The late Jerry and Jeanne Robertson honored during tribute by humorists, Elon community

The Elon community gathered at Whitley Auditorium to pay tribute to two of Elon's most loyal benefactors, the late Jerry and Jeanne Robertson for a night of comedy and performances.

A night of laughter seemed to be the most fitting way to honor longtime benefactors of Elon University, Jerry and Jeanne Robertson P’89 GP’17 GP’22.

“Tonight, we celebrate the lives of two very special people who were the very definition of southern charm and downhome goodness,” President Connie Ledoux Book said during the Tribute to Jeanne & Jerry Robertson event at Whitley Auditorium on Thursday, Aug. 29.

Al McCree, Jeanne’s manager and promoter for more than 10 years, performing during the Tribute to Jeanne & Jerry Robertson event on Thursday, Sept. 29 in Whitley Auditorium.

Jerry and Jeanne, an Elon trustee, both passed away in late 2021 and during their lives, they both played a significant role in Elon’s growth since first becoming involved with the institution in the mid-1980s.

The Robertsons were honored with the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor, in 2017 at the 10th annual Night of the Phoenix for their distinguished service to athletics. The Robertsons had a lifelong interest in athletics (Jerry was the captain of Duke University’s 1959 basketball team) and they often invited student-athletes to their home for dinner.

They made several charitable contributions to athletic facilities on campus. Most notably, they provided a major gift to have the track and field facilities upgraded and the Jerry and Jeanne Robertson Track and Field Complex was named in their honor. The couple also made a lead gift for renovations to Alumni Gym.

“Thank you so much for making this a priority tonight to be here with us to celebrate the lives of Jerry and Jeanne Robertson, two great friends at Elon University, particularly in athletics,” said Dave Blank, director of athletics.

Tara Brown, winner of Jeanne’s Comedy with Class Humor Competition, performing during the Tribute to Jeanne & Jerry Robertson event on Thursday, Sept. 29 in Whitley Auditorium.

Jeanne was elected to the Elon Board of Trustees in 2003 and was a member of the board’s Campus Life and Athletics Policy committees. A celebrated humorist who performed “classy” comedy routines across the country, Jeanne was a regular fixture on SiriusXM radio and her YouTube channel with 376,000 subscriptions garnered millions of views.

Several of Jeanne’s comedian and entertainer friends performed at the tribute to honor Jerry and Jeanne: Patrick Henry, Al McCree, Jane Jenkins Herlong, Tara Brown, Debbie Childers and LaDonna Gatlin. Jeanne “Little Jeanne” Anderson, Jeanne’s niece, read a message of gratitude from Jerry and Jeanne’s son Beaver Bowline ‘89.

“Jeanne and Jerry were strong individuals with unique gifts and interests but together, they were a powerful force for good with hearts bigger than Alamance County,” Book said. “They were woven into the fabric of Alamance County, they were North Carolina through-and-through, they adopted Elon University and they were generous whenever we needed their help.”

Jerry and Jeanne Robertson in 2014 posing by the track that carries their name in recognition of their steadfast support of Elon athletics.