Men’s Rugby at Elon

October 9, 2015

Emma Flaherty

Elon Men's Ruby team circa 1995. Photograph by

Elon Men’s Ruby team circa 1995. Photograph by Pendulum staff.

During Homecoming 2015 celebrations, Elon University’s men’s club rugby team is celebrating its 20th anniversary. However, the first mention of men’s rugby in the student-run newspaper, The Pendulum, came seven years before the team’s founding in 1995. In 1987, the men’s rugby team at Elon was a small organization under a parent team, the Dan-river rugby club based out of Danville, Virginia. Elon team members travelled to Virginia to practice with the Dan-river team and a few Elon students even played in several of Dan-river’s matches. Unfortunately, the Elon rugby team could not get a $400 fee to cover spring dues in 1987 from the college; after this news, the men’s rugby team disappears from The Pendulum until 1995.Throughout its history, the men’s rugby team has consistently overcome a lack of experience with the sport, primarily because many students had no previous exposure to rugby before joining the team. Older players on the rugby team have taken charge of teaching the new players the basics since 1995. Despite this obstacle, the team has won their divisional league title in 1997 and the North Carolina state tournament consecutively in 2008 and 2009. Just as the men’s rugby team has grown in skill and notoriety over the years, its fan base has also grown considerably since the team’s inception. The state championship match in 2008 was attended by over 400 Elon fans.One of the most notable records of the men’s rugby team comes from a series of articles in The Pendulum by freshman rugby player Jay Voelker. He provided a personal look at the men’s rugby team through his weekly article about his experiences as a new player on the team. Running from September 13, 2001 to November 15, 2001, Voelker’s series detailed an entire season of men’s rugby. This snapshot of the team displayed the incredible team unity which coincides with references to rugby over and over again.

For more information and to access the student newspaper online, check out

Rugby team fights to exist. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 2 December 1987. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Elon tackles rugby. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 2 March 1995. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Men’s rugby team, late 1990s. Photographs, EUA028. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Men’s Rugby wins league; falls one short of Sweet 16. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 8 April 1999. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

The rugby diaries: team limps into tourney. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 15 November 2001. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Successful memories spur on rugby team. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 24 September 2008. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Special Olympics at Elon

Betty Garrison
April 11, 2014

Special Olympics, 1995

Special Olympics, 1995

Elon and the Special Olympics have always had a special bond.  Elon College hosted the first state Games in 1972, just four years after the first national Special Olympics Games were held in 1968 at Soldier Field in Chicago.  Over the years, Elon has supplied thousands of volunteers, from those who plan the event to those who partner with an athlete for the day to all those who sit in the stands to cheer them on.  Each athlete is a winner and each receives a medal on the day they compete. Continue reading

The Literary Societies of Elon College

Randall Bowman
December 13, 2013

Clio Society, 1920s

Clio Society, 1920s

In 1913, the first yearbook was published at Elon College, the PhiPsiCli.  The name was derived from the three literary societies that existed at Elon during its early years; the Philologian, Psiphelian, and Clio Societies.  These three organizations were founded soon after the college opened its doors; like most college literary societies, they no longer exist. Literary societies were a mainstay of college life from the colonial era to the early twentieth century.  Often just called “societies,” they usually had names derived from either Latin or Greek.  Societies organized debates and social events, and members wrote original compositions such as essays, poetry, and music.   Since most college graduates were men who went into law, the ministry, or teaching, literary society activities supplemented the classical education students received.   Their debates gave members the chance to practice their oratory and rhetorical skills. Continue reading

Home Economics Maven with a Heart of Gold

Shaunta Alvarez
November 13, 2013

Edith Ruth Brannock ’39 received the Heart of Gold Award this year during Homecoming festivities. This lifetime achievement award was presented on behalf of members of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and its predecessor, Tau Zeta Phi, to a sister alumnus that has “motivated and inspired others to know the power of one heart touching another heart; that has led a life that has exemplified to others that selfless service is a noble virtue.” This was the second time the award was been presented. The inaugural presentation was in 2010 when the award was given to Dr. Jo Watts Williams ’55, Vice President Emerita.

One could say that service and dedication to the Elon community are in Edith Brannock’s blood, even going all the way back to Elon College’s very beginnings. Ms. Brannock is a descendant of Rev. James O’Kelly, founder of the Christian Church, which subsequently founded Elon College. Both of Edith’s parents were Elon graduates. Her father, Ned Faucette Brannock, graduated in 1899; and her mother, Loula York Brannock, graduated in 1898. Ned Brannock also served as the much-loved professor of chemistry at Elon for over 50 years. Following in her father’s example, Edith taught home economics at Elon for 18 years. Continue reading

Veterans Day: Remembering Elon’s First Fallen Hero

Shannon Tennant
November 11, 2013

We celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 because it marks the end of World War I, when hostilities formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.  The first Elon student to die in the service of our country did so during this conflict, nearly 100 years ago.  This Veterans Day, let us remember Charles N. Whitelock.


