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‘A glorious ride’

Dr. J Earl Danieley still has his wits about him. That’s for sure. Today, during his convocation “conversation” with current President Leo Lambert, Dr. Danieley incited laughter, smiles and memories as he recounted his 70 years with Elon.

Courtesy of elon.edu

President Emeritus J. Earl Danieley with Elon President Leo M. Lambert. Courtesy of elon.edu

The comedic moments:

  • When Dr. Danieley said, “I took a job at the high school teaching chemistry. And (laughs) french! I can hardly ParlezVous!”
  • On the conception of study abroad programs at Elon: Upon every professor’s inquiry to take his or her class on a trip during winter term, Dr. Danieley said, “sounds good to me!”
  • Leo Lambert: So tell me how chemistry has changed over the last 70 years. [Dr. Danieley told a story for nearly 5 minutes] Leo Lambert: But you still haven’t told me about how chemistry has changed! Dr. Danieley: Oh yes! Wait, I have to tell you one more thing first!
  • Dr. Danieley: I remember all my teachers, 1st, 2nd, “Oh, I loved my 3rd grade teacher, she was a beauty!”

The insightful moments:

  • Dr. Danieley’s storytelling: I counted at least seven, detailed, enthusiastic stories.
  • When asked, “Why do you love teaching?” he responded, “Being involved in the lives of young people is probably the noblest calling a person can respond to.”
  • Dr. Danieley’s thesis: There is no more remarkable story in all the history of higher education than this institution.
  • On his time at Elon: “It’s been a glorious ride…I’m so happy.”

The telling moments:

  • The audience was invited to join in singing the last verse of Elon’s alma mater at the start of the ceremony. Dr. Danieley sang along with the choir for all four verses without missing a lyric. His mental energy and school spirit is astonishing.
  • After struggling with history and algebra, Dr. Danieley tried his hand at chemistry. His advice? “Stick to it! If you allow some little thing to deflect you and get you off the road, you will be a failure…I have no doubt about that.”
  • Someone once said to Dr. Danieley, “If you can’t go to college, go to Elon.” Dr. Danieley used it as his motivation to build.

A special moment: In honor of Dr. Danieley’s upcoming 90th birthday in July…

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