President Fred Young chose the tune, a 1267 medieval hymn titled “Gaudeamus Igitur” and popular academic song in many European countries, which he discovered while on a trip abroad. David Bragg, a member of Elon’s music faculty, tapped his neighbor to write the lyrics. William D. Ellis was a poet, retired school teacher and father of an Elon alumna. The Alma Mater harkens back to the strengths of this educational community as it celebrates our foundation as a co-educational institution, our location among the oak trees on an elevated portion of land under beautiful blue skies, and our calling to strive for a better or nobler future.
Sons of Elon, daughters too,1 Bring their praise and homage true. In thy keeping there will be Words and deeds to honor thee. Harken to the song they’re singing, And the loyalty they’re bringing. Alma Mater, they will cherish thee; Alma Mater, they will cherish thee.
Proud, the oak trees on thy hill2 Offer shade and shadow still. Green the fields around thee lie; Blue the Carolina sky. Stately rise the hall of learning, Toward their portals we are turning. Alma Mater, we will cherish thee; Alma Mater, we will cherish thee.
Elon, ever lead us on To a bright and happy dawn; Teach us still to love and pray,3 Guide us to a nobler day. Joyous music lies before us, Memories to swell the chorus. Alma Mater, we will cherish thee; Alma Mater, we will cherish thee.
1 Unlike most institutions in 1889, the first line of our Alma Mater celebrates the fact that Elon has always been co-educational.
2 Although it may be difficult to see given the physical growth of campus, Elon’s campus is built on a hill with the highest point near the Moseley Center.
3 Elon University was originally founded with the United Church of Christ. Although that relationship is now less formal, our historical ties are evident in our commitment to embracing all members of the Elon community.