Continue reading

KCSL Celebrates 25 Years!

Julia Mueller
October 30, 2013


Lynne Wright Kernodle and her son, John Robert Kernodle III, cut the ribbon marking the dedication of the service learning center. Photo courtesy of Magazine of Elon, Spring 1997.

This academic year the Kernodle Center for Service Learning is celebrating its 25th anniversary! The Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement provides a variety of volunteer opportunities to students, faculty, and the community.  The goal is to promote leadership, student learning, and citizenship through community engagement. The Center for Service Learning was founded in 1988 when Habitat for Humanity was chartered at Elon College.  In 1989, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter promoted Habitat for Humanity during his visit to Elon.  In 1990, Elon Volunteers (EV!) was founded as a part of the Chaplain’s Office.  In 1992, the Center for Service Learning hired its first paid staff member, which was funded through a grant given to the college from the United Church of Christ.  The academic year from 1992-1993 were the first years that volunteer hours and number of volunteers were tracked.  The Service Learning Community was founded in 1994 along with the academic courses linked to service.  The “Call to Service” winter term course was first offered in 1996. Continue reading

Elon’s First Radio Station

Julia Mueller
May 3, 2013

1964 Radio Team

1964 Radio Team

  The concept of the radio was developed in the late 1800s, where electricity allowed wireless communication.  Elon College offered its first class about this new invention in 1922, which was described as experimental in nature.  The class was taught in conjunction with electricity, and students focused on the practical and theoretical operation of the radio.

Continue reading

Women’s History Month: Women’s Athletics at Elon in the 1980s-1990s

Julia Mueller
March 22, 2013

The 1999-2000 women's soccer team.

The 1999-2000 women’s soccer team.

The 1980s and 1990s at Elon was a time of great transition as the college sought to gain public recognition.  The student body profile, in addition to the alumni and faculty, was changing in that Elon became more engaged in academics, networking, and athletics.  This in part was due to the “Plan of the 90’s” that worked to increase the quality of Elon and develop programs.  In 1991, the South Atlantic Conference moved to NCAA Division II from the NAIA.  However, the Division II was considered “No Man’s Land,” and on June 17, 1996, Elon officials decided it was time to go to Division I in the NCAA.  Elon participated without conference affiliation for the first two years before joining the Big South Conference in 1999.

Most of the Elon sports teams struggled in Division I due to the increased competition, but in 1999, women’s soccer prevailed.  Coached by Paul Webster, the women were the third seed in the championship and defeated Liberty University in overtime.  The team won the Big South Tournament Championship, becoming the first program at Elon to go to a Division I NCAA postseason tournament.  According to the Magazine of Elon Winter 2000 issue, “junior midfielder Erin Morse earned first-team All Big South Conference honors and was named to the league’s All Academic Team.  Four Elon players were named to the All Conference second team, including junior sweeper Patricia Clark, sophomore midfielder MacKenzie Sisson, sophomore defender Erin Lautermilch and junior goalkeeper Sommer Cork.” Continue reading

Women’s History Month: Women’s Athletics at Elon in the 1960s-1970s

Julia Mueller
March 15, 2013

Women's Volleyball Team in 1975

Women’s Volleyball Team in 1975

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of different turning points in both American and Elon history.  The Vietnam War, the Civil Rights and women’s movements were just a few of the milestones that occurred.  This impacted women’s sports in various ways.  The Commission of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was soon recognized, and America faced a time of subsiding societal restrictions.  This in part was due to increased coverage of the Olympics, where women had been at least to some extent competing since the 1900 Paris Games.  Continue reading

Women’s History Month: Women’s Athletics at Elon in the 1940s-1950s

Julia Mueller
March 8, 2013

Women's Tennis Team in 1949

Women’s Tennis Team in 1949

“Archery for skill, volleyball for coordination, and riding for the figure is Elon’s way of turning out healthy, ‘well-rounded’ girls.” – Phi Psi Cli, 1953

World War II caused lasting impacts at Elon College, especially the changed role of sports for both men and women.  In 1942, men’s intercollegiate activities were temporarily abolished, and the soldiers stationed on campus used the gymnasium for training.  It was not until 1944 that sports became a part of Elon activities once again.  Due to the effects of the war, fitness became a more crucial factor in individuals’ lifestyles on local and national levels.  It was soon acceptable for women too to physically train to improve overall health and strength.  Continue reading