017, and their grandson, Gray Bowline, is a current Elon student.