Last week I went on the best walk of my life. Jeff Stern, Claire Esparros and I met with Dr. Danieley to talk about his life at Elon. I spent the afternoon listening to the most precious stories with the most precious man, and the result was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had as a journalist.
Being able to help preserve the history of this university was so empowering. Danieley has stories and information that are nowhere in textbooks or public records. He embodies the charm and passion of this institution, and the stories he tells need to be saved.
But somehow I can’t help feeling like I’ve done the community a disservice. How? Well sadly, I wasn’t able to get all of Danieley’s amazing anecdotes in print. I had almost four hours of interviews with him and Jo Williams to get through, and they had incredible insight—maybe even too much.
Williams described eating in the dining hall (that’s right, the dining hall. There was only one.) with friends. It was family style, with assigned seating. If you had a steady boyfriend, you were usually assigned to sit with him. And don’t forget to dress up—dinner was semi-formal every night. Where would you meet your handsome Elon fellow circa 1950? In Carlton, the library. According to Williams, that was the only place men and women were truly able to spend time together.
Can you imagine life at Elon before the Moseley center provided pizza at all times? How about living in Sloan when it only had one floor? This is the Elon that Danieley knew, loved and created. Seeing the university through his eyes was an invaluable experience that really made me think about our need to truly engage with our faculty members, mentors and friends.