Elon announces 30 new scholarships for students in the Odyssey Program
The new scholarship gifts and commitments announced by President Leo M. Lambert and a group of key university volunteers on Friday come from seven inspired donors.
President Leo M. Lambert and a group of key university volunteers announced scholarship gifts and commitments from seven inspired donors who are committed to making a difference in the lives of Elon students.
The scholarship announcement was made following a meeting of Elon's campaign cabinet, a group of alumni, parents and trustees planning the leadership phase of the university’s next comprehensive campaign.
“This is an extraordinary day in the history of Elon University,” President Leo M. Lambert said. “These 30 new Odyssey Program scholarships will change the lives of generations of students who will use their talents to build a brighter future. We are indebted to the generous donors, including trustees, alumni, parents and friends, for demonstrating the power of philanthropy to make college dreams a reality.”
The new endowed scholarships are designated for Elon’s Odyssey Program, a highly selective program for students with exceptional ability and promise who have high financial need. Many of the scholarship recipients are the first in their families to attend college.
Earlier this year, other members of Elon’s community of donors helped set the stage for the announcement by endowing 12 new scholarships, bringing to 42 the total number of Odyssey endowments created during the past year.
“Currently, 118 students are enrolled in the Odyssey Program,” said Jean Rattigan-Rohr, Director of Elon’s Center for Access and Success, which includes the Odyssey Program. “The generous commitments made by donors during the last year bring us much closer to our institutional goal of 200 students in the Odyssey Program by the start of the next decade.”
Each of the gifts will support a $500,000 endowment for scholarships. Elon is grateful to the following donors for their generosity:
- Trustee and parent William J. “Bill” Inman P’00 and his wife, Patricia P’00, of Naples, Florida
- The late Elon alumna and grandparent Edna Truitt Noiles ’44 GP’17, of New Canaan, Connecticut
- Burlington, North Carolina-based LabCorp
- Alumnus Dr. Kerry J. Gilliland ’72, of Lewisville, North Carolina
- Trustee and alumna Kerrii Brown Anderson ’79, of Columbus, Ohio
- Trustee and parent Cindy Citrone P’17 and her husband, Rob P’17, of Southport, Connecticut
- Trustee Bill Smith and his wife, Sue, of Greensboro, North Carolina
Inman Family Scholars
The gift from Bill and Pat Inman will fund 10 Inman Family Scholars each year. The couple wanted to broaden access to Elon’s renowned engaged learning programs, which were transformative for their daughter, Jackie Inman Burns, a 2000 Elon graduate.
“There is so much financial need out there with students, including students at Elon,” Bill Inman said. “We want to make it possible for these students to get a great education at Elon and graduate without taking on unbearable debt. I have been an advocate for years as a trustee to try to increase our endowment so we can help students financially, and now some of that is coming to fruition.”
The Inmans are among the university’s most generous donors, and the impact of their philanthropy can be seen across Elon’s campus. The Inman Admissions Welcome Center greets thousands of prospective students and their families each year, providing an attractive and welcoming facility to begin their Elon experience. The center houses Elon’s admissions, financial planning and welcome center staffs along with conference rooms, two presentation theaters and office suites.
The Inmans have also made major gifts to support construction of Rhodes Stadium, Alumni Field House, the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center, Numen Lumen Pavilion and Lindner Hall. The Inman Reading Room in Lindner Hall in the Academic Village is named in their honor.
“Our hope for the students who receive these scholarships is for them to be great individuals in our society and help this country by solving some of our greatest challenges,” said Inman, who has served as an Elon trustee since 2005.
Edna Truitt Noiles Scholars
The late Elon alumna Edna Truitt Noiles ’44 believed strongly in giving back to Elon. During her lifetime, she made generous gifts to launch several signature university programs, including the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and the Elon Academy, which is a national model for college access and success programs. Her philanthropic spirit lives on in the six Edna Truitt Noiles scholarships that have been funded through an estate gift from Noiles.
