Making a Difference: Mahaffeys’ generosity impacts students across campus
Gifts from the Elon parents have enhanced several university programs, experiences and facilities.
By Megan McClure
When Mark and Marianne Mahaffey P'97, P'01 of St. Petersburg, Fla., first set foot on Elon’s campus more than 20 years ago, they had little idea how important the university would soon become to their family.
Years of spending family vacations in the North Carolina mountains had prompted the couple’s son, Tom ’97, to tour several schools in the state during his college search. Elon proved to be the right fit, and the family’s connection continued to grow a few years later when Tom’s sister, Kiley ’01, also decided to attend.
Since that time, Mark and Marianne’s leadership and philanthropy at Elon have touched nearly every corner of campus. Though years have passed since their children graduated, they remain involved at the university through Mark’s long-standing service as an Elon trustee.
They are also recognized among the university’s most generous donors as part of the Numen Lumen Society, which honors lifetime giving of $1 million or more to Elon.
The couple has made transformative gifts to many of Elon’s largest capital projects, naming Belk Library’s third floor lobby and reading room for Mark’s mother and the moot court classroom in Koury Business Center in memory of Marianne’s parents. A staff office in Alumni Field House and the chaplain’s office in the Numen Lumen Pavilion both bear the Mahaffey name, in honor of the family’s support of the projects.
The vision behind the multi-faith center was especially important for Mark and Marianne.
“The Numen Lumen Pavilion is such a worthwhile concept, and I think Elon is setting an example for the nation and the world by promoting better communication,” Mark says. “The facility is beautiful on the outside, but what really excites us is what will take place inside the building.”
Mark’s leadership was also instrumental to the success of Ever Elon, the university’s largest fundraising effort in history. He served as the first chair of the campaign, which raised more than $107 million in five years for the university’s endowment and annual fund.
The Mahaffeys were key donors during Ever Elon, making a gift to endow the Mahaffey Scholarship for International Study and Service. The scholarship supports deserving students who want to take part in the university’s renowned study abroad program but cannot do so because of financial barriers.
“Creating a scholarship for international study really resonated with our family,” Mark says. “Marianne and I saw what international experiences did for our children’s ambition, their philosophy and overall outlook on life. Today we live in a truly global economy, and anything we can do to help Elon students have international experiences before graduation is vital.”
Other areas of support include the Elon Academy, the university’s college access and success program, the Phoenix Club, Elon’s Greatest Needs and the Elon School of Law annual scholarship fund. The Mahaffeys are also part of Order of the Oak, a legacy society that recognizes donors who have included Elon in their estate plans. Their widespread generosity has impacted a variety of opportunities, programs and buildings across campus, and has always been driven by their commitment to Elon’s shared mission.
“Elon is a great story, and always seems to be ascending into greater prominence,” says Mark. “A large part of that success is that board members, the administration, faculty and students all have the same kindred spirit and really understand what this institution is all about.”