Campus News

University of Georgia dedicates ceremonial flagpole

UGA undergraduate Wells Ellenberg addresses the crowd during the dedication of Tate Student Center flagpole at the University of Georgia. In the background

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia dedicated a ceremonial flagpole June 22 at 1:30 p.m. on the Tate Student Center West Lawn.

The ceremony included the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing on the national anthem and the raising of both the American and state flags by UGA’s Army and Air Force ROTC students.

“We’re coming together today to dedicate a purposefully ceremonial place in the hopes that it will become a regular part of campus,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams at the event.

Wells Ellenberg, a rising junior majoring in history and political science from St. Simons, proposed an official university flagpole while serving as a senator in the Student Government Association. He gave remarks at the event, and he and Adams helped the ROTC students raise the flags at the ceremony.

“We’ve got plenty of places to meet and spend time with friends. But we’re a public institution and I think it’s important we have an U.S. flag on campus-prominently. I come from a family with a lot of military history and background and think that we owe everything to the folks who have fought and continue to fight for our country,” Ellenberg said.

Ellenberg wrote a letter to UGA’s senior administration and then worked with Rodney Bennett, vice president for student affairs, and Matt Winston, an assistant to the president, who both helped coordinated the project.

Ellenberg finished his SGA term in April, but things were already in place for the flagpole. It was ordered, arrived within three weeks and on May 23 was installed.

Workers from the Physical Plant Division installed the new pole. Lights were installed in earlier this month around the pole, which will be lit 24 hours a day.

“U.S. flag code suggests that there be a flagpole near the administration building of every public institution,” Ellenberg said, but rather than opt for a North Campus location, the flagpole went to central campus, where students spend more time.

“We felt like it would be more relevant for students across campus,” he said. “The idea is that if you’re meeting friends to grab lunch or study for a final, you say ‘Let’s meet at the flagpole.’ “

Winston was part of the team deciding on the Tate Student Center location.

“We wanted to secure a prominent location on campus that would be symbolic of our community’s patriotism and where students could gather for events and activities,” he said.

Other flagpoles are scattered across campus at athletic complexes and the Butts-Mehre Athletic Heritage Hall, near the ROTC buildings near Military Science and Hardman Hall and at several Physical Plant buildings, but this 50-foot flagpole will serve as the ceremonial flagpole for the university.