Lake Mary Nell and the 40-pound fish

Pam Richter – Class of 2011
April 29, 2010

As the trees (and pollen) are in full bloom across Elon’s campus, more students enjoy sitting by Elon’s Lake Mary Nell. While many students today see it as a place to study or to catch some rays, it also has a unique history.

Lake Mary Nell and the Fine Arts Center in the 1990s.

In 1985, it was named in recognition of a gift from Maurice Jennings and the Gordon-Jennings family. The group pledged $100,000, according to an article in the Magazine of Elon, to the Fine Arts Center in honor of Mary Nell Jennings, the daughter of Maurice and Patricia Gordon Jennings.  Maurice is a 1957 Elon graduate and the founder of Biscutville.

Most recently, the lake has been home to the Polar Bear Plunge. The event that began in January 2004, has students dive into the lake during the middle of January to collect prizes in the water.

But most students who embark in the Polar Bear Plunge may not realize what type of fish make their home in the lake. For an Elon freshman in 1987, he was unaware of this as well.

In February 1987, Joel Newfang caught a 40-pound carp out of Lake Mary Nell. At the time it was believed that it was the largest fish caught in the lake. Newfang named the fish Theodore. Newfang began charging people a penny to see him, before he ultimately released him back into the lake.

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2 thoughts on “Lake Mary Nell and the 40-pound fish

  1. Nice picture. I applied to Elon for college and toured it in 1993 during my senior year in high school. This looks just like I remember! 🙂

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