Gill family supports Schar Center with major gift

Elon parents Ken and Malinda Gill of Charlotte, N.C., are among the donors who have recently made generous gifts to support the Schar Center, the university’s new 5,400-seat convocation center.

Ken and Malinda Gill are parents of Ashley Gill, a 2012 Elon alumna. The couple are among the many parents, alumni and friends who have stepped forward to support the Schar Center, a premier facility that will provide a large gathering space for major campus and community events and serve as the new home for Elon’s basketball and volleyball programs. In recognition of this gift, the hospitality suite on the Schar Center’s main concourse will be named in honor of the Gill family.

<p>From left: Elon Athletics Director Dave Blank, Ken and Malinda Gill P'12, and President Leo M. Lambert at the Oct. 21 groundbreaking ceremony for the Schar Center. (Photo by Kim Walker)</p>
Ken Gill, CEO and founder of CPI Security Systems in Charlotte, said he and his wife were excited to help make the Schar Center a reality and continue to drive Elon’s upward trajectory.

“Elon’s a great institution that has done wonders for our daughter,” Gill said. “The Schar Center is a major part of putting Elon even more firmly on the national map, and we wanted to help make a difference.”

The Gills joined other donors and members of the Elon community in October for the groundbreaking for the Schar Center, which will be the largest facility on Elon’s campus. The 161,000-square-foot center is named for Elon parents Dwight and Martha Schar, of Palm Beach, Florida, who have contributed $13 million to the university, including $9 million for the Schar Center, and inspired other benefactors to make gifts and help meet the $24 million fundraising goal for the project.

“The Schar Center is going to be a true game-changer for our athletic programs, and we’re very appreciative of Ken and Malinda Gill’s gift to Elon,” said Elon Director of Athletics Dave Blank. “The Schar Center will have a tremendous impact on recruiting and will provide first-class amenities for our student-athletes. The groundbreaking in October was exciting for our student-athletes and the entire Elon community, and it’s been great seeing the project come to life over the last several months.”

The Schar Center is an important priority in the Elon Commitment strategic plan and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2018. The center will feature a 5,400-seat arena, main court, practice facility with two full-sized courts, a series of suites, a weight training room, locker rooms, offices for athletics staff, players lounges and conference rooms.

With its multipurpose design, the Schar Center will host a variety of academic, cultural and athletic events, including convocations, concerts and lectures from national and international leaders and scholars. It will also serve as the impressive new home of Phoenix basketball and volleyball, providing a larger arena for these teams to compete and placing Elon’s venue on par with facilities at other member schools in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Schar Center is expected to draw national events such as political debates and conventions.

Gill said he looks forward to watching the Schar Center take Elon to even greater levels of national recognition.

“Elon is doing a lot of terrific things and everything on campus is well positioned,” Gill said. “The Schar Center is the one area that’s been the missing piece for Elon and will round out the rest of the campus. I think it’s also going to help the basketball and volleyball programs move to the next level in terms of recruiting great players who will be excited and proud to play in the Schar Center.”

Gill said he and his wife are grateful to Elon for preparing their daughter to succeed in her chosen profession, education. Ashley Gill is a first-grade teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.

“One of the things I brag about is Elon’s study abroad program, which is one of the key differences between Elon and a lot of other schools,” Gill said. “It really opened up our daughter’s world and makes all students more well-rounded and confident.

“This is a gift that is good for Elon and that fits nicely with what we’re doing as a family, which is giving back to the region and supporting great schools.”