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Edna '44 and Doug Noiles give $400,000 to the Elon Academy

The couple continue their generous support of the university-run college-access program for Alamance County high school students.

Edna '44 and Doug Noiles

The Noileses are among Elon’s most generous benefactors. In 2003, they made a $1 million gift to endow the Vera Richardson Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life on campus. They also have made several major gifts to the Elon Academy, including a $220,000 gift to fund the first year of the program, which opened in summer 2007, and a $1 million gift in 2010 to support endowment and annual operations of the program.

The Elon Academy serves promising students with high financial need or no family history of attending college and encourages them to earn college degrees and serve their communities. It is a philosophy that has always resonated with Doug and Edna Noiles, who are passionate about helping students who otherwise may not consider pursuing higher education.

“There’s still so much work to do, and we feel it’s our responsibility to do it for the students,” Edna said. "(Program director) Deborah Long has guided the Elon Academy into a program that has such life in it and such hope.”

“Education is where it all starts, and it has been very exciting to watch the Elon Academy grow,” Doug said.

The Elon Academy is a comprehensive program that begins on the university’s campus and continues with support for Academy graduates once they reach a college or university. Students are selected for the Academy during their freshman year in high school. These scholars spend part of the next three summers participating in academic and enrichment activities on campus, with weekend programs for scholars and their families throughout the academic year. During the summer following high school graduation, scholars and their families participate in the Academy’s Transitions to College Program. Once on their respective college campuses, Academy graduates and families receive ongoing support through the Academy’s College Success Program to ensure college completion.

The couple have visited with Academy scholars over the years and have been impressed by what they’ve seen.

“To know that we can help prepare these students to move out into the world is wonderful,” Edna said. “The world has opened up to them, and I hope to give them a sense of responsibility for their own hometown to come back and make things different than what they knew.”

“I look back and see how much I was helped during my education and anything we can do to help these students is on the plus side,” Doug added. “There’s nothing that is more important than education.”

The Elon community joined Academy students, families and graduates at an April 27 gala to celebrate the program’s five-year anniversary. At the event, donors contributed approximately $60,000 to support the Academy.

Jaleh Hagigh,
5/9/2012 5:38 PM