Alumni Profiles

Then and Now

Rutgers Day. 4/27/19
Photo by John O’Boyle

George Elwood RC’49

Seven decades after graduation, alumnus continues to share his scarlet pride at Alumni Weekend

Later this week, George Elwood and his wife, Ann, will make the four-hour drive from their home in Utica, New York, to attend Alumni Weekend at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. It’s a trip George has made more than a dozen times before, but this visit will be especially significant since it marks the 70th anniversary of his graduation from Rutgers College in 1949.

A native of Hancock, New York, Elwood enrolled at Rutgers in 1944 but interrupted his education to join the U.S. Navy in 1945, serving in the Pacific on the U.S.S. New Jersey. He returned to Rutgers in 1946 with a flood of fellow ex-G.I.s. Elwood, a retired attorney, has attended every five-year reunion of his class since graduation. The Rutgers University Alumni Association chatted with him before he heads back to the Banks.

Why did you decide to attend Rutgers?
I was from a small town in New York, and I wanted to be in a larger town. I thought of going to Princeton, where my father went, but I was declined. So I thought, ‘I’ll go down the road to Rutgers,’ and I’ve never regretted it.

What did you study at Rutgers College?
I took a liberal arts program because I was going to go to law school. I majored in history and political science. I liked all my professors, I liked the courses. I took a broad spectrum of French, Spanish, philosophy—it was a great liberal arts program. The most important class I took was public speaking. The education I got at Rutgers was outstanding.

What activities were you involved in at Rutgers?
I was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, and that was a great experience living there. Second, I was on the wrestling team, a 121-pounder. My senior year I made varsity. With two Rutgers wrestlers winning the NCAA championships this year, I was proud.

What was it like to come back to Rutgers after serving in the Navy?
When I first went to Rutgers, in 1944, there weren’t many students around because the war was still going on. Then when I came back in 1946, classes were fuller. And the attitude had changed—students and professors were more casual. The GI Bill was just great. I got an allowance for room and board, and I’d just take my check and turn it over to the fraternity.

Can you tell us about your family?
My wife and I have three children, two sons, and a daughter. Nobody went to Rutgers—it wasn’t that I didn’t try! And we have two granddaughters and a grandson.

Will you march in the parade?
I probably will. We’ll also go to the Memorial Service at Kirkpatrick Chapel and the Old Guard Reception and Dinner. You are a generous donor to the university, especially to athletics.

What makes you want to give back to the university?
Because of the education I received. When you’re on an athletic team, you become more loyal to the school. I want to help out kids who are at Rutgers now and give them financial support.


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