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Elizabethtown Traditions

College Motto: "Educate for Service"

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.

College Medallion

Worn by the president at Commencement and other formal ceremonies, the College Medallion was handcrafted by Lancaster County native Valerie Jo Coulson of silver, gold and stone inlay from one piece of petersite. The medallion incorporates the Lamp of Learning, the words Deus Lux et Veritas, the College motto "Educate for Service," and the founding year (1899) of the institution.

College Seal

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

The Blue JayIn the late 1930s, upon the recommendation of Ira R. Herr, the student body selected the "Blue Jay" as the name for the College athletic teams. The Blue Jay was chosen because of its blue and gray coat and, most importantly, because of the nature of this fighting, scrappy bird. Later, the Blue Jay became the College mascot.


The Alma Mater

Jennie Miller Via, former head of the music department, wrote the alma mater in 1921 for the College Male Quartet.

We hail thee alma mater dear,
As now we sing thy praise;
O let thy walls and storied halls
Resound with endless lays.

The strong and fair alike do share
The labour of thy hand;
Together they proclaim always
Thy glory through the land.

As long as breezes 'round thee blow,
And countless ages roll,
May Heaven's blessings on thee rest,
While we thy name extol.


We love thy sons so noble,
Thy daughters fair and true;
We love thee ever, oh E.C.
And thy colors Gray and Blue.

New Student Induction Ceremony

A memorable event in the fall, 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.


This annual event marks the start of the academic year. The ceremony normally includes an academic procession of faculty members and administrators in regalia and an address by the president of the College or a guest speaker.

First-Year Walk

One of the highlights of fall orientation, the First-Year Walk is intended to help new students get acquainted with one another. Walking three-abreast around campus and the surrounding community, students move forward or backward in line by answering trivia questions. This unusual and well-remembered event is sponsored each year by Student Senate.


At the end of the spring semester, Commencement is held in The Dell. 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.


Planned by seniors, this service is held the evening prior to Commencement.

Homecoming/Family Weekend

During Homecoming Weekend in the fall, alumni return to their alma mater and parents 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 flea market on the Midway.

TGIS Weekend

In April, "Thank Goodness It's Spring" Weekend celebrates the arrival of spring. The weekend includes outdoor games, activities and musical performances.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Prior to the Thanksgiving break, the College's Dining Services staff prepares a holiday feast for students, which is served by members of the faculty, staff and administration and College alumni.

Into the Streets

In keeping with the College's "Educate for Service" motto, students, faculty and staff go "Into the Streets" of surrounding communities to perform service-learning projects during one weekend every fall. Members of the campus community paint walls in public parks, rake leaves for senior citizens, clean up local creeks and teach children a variety of skills, such as surfing the Internet, speaking a foreign language, etc.

The Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall of Fame

Alumni who have distinguished themselves in intercollegiate athletics at Elizabethtown College are eligible to be inducted into the Ira R. Herr Athletic Hall of Fame. The annual induction typically takes place at the Blue Jay Athletics Alumni Reunion in May. Ira Herr (1894–1986) was the first coach and athletic director at Elizabethtown.

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About Elizabethtown College

About Elizabethtown College

Our commitment is to Educate for Service, discover how that has/and will continue to shape our history.
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Our students received about $26.2 million in institutional scholarships and grants during the 2010-2011 academic year.
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