Looking Back: Hometown Hero Ed Elliott
by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
When graduates of Grain Valley High School choose the University of Central Missouri (UCM) for their college education, they will no doubt become familiar with the ESU, the student union at Central. But do they know the union is named for a fellow alumnus of GVHS?
Known as the “campus living room,” the Elliott Student Union is located in the center of the main campus. The original union was built in 1962, with an addition completed in 1966 and a complete facelift in 1990. The Union was named for former UCM President Ed Elliott upon his retirement in 1999.
The Sandra Temple Elliott Ballroom is one of many features within the building which also houses a bowling alley, a recreation center, the Student Success Center, the Veterans Success center, meeting rooms and numerous dining options including a food court.
Eddie Mayes Elliott was the third of seven children born to Edna Mae (Rowe) and Franklin Elwood Elliott. He had two older brothers, Claude and Frank; and two younger brothers Robert (Bert) and Dan. After five boys, two sisters, Diana and Judy, completed the family. Like their parents, aunts, uncles and cousins, they all attended school in Grain Valley.
Ed “Mick” Elliott began elementary school in the fall of 1944. By the time he graduated from GVHS he had already made a name for himself, both academically and athletically.
On the 1956 Treasure Chest (yearbook) Senior Who’s Who page, Ed was voted “Most Athletic” and “Most Likely to Succeed.” He played three sports and was senior co-captain of both the football and basketball team. He was a class officer every year and Student Council President during his senior year. He was also in music, the senior play, and held a position on the staff of both the yearbook and newspaper.
His football skills and leadership won him not only the Napier Award for 1955 but also a scholarship to play football at William Jewell College.
Ed Elliot earned ten varsity letters as a student-athlete at William Jewell, including four in football and wrestling and two in track and field. As the captain of the wrestling and football teams, he was the only signal caller in Norris Patterson's 18 seasons as coach to call his own plays on offense and defense. He actually played in front of former Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder.
Following his senior season, he was named first team All-Missouri College Athletic Union. In addition, he was the recipient of the Cecil Martin Award for Male Athlete of the Year in 1960.
For the next twenty-five years, Ed and his wife, Sandra Sue Temple (GVHS Class of 1957, Central Missouri State University, 1961) were at various colleges where Ed coached, taught and completed his Masters and Doctorial degrees. They also raised two sons.
In 1985 they returned to Missouri. Ed became President of Central Missouri State University and Sandra was the popular “First Lady” until their retirement in 1999.
Ed was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at both William Jewell College and UCM. The first induction for his athletic success and the second induction for his leadership in the fundraising effort for the building of Walton Stadium, as well as Crane Stadium and the South Recreation Complex at UCM.
After retirement, Ed and Sandra moved to Lee’s Summit. They are regular attendees at the Grain Valley Alumni Banquet each year. Dr. Elliott is a board member of the Grain Valley Education Foundation.
Former University of Central Missouri (UCM) President Ed Elliott was born and raised in Grain Valley and graduated from Grain Valley High School in 1956. A standout athlete, he continued his academic and athletic career at William Jewell College and then went on to teach and coach at a number of colleges before returning to Missouri as President of UCM from 1985-1999.
Photo courtesy of Grain Valley Historical Society.
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