Elon mourns passing of benefactor Carol Grotnes Belk

The namesake of the university’s library died Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, two days shy of her 87th birthday. A brief remembrance service takes place today in the Oak Grove lounge on the south end of the library’s first floor.

From left: Irwin Belk, Elon President Leo M. Lambert and Carol Grotnes Belk at a May 1999 naming ceremony for the Carol Grotnes Belk Library.
The Elon University community will gather Tuesday afternoon in the Carol Grotnes Belk Library to remember and celebrate the life of the North Carolina philanthropist for whom the building is named.

The 4 p.m. remembrance service organized by library staff will take place in the Oak Grove lounge on the south end of the library’s first floor.

Belk died Monday in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. She and her husband Irwin Belk, a businessman and philanthropist, were long-time supporters of Elon. In 1999 the couple made a $1 million gift to Elon’s Campaign for the Elon Vision, which led to the library being named for Carol Grotnes Belk. They previously established the Carol Grotnes Belk Endowment Fund to award scholarship assistance to deserving students.

<p>Carol Grotnes Belk's portrait hangs in Belk Library.</p>
The couple supported Elon athletics and made other contributions to the institution. 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 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.

A celebration of life takes place at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Myers Park Presbyterian Church (2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte, NC 28207).