Preference for the Noiles scholarships will be given to students who have completed the Elon Academy, a program that was near and dear to Edna’s heart. She and her late husband, Doug Noiles, were founding donors to the Elon Academy, a comprehensive program that encourages promising high school students with high financial need or no family history of college attendance to earn a four-year degree and serve their communities. Believing that quality education was a child’s birthright, the couple provided vital start-up funding and ongoing support for the program, which has touched the lives of more than 200 Alamance County students and their families.
The Noileses also endowed the Vera Richardson Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life in 2003 in honor of Edna’s mother. In addition, the couple joined with Edna’s five sisters, also Elon alumnae, to establish the Ashton P. and Vera R. Truitt Scholarship Fund to honor their parents. In recognition of her devotion to the university, Edna Noiles received the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor, in 2016.
“I want to thank Elon personally for opening up the world to me,” Noiles said after receiving the medallion. “Thank you Elon for being the vehicle through which I can open the world for others.” Edna Noiles passed away in February 2017.
LabCorp-Alamance Scholars at Elon University
A leadership gift from LabCorp will fund four LabCorp-Alamance Scholarships, which will be designated for top-performing graduates of the Elon Academy or top-performing Alamance County students who are the first in their families to attend college.
“We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Elon University to make the LabCorp-Alamance Scholarships possible,” said David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp. “LabCorp has been a strong supporter of the Elon Academy from its very beginning, and we have seen first-hand the incredible potential and drive of the Academy scholars. We are honored to help those young women and men, and other high-achieving students in Alamance County, pursue an outstanding education at Elon.”
LabCorp is one of Elon’s most valued corporate partners with a rich history of supporting education in Alamance County and at the university. The company has made generous gifts to support the university’s Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center and establish a summer internship program for Elon Academy scholars, giving many of those students their first opportunity to make an impact in a professional setting.
In 2011, a major gift from LabCorp established the LabCorp Endowment for Opportunity, providing an invaluable permanent funding source for Elon Academy operations. This gift, combined with the company’s annual gifts and internship experiences for Academy scholars, has helped change lives and propel the Elon Academy to national distinction.
LabCorp is a leading global life sciences company that is deeply integrated in guiding patient care. With a mission to improve health and improve lives, LabCorp delivers world-class diagnostic solutions, brings innovative medicines to patients faster and uses technology to improve the delivery of care.
Dr. Kerry J. Gilliland Scholars
A generous estate gift from alumnus Dr. Kerry Gilliland ’72 will assist four Gilliland Scholars in the future. Gilliland, a cardiologist, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at Elon and his medical degree from Wake Forest University.
Kerrii Brown Anderson Scholars
Elon alumna Kerrii Brown Anderson ’79 has continued her loyal support of her alma mater by endowing two scholarships for Odyssey students. Anderson, who serves as chair of Elon’s Board of Trustees, said the more she learned about the Odyssey Program, the more inspired she was to support it.
“I am so proud that this kind of comprehensive scholarship program was established at Elon,” Anderson said. “I have been fortunate to meet Elon alumni who benefitted from the Odyssey Program, and they are really making a difference in the world, in their relationships and in their families.”
A scholarship recipient herself while at Elon, Anderson has also made a gift to endow three Kerrii Brown Anderson Elon Engagement Scholarships, which will assist promising incoming students eager to embrace the university’s engaged learning programs.
“I could not have ever attended Elon without scholarships, and I believe I have a responsibility to give back now that I have been fortunate enough to have the ability to do so,” Anderson said. “Education is the enabler to changing people’s lives and scholarships are the vehicle by which that education and change can take place. Having additional scholarships is critical to the future success of our students and allowing Elon to reach a new level of national recognition.”
Anderson has supported many of Elon’s key strategic priorities, including construction of Koury Business Center and the Numen Lumen Pavilion, as well as Phoenix athletics and Elon Day, the university’s single biggest day of giving. She also established the Kerrii Brown Anderson Endowed Scholarship to assist female students with financial need from her home state of North Carolina or Ohio, where she resides with her husband, Doug. Anderson is the former CEO of Wendy’s International and has served as an Elon trustee since 2008.
