In Honor of Mom: Credle family comes together to support scholarship

Elon alumnus Ike Credle '83 and his four brothers have joined forces to ensure the scholarship that honors their mother, Rebecca, can be awarded immediately.

Four years ago, Ike Credle ’83 decided to honor his mother, Rebecca, for all the sacrifices she made so he could enroll at Elon and earn his degree. He made an estate gift that in the future will endow The Rebecca A. Credle Scholarship for Study Abroad and provide life-changing global learning opportunities for students with financial need.

Watching his mother age inspired the retired U.S. Army major to fast-track the impact of the scholarship. Last fall, he began making annual gifts to the university to enable the scholarship to be awarded immediately.

“My mother was honored knowing a scholarship would be named in her honor when she leaves this earth, and I thought it would be nice if she could see the impact now and meet the person receiving the award,” he said.

The Elon alumnus didn’t stop there. He asked his four brothers to join him in making annual gifts to the scholarship, and without hesitation, they did.

“Even though they graduated from different institutions, we were all in agreement and supported this idea,” Ike said. “Without my brothers, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I wanted them to be part of it. We call Elon ‘the family.’”

Rebecca Credle, 85, was touched to learn her sons had honored her in this way.

“I was grateful and proud because God has blessed them, and they want to try and help someone else,” she said. “It’s just a blessing.”

Banding together for each other — and their mom — is nothing new to the Credle boys, who understand what it means to work hard and persevere through challenges.

“My mother raised five boys in a trailer in eastern North Carolina and because of her sacrifices, all of us are college graduates,” Ike said. “My family could not afford to send me to college, but we had a system that once you left the nest, each brother would reach back and lift the other person up.”

His brother Joseph Credle helped him fill out the paperwork for financial aid, which made his Elon education possible.

“We recognize the value of this scholarship and that it represents what Mom stands for,” Joseph said. “She gave us the tools and guidance but also the love and appreciation that we would always look out for one another. It was something paid forward in her life and is what we try to instill with our kids.”

For Rufus Credle, supporting the scholarship is his way of thanking his mother for keeping their family together while growing up in New Bern, North Carolina.

“I thought about how our Mom struggled as a single parent in the ’60s,” Rufus said. “She had every intention of keeping her boys together. She did allow us to go for a short time to live with an aunt or uncle, and I really appreciated her for giving us the chance to go out into the world and experience things. But she always made sure we came home.”

Rebecca P’83 and Ike Credle ’83 on Elon’s campus in 2020.

Rebecca also nurtured in her sons a love for learning and insisted each of them graduate from college.

“Our whole family history is about furthering one’s education and supporting those ideals for our community,” Rufus said. “To be able to do this at a great university like Elon and make it possible for students to study abroad is awesome.”

Kimball Credle agrees, adding how proud their family is that their grandmother worked as an educator after graduating in the 1930s from then-Elizabeth City State Teachers College.

“The scholarship at Elon adds to the legacy of both women,” Kimball said. “It’s the culmination of all the work she has done for us and the ethics she has instilled in us.”

“I think she couldn’t be more proud than she is of her boys,” added Ike. “We make it our business to make sure she’s happy because she’s made so many sacrifices for us.”

Rebecca has high hopes for the scholarship that bears her name.

“Young people need to get their education and remember that somebody along the way was there to help them,” she said. “Maybe that same young person who receives this scholarship can do the same thing for someone else.”

About the donors

Ike Credle, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, retired from the military in 2003 following a 20-year career in the U.S. Army and later served as a senior training specialist for the Army. One of Elon’s most devoted donors, Ike has given back to his alma mater for nearly four decades. He was a co-founder of the Black Alumni Scholarship and together with his wife, Sharron, has made annual gifts to support the scholarship, along with the Phoenix Club, Gospel Choir, women’s basketball and Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, where he earned his degree in history. The couple are members of the 1889 Society and Order of the Oak, which recognizes donors who make estate and other planned gifts to Elon.

Joseph Credle, of Joilette, Illinois, works at Liberty International Underwriters and graduated from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh; Marvin Credle, of Upper Marlboro, is an IT principal consultant at Guidehouse International and is a graduate of N.C. State University; Rufus Credle, of Garner, N.C., is retired from the Navy and IBM, where he worked for 37 years, and graduated from St. Augustine’s University; and Kimball Credle, of Atlanta, served in the Army and worked for 33 years at the Centers for Disease Control and graduated from N.C. A&T State University.

Make An Impact

To learn how you can make an impact at Elon through estate and other planned gifts, contact Brian Feeley ’03, assistant vice president for university advancement, at (336) 278-7474 or