Elon ‘E’ uncovered

Pam Richter – Class of 2011
August 6, 2010

Commencement under the oaks, receiving an acorn at freshman convocation and ultimately receiving a sapling at graduation are just a few of the traditions Elon prides itself on. But there may be one long-standing tradition that ended at Elon that people aren’t as familiar with: the tradition of the Elon “E”.

A cheerleader in the 1960s wearing the Elon "E".

When athletics were first adopted at Elon College in the early 20th century, there were strict guidelines for students to be eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics. According to The Fighting Christians book by James Waggoner, the first set of rules and regulations that were adopted in the 1910-1911 academic year, appeared in the Elon College Weekly. Rule number 7 stated: “The athletic initial ‘E’ shall be awarded in the spring of each year to those students who have played in 80 percent of the intercollegiate games of the year of any one sport, such as tennis, basketball and baseball, and no other student shall be entitled to wear the initial letter.”

In May of 1911, the Board of Trustees authorized the awarding of the block ‘E’ monograms to those students who met the participation criteria for the first time in school history. During those first years of athletics at the college, there was anywhere from eight to 10 rules published regarding athletics. Another example included: “A student having as many as 10 demerits against his record is thereby debarred from participation as a player.”

While this tradition of athletes receiving the Elon ‘E’ spanned several decades, the exact end date to this tradition is unknown. According to Elon College, Its history and traditions, author Durward T. Stokes writes that when this tradition was enacted it “constituted another ‘first,’ and was the beginning of a custom still practiced by the institution” when the book was published in 1982.

In October 2009, the theme for homecoming was “wear your maroon.” On various publications for the event, pictures of the Elon ‘E’ on different sweaters were published.

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