Horizons National Scholars
Elon parents Cindy P’17 and Rob Citrone P’17 have endowed two Horizons National Scholarships, which will be awarded to students who have completed the Horizons National program prior to enrolling at Elon. Horizons National is a tuition-free, academic and enrichment program that serves low-income, public school students at sites throughout the country.
Cindy Citrone has been associated with the Horizons program in New Canaan, Connecticut, and is impressed by the program's results in serving disadvantaged students. Elon parent Jane Stoddard Williams P’13 serves as chair of Horizons’ national Board of Directors.
“We really believe this is a win-win situation for both Elon and Horizons,” said Citrone, who has served as a university trustee since 2016. “Horizons students will have the opportunity to attend Elon and get an amazing education in an engaged learning environment, and Elon will be getting students who value that education. I think that’s a win-win situation for both philanthropies.”
This is the latest major philanthropic commitment from the Citrones. In 2016, the couple funded a Design Thinking initiative at Elon, enabling the university to infuse this innovative approach to problem solving into academic courses and student experiences outside the classroom. The Citrones were also lead donors to the recent School of Communications expansion. The spacious Citrone Plaza welcomes visitors to the new communications facilities and seamlessly connects the campus to the Town of Elon. In addition, the couple previously contributed significant matching gifts during the annual Elon Day programs. Their daughter, Gabriela, is a 2017 Elon alumna.
Bill and Sue Smith Scholars
In his 22 years of service as an Elon trustee, Bill Smith has had a front-row seat to Elon’s rise to national prominence. Watching that transformation inspired Smith and his wife, Sue, to fund two scholarships for students in the Odyssey Program.
“It’s no surprise to anyone that is close to education that the future of our country depends on how successful we are in providing access to a quality education for all children,” Smith said. “Having seen the educational experience that Elon offers and ensuring that the best and the brightest have access to it, that’s the best investment you can make.
“All colleges are under intense pressure to attract top students and to keep the costs affordable, and scholarships play an important role in making that happen,” Smith said. “If you’re concerned about the future, you’re going to make this investment.”
The Smiths have been devoted benefactors to Elon, supporting Koury Business Center and the Numen Lumen Pavilion, which houses the university’s multi-faith center.
“I have a lot of pride in Elon having grown up in Burlington, and my family has been longtime supporters of the university,” Smith said. “Sue and I hope this scholarship opens a door for students to experience Elon’s outstanding faculty relationships and engaged learning programs, all the things that prepare well-rounded leaders.”
Bill Smith is CEO of Trust Company of the South in Greensboro, N.C., and has served as an Elon trustee since 1995.
Paving the way
Elon is grateful to the following donors who made gifts earlier this year to endow scholarships for students in the Odyssey Program:
Elon Trustee and parent Edward Doherty P’07 and his wife, Joan, of Saddle River, New Jersey, who endowed eight Edward W. and Joan K. Doherty Scholarships. The Dohertys are among Elon’s most devoted benefactors and champions, establishing the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and endowing the Doherty Emerging Professor of Entrepreneurship.
An Elon alumnus from the Class of 2000, who wishes to remain anonymous, made an estate gift that will endow four scholarships in the future.
About the Odyssey Program
The Odyssey Program is part of the university’s Center for Access and Success. In addition to annual tuition assistance, each of the scholarships in this program includes a stipend for books and supplies, and a one-time, global study grant to be used for an approved study abroad or Study USA program. Odyssey Program participants are consistently among Elon’s top-performing students.
Throughout the four-year program, Odyssey Program participants take advantage of intellectually demanding courses while furthering their personal and professional development. The students participate in a first-year summer orientation, attend annual retreats and monthly meetings with their peers, are involved in one-on-one academic and career planning meetings, and maintain an academic and leadership portfolio.