On Friday, August 23, Elon welcomed the largest freshman class of more than 1,450 new students with excitement and anticipation. Dr. J. Earl Danieley, President Emeritus, is one man who embodies Elon and personally welcomed new students.
"I wouldn't miss this day for anything," Dr. Danieley said. "I love being here. I love meeting the people."
Dr. Danieley has had a major presence on Elon's campus for more than 60 years and showed his school spirit again this year by greeting families outside of the residence halls named after him.
"I think I've been coming here about 15 years." Danieley said.
Dr. Danieley proceeded to tell the story of how the name of the residence halls came to be.
"President Young was president of the college at the time and called me up and asked me could he have my permission to name the East campus, Danieley Center. I said, 'You can do that on one condition.' He said, 'Well what is that?' I said that you do it in honor of me and not in memory," Danieley said.
Incorporating humor and charm into his stories, Dr. Danieley smiled while recounting all of the previous students he met on their move-in days.
"You wouldn't believe how many of them, four years later, will say to me 'I remember you. I met you on move-in day!" Danieley said.
Meeting a variety of students from different backgrounds, Dr. Danieley welcomed them all not only to Elon, but also to the Danieley Center.
"Being down here and seeing people all the way from New Hampshire, from Florida, from California, and they come in and I say to these students, 'You're going to be living in Danieley!' and [they say], 'yes sir' and I say, 'Well, I'm Danieley!" he said.
With Elon's diverse history for the past 125 years, Dr. Danieley is celebrating the university's milestone with one of his favorite Elon traditions, planting trees.
"It makes so much difference in the quality of life to be able to sit in the shade of tree and I'm so excited that this year, when Elon will be 125 years old, one of the things we're going to do is plant 125 trees. Isn't that remarkable?" Danieley said.
Throughout Move-In Day, Dr. Danieley could be found outside of the Danieley Center with a smile on his face, supporting Elon's largest class as the new school year begins.