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Elon parents endow scholarship to support global study

Kristy and Bill Woolfolk of Hinsdale, Ill., have made a $100,000 gift to help make global engagement possible for students with financial need in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

Kristy and Bill Woolfolk P'17

The Woolfolks’ gift, which was made through the Frechette Family Foundation, helps support the university’s goal of providing all students with access to a global learning experience, a key component of the Elon Commitment strategic plan. The Woolfolks saw their son, Spencer ’17, flourish following his study abroad experience, which included an internship. They want to ensure that other students in the Love School have access to the same life-changing opportunity, regardless of their financial circumstances.

“There are a lot of students who are struggling to pay their tuition and housing at Elon, and we feel that every student should have the chance to study abroad and benefit from the experiential learning,” Kristy Woolfolk said. “We see this experience as a really important part of Spencer’s growth, and we want to make that opportunity available to other students.”

Elon is nationally recognized as a leader in global engagement, with 72 percent of students participating in at least one study abroad experience before graduation. Students also participate in equally powerful global experiences through Elon’s Study USA program.

“We consider Elon’s leadership in study abroad to be a real differentiator,” Bill Woolfolk said. “We hope our gift will make a significant and genuine difference for a number of students who wouldn’t have had that opportunity otherwise.”

The Woolfolks have seen firsthand the benefits of study abroad, including increased self-confidence, understanding of different cultures, and invaluable preparation for a career.

“Spencer has gained an appreciation from a business standpoint that we are part of a global environment, and no matter where he ends up, it’s likely he’s going to be interacting with people beyond the borders of the U.S.,” Bill said.

The Woolfolks, who serve on the university’s Parents Council, have been impressed by Spencer’s experience, which includes participation in the Elon in New York program, which is part of Study USA.

“Elon has changed him,” Bill said. “I’ve noticed in talking with him that he understands more about collaboration and engaging with others in a group. During his internship in New York, he was challenged and mentored, and I think that experience really prepared him for going overseas.”

The Woolfolks’ Elon experience began with their campus tour.

“When we were on the campus tour, we found everyone we interacted with was so excited about Elon,” Kristy said. “The students walking by said, ‘Come to Elon, come to Elon!’ Students interact with their professors more at Elon and in the living-learning communities they’re surrounded by people with a similar major—all of that engages them more. That’s what got us so excited. We wanted to be part of that.”

Jaleh Hagigh,
4/15/2016 5:50 PM