Jennings family supports Schar Center with generous gift
The new convocation center will provide a preeminent facility for Phoenix athletics and university events.
One of Elon’s most generous families has made a major gift to the Schar Center to help provide a new gathering space for the university community. To date, alumni, parents and friends have contributed $20 million toward the $24 million goal for the convocation center.
Elon is grateful to members of the Jennings family, including Trustee Emeritus Maurice Jennings Sr. ’57, Trustee Maurice “Burney” Jennings Jr. ’87 and his wife, Dina Blake Jennings ’87, and Fran Jennings Teter and her husband, Chris Teter, for their loyal support of the university. The Teters are parents of Tricia ’13 and Gordon, an Elon junior.
“The Jennings family has been a vital part of the Elon community for more than 50 years,” said President Leo M. Lambert. “Their support of premier facilities like the Schar Center will add vibrancy to the student experience and help propel Elon to new levels of national distinction.”
Burney Jennings, chief executive officer of the North Carolina-based Biscuitville restaurant chain, said his family was honored to support the Schar Center. Dina is a member of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business Board of Advisors. The couple’s daughter, Bailey, is an Elon student.
“This is a facility that Elon has needed for many years, and we wanted to come together as a family and support it,” Jennings said. “I think Elon is a positive force for the students, the community and all stakeholders. I feel really good about the progress we’ve made and that our future is very, very bright.”
“I know how important it is to have a place like the Schar Center where the entire Elon community can gather indoors,” Fran Teter said. “It is going to benefit the entire student body and the surrounding community and give Elon even more exposure.”
The 160,000-square-foot Schar Center will meet a longstanding need for a large gathering space to host convocations, national and international performers, and athletic events. The more than 5,000-seat arena will serve as the new home for Elon’s basketball and volleyball programs. The Schar Center will be located on approximately 20 acres adjacent to Elon’s athletics facilities. In recognition of their gift, one of the two video boards in the Schar Center will be named in honor of the Jennings family, whose Elon roots run deep.
Clyde W. Gordon Sr., grandfather of Burney Jennings and Fran Teter, graduated from Elon in 1926 and served as a trustee at the institution. Maurice Jennings Sr. also served as an Elon trustee and helped lead important campus initiatives, including fundraising campaigns for the Center for the Arts and the Elon University School of Law. He founded Biscuitville Inc. in 1975 and led the company for more than 20 years before turning over leadership to his son, Burney Jennings. Maurice and his late wife, Linda, along with Burney and Dina Jennings were founding donors to the School of Law and early advocates for its location in Greensboro. Together they made a gift to endow the Jennings Professor of Law to support the school’s mission of enhancing civic engagement and leadership in the legal profession. Fran and Chris Teter have endowed the Teter Family Scholarship to assist students with financial need.