Elon College names new library in honor of Carol Grotnes Belk
ELON COLLEGE – The $14 million library under construction at Elon College will be named in honor of Carol Grotnes Belk of Charlotte. The announcement was made by Elon President Leo M. Lambert during a special ceremony held Wednesday morning on campus.
Carol Grotnes Belk and her husband, Irwin Belk, a Charlotte businessman and philanthropist, are long-time supporters of the college. They attended the ceremony and announced a $1 million cash gift to Elon’s Campaign for the Elon Vision. Previously, the Belks established The Carol Grotnes Belk Endowment Fund at the college, which has awarded many scholarships since it was established in 1988. The couple has also made gifts to Elon athletics and other contributions to the college. The Belk-Beck group of department stores provided funding in 1978 for the college’s Olympic-size pool, which is named in honor of the late A. Vance Beck, who was a Burlington-area businessman and long-time business associate of the Belks.
"Irwin and Carol Belk's gifts to Elon are yet another example of their outstanding commitment to higher education, and also serve to honor their long-time friend Earl Danieley," Lambert said. Danieley, who was Elon’s president from 1957 to 1973 and is currently a faculty member in the chemistry department, served with Irwin Belk on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.
"I have known four of Elon’s presidents and they have all been distinguished leaders. Having the right leadership is the key to the success of any organization," said Irvin Belk.
"Elon is one of the most outstanding schools in the nation," Irwin Belk said. "It does a great job of educating young people. Earl Danieley is a personal friend of mine and I am delighted to play a small part in this institution that I believe in."
"This building is beautiful and the architects have done a magnificent job," said Carol Grotnes Belk.
In 1990, Elon awarded Irwin Belk an honorary doctor of laws degree for his staunch support of higher education. In addition to 16 years of service on the UNC Board of Governors, he has served as a trustee or board member for more than a dozen other colleges and universities.
Irwin Belk is a retired officer and director of The Belk Group of Stores, which was founded by his father, and served on the board of directors of The Belk Foundation. He is a former member of the North Carolina Senate and House, was a delegate to four national Democratic Party conventions and has a long history of service to church, civic and cultural organizations. He recently served as a private sector adviser to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations.
Irwin and Carol Belk have made donations to more than 30 colleges and universities in North Carolina and South Carolina. The library at Appalachian State University also bears Carol Grotnes Belk’s name.
The 75,000-square-foot library at Elon is scheduled for completion this summer with a formal dedication planned in September. It is designed by the Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott architectural firm, a world leader in the field.
The library, which will incorporate modern electronic media in a traditional library setting, will house more than 200,000 volumes and more than 200 computers. The building will offer wireless computer capabilities, multimedia and audiovisual stations and a variety of networked classrooms and collaborative spaces. The facility will house the offices of academic computing and tutoring services, the writing center, the honors and General Studies programs, the faculty resource center and media services.