Campus traditions are an essential part of our history and community. These traditions bring our campus community together; from the friends you see every day to the friendly faces of faculty and staff you recognize from your time around campus. They showcase our Blue Jay pride and our students look forward to them all year long. There are numerous official (and unofficial) traditions to help you connect to campus.
The College Motto & Seal
"Educate for Service" first appeared on a slate board in 1915 on the chapel wall in Rider Memorial Hall. Years later, the trustees officially adopted the phrase as the College motto. "Educate for Service" expresses our belief that the pursuit of knowledge is most noble when used to benefit others.
The seal of Elizabethtown College evolved during the early years of the College. It appeared in its present form as an illustration on the cover of the Elizabethtown College Bulletin in 1928. The seal incorporates the Lamp of Learning, the College motto "Educate for Service", and the words Deus Lux et Veritas. It is used on official College documents.
The Blue Jay
From the Grey Ghost to the Blue Jay, Elizabethtown College's beloved mascot has assumed many identities over the years. Even with the change, the students and alumni keep the spirit and love of the College alive for over 100 years.
In the 1930s Etown basketball players were called the “Galloping Grey Ghosts.” In 1945-1946 the college held a competition to name all the athletes and teams. The student body voted to adopt the Blue Jay as its new mascot. In 1950 C. Frederick Horbach, History major, class of 1953 and president of the Student Senate designed the Blue Jay Mascot. The Blue Jay mascot is officially named 'Blue'.
Our unofficial mascot Conrad (C-Jay for short) is a rescued blue jay (bird). In 2014 he was resuced and found a new home at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove in March 2016. Because he has spent so much time with humans, Conrad will never be able to successfully forage for food or defend himself against predators in the wild.
Etown has gathered a number of informal traditions that help make our campus a unique and welcoming place. These traditions help form our Etown family and promote the community values that we stand and live by.
Our 10th President, Dr. Morley J. Mays noted his preference for carrot cake and made it synonymous with hospitality at Etown. Prospective families of the 1970s were always given a piece of Etown carrot cake to take home. The tradition lives on and Carrot Cake has remained an ever-present feature at numerous campus events, a piece of cake still goes home with every prospective student to this day.
Induction, Convocation, Baccalaureate, Commencement, and Homecoming
Here at Etown we celebrate our students along every step of their journey. Induction, Convocation, Baccalaureate, Commencement, and Homecoming are our largest institutional events, and they are instrumental parts of our student's education.
- Our Induction Ceremony is a memorable event held annually in the fall inside Leffler Chapel and Peformance Center. This candlelight ceremony and procession is part of the new student orientation program . It signifies the official entrance of the new class into the College community.
- Our Convocation Ceremony marks the start of the academic year. The ceremony is held in the Dell and includes an academic procession of faculty members and administrators in regalia and an address by the president of the College or a guest speaker.
- Our Baccalaureate Service is planned annually by the senior class officers. This candlelight service held in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center the night before commencement celebrates the past four years and the graduation of the senior class. The service includes reflections from graduating seniors and the passing of the flame from the senior class to the junior class officers.
- Our Commencement Ceremony is held in the Dell at the end of the spring semester. The ceremony includes an academic procession of faculty, administrators, trustees, the 50th-reunion class, and graduates in regalia. Honorary and earned degrees are conferred by the President of the College.
- Our Homecoming and Family Weekend takes place in the fall. Alumni return to their alma mater and parents of current students spend time on campus. Weekend activities include nationally known performers, sporting events, the presentation of the Homecoming King and Queen, social events, academic department reunions, picnics and dinners and a parade which runs down College Avenue.