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Hand grabbing an acorn from a basket.

Acorn and Oak

The tradition began in 1991 when alumnus Furman Moseley spoke to the graduating class. Moseley, a 1956 graduate of Elon College, incorporated his career in the timber business into his address by giving each alum a redwood sapling.

J. Fred Young, president of Elon from 1973 to 1998, decided to make the gifting of saplings a permanent tradition in 1992, but opted to give an oak sapling to connect with the school’s name — Elon is Hebrew for “oak.” When Leo M. Lambert became president in 1999, he built upon the tradition by giving each new student an acorn to symbolize the beginning of their college careers. Upon graduation, each graduate is still given an oak sapling to celebrate the growth they have experienced throughout their time at Elon and the growth they’ll encounter as lifelong learners.

“Long Live Elon”

Thad Eure was elected North Carolina Secretary of State in 1936 and served under 13 governors. He was a champion of common citizens and children, and insisted that the door to his office never be closed to the public. Eure had extensive family ties to Elon and joined the Board of Trustees in 1942. He had a booming voice and gave powerful speeches on campus, ending each with the pronouncement, “Long Live Elon!” Listen to Eure making one such pronouncement at the 2:05 mark of this video.

Close up of a pile of Elon honor coins inscribed with the four virtues - honesty, integrity, responsibility, and respect.

Honor Code

Every member of Elon University has the right to live and learn in an atmosphere of trust and support. Responsibility for maintaining these values in our community rests with each individual. Values that promote this atmosphere include:

  • HONESTY: Be truthful in your academic work and in your relationships.
  • INTEGRITY: Be trustworthy, fair and ethical.
  • RESPONSIBILITY: Be accountable for your actions and your learning.
  • RESPECT: Be civil. Value the dignity of each person. Honor the physical and intellectual property of others.

A group walking down a sidewalk as one person high fives the Phoenix mascot.

Go Phoenix!

The Phoenix became Elon’s mascot in 2000. It symbolizes Elon’s triumphant recovery from the 1923 fire and the university’s fighting spirit. Like the legendary Phoenix, which rises from its own ashes with new life and vigor, Elon was shaped by the fire, emerging as a stronger institution. It is a symbol of light, knowledge and everlasting vigor. It’s a powerful being and an emblem of hope.

Fight Song

Played to the tune of F. E. Bigelow’s march, “Our Director.”

So here’s to dear old Elon
Faithful and bold.
Here’s to her banner
Of maroon and gold.
And here’s to men and women,
Who’ve come and gone,
Singing the victor’s song of old Elon.

Dr. Danieley standing and waving his rally towel during a basketball game.

Rally Towels

The late J. Earl Danieley ’49 served as president of Elon College from 1957 to 1973, then as a professor in the chemistry department for many years before retiring in spring 2016. His Elon pride was evident every day, but his passion for Elon athletics was unmatched. For over 75 years, Danieley was one of Elon basketball’s most dedicated fans. In 2008, after being voted into the Elon Athletics Hall of Fame, at the under-8-minute media timeout the student section started chanting “Doc-tor Dan-ieley.” In response, Danieley stood up and waved. At the next game, the students chanted again, and this time Dr. D stood and waived a small white towel at the crowd. A new tradition had begun.

Although Dr. D passed away during the 2016 basketball season, Elon fans continue to waive white rally towels at many of athletic competitions and celebrate his legacy. Listen to Dr. D share this story at the 5-minute mark of this video.

The Alma Mater

Singing the Alma Mater is an important Elon University tradition. Since it was written in 1998, Elon students and alumni have sung these lyrics at formal ceremonies, athletic contests and major events. Singing the Alma Mater, which is Latin for “fostering mother,” serves as a unifying experience to express affection for Elon and a reminder of the many things that make Elon University a special place.