Alumnus makes major gift to the Schar Center
Jim Drummond ’50 honors his late wife, Joan Summers Drummond ’52, and their Elon experience with a gift to name the spacious entrance plaza at the university’s new convocation center.
The major gift from Jim Drummond ’50, of Gibsonville, N.C., will name the Joan Summers Drummond ’52 and James Anthony Drummond ’50 Plaza at the Schar Center, Elon’s new 5,400-seat facility that will provide a premier gathering space for major campus events and serve as the new home for the university’s basketball and volleyball programs. The Schar Center is scheduled to open in 2018.
A portion of Jim Drummond's gift will also support the Joan and James Drummond Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry and the Elon Academy, the university’s successful college access program for Alamance County high school students with significant financial need or no family history of college attendance.
“We are grateful to beloved alumni like Jim Drummond '50 and his late wife, Joan '52, for their generosity and for keeping Elon close to their hearts for more than six decades,” President Leo M. Lambert said. “Their loyal support of premier facilities like the Schar Center and of life-changing scholarships and academic programs is helping propel Elon to new levels of national distinction. Elon is a stronger university because of devoted alumni like Joan and Jim Drummond.”
The Joan Summers Drummond ’52 and James Anthony Drummond ’50 Plaza will welcome visitors to the Schar Center. At 160,000 square feet, the Schar Center will be the largest facility in Elon’s history and host signature campus events such as convocations and major speakers, including national and international leaders. The facility will also provide a larger arena for the Phoenix men’s and women’s basketball programs and the volleyball program, placing Elon’s venue on par with facilities at other member schools in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Jim Drummond said he was excited to support an important project at his alma mater and honor the memory of his wife, Joan, who died in January at age 86. The Drummonds have been faithful donors to Elon through the years and regularly attended Homecoming and other campus events. In 2013, they participated in the Long Maroon Line of alumni during Elon’s 125 anniversary celebration.
“Joan and I both love Elon and have always believed in contributing to Elon,” Jim Drummond said. “We are proud to be Elon graduates and to be part of this wonderful university and its people.”
After earning her Elon degree in chemistry and biology, Joan Drummond worked for 30 years as an analytical laboratory chemist at Vick Chemical Co. in Greensboro, N.C., earning a reputation as a valued leader and pioneer among professional women at the company. She was the first female salaried employee at Vick Chemical and the first woman to be promoted to manager and serve as production supervisor there. Joan maintained her management position following the sale of the company to Dow Pharmaceuticals and later to Procter and Gamble, from which she retired in 1990. Jim Drummond enjoyed a long and successful career as a Realtor and served as owner of Drummond Realty and Construction in Gibsonville.
The Drummonds were active volunteers for Elon, serving as co-presidents of the university’s Golden Alumni Association. They also made generous gifts to establish the Joan and James Drummond Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry and to name a research lab in the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center. Joan Drummond received Elon’s Alumni Service Award in 2008 for her many contributions to the university and the Alamance County community. The couple are members of Order of the Oak, recognizing donors who have made planned gifts to Elon.
“I think the growth has been wonderful, and Joan and I have been happy to support the university through the years,” Drummond said. “It’s important that other people support it, too. I hope this gift will benefit students today like Elon benefitted Joan and me when we were students.”
Alumni, parents and friends can follow the Schar Center progress on the facility’s website — www.elon.edu/scharcenter — which includes the latest photos and news of the convocation center, renderings and fly-through videos, and a live construction cam capturing project milestones.
The facility is named for Elon parents Dwight and Martha Schar P'16 P'19, of Palm Beach, Florida, who are among Elon’s most generous donors and whose $13 million in gifts to the university provided lead funding for the convocation center and the expanded School of Communications.