Impromptu dedication honors Whites
Jennifer Guarino -
                                                   September 5, 2002

Since November, loyal Elon athletics supporters Jerry and Jeanne Robertson have kept a secret. The donors of the new field at Irwin Belk Track announced at College Coffee Tuesday that their gift was not in honor of Jeanneís father, but Athletics Director Alan White and his wife Norma.

In the middle of Whiteís address announcing the Robertsonsí gift, Jeanne interrupted him. She said White is a detailed-oriented person and prides himself at not making mistakes, but she had a surprise. The Robertsons, parents of an Elon graduate, say their gift honors their close friends for years of service and dedication to Elon.

Surprise, Surprise

Elon University president Dr. Leo Lambert (far left) Jerry and Jeanne Robertson, and Elon University athletic director Dr. Alan White and his wife Norma.
(Photo reprinted from The Alamance News)

White was speechless, as he had lead the committee through the planning and construction of the new athletics facility.

"When she pushed me aside, I didnít know what was going on," White said. "There is no question about being surprised. I was humbled and thrilled."

The Robertsons and Elon administration kept the secret from White for 10 months. White wrote press releases, created signs for the announcement and lead the project without knowing the Robertsons' intentions.

"We like to support athletics at Elon because we know they run a very clean program and Dr. White has been influential in making it successful" Jeanne Robertson said.

"He came over to the house and got Dadís track scrapbook and wrote a whole speech about him," she said. The Robertsons were given a laminated copy of the speech, although it was not read on Tuesday.

White joined Elonís athletics program in 1964 as an assistant football coach and has directed the program since 1979. He has led the university to NCAA Division I standing and the move to Southern Conference in 2003.

The Dr. Alan and Norma White Field includes facilities for field events, including pole vault, long jump, high jump, shot put, discuss, hammer throw, steeple chase and javelin. The field will also serve as a soccer practice field.