Opening Doors: Elon alumnus endows scholarship to help students now

The Charles C. Springs '69 Endowed Scholarship is an estate gift made possible by a new Blended Giving  program at Elon.

Elon alumnus Cliff Springs ’69 began planning a scholarship endowment gift to his alma mater 12 years ago as part of an overall estate plan. In August he decided to put the scholarship in place immediately, creating the Charles C. Springs ’69 Endowed Scholarship.

“I figure if I can help people, why not? It’s better to get it done now,” the Greensboro, North Carolina resident says.

The $100,000 Charles C. Springs ’69 Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to students at Elon University with the first preference going to a student with a disability. Second preference will be for a student majoring in chemistry. Springs graduated from Elon with a degree in chemistry and suffered nagging back issues starting during his senior year in college, he says.

A native of Reidsville, North Carolina, Springs says he was drawn to science as a field of study at Elon by an uncle who majored in chemistry and subsequently landed a good job. Springs says he saw chemistry as a field that offered excellent career options, something that turned out to be the case. As a student at Elon Springs found he also liked working in a chemistry lab and was a lab assistant as a student to earn extra money.

“I enjoyed the lab assisting part. It was one of the most fun things I did when I was there,” Springs recalls.

The lab experience paid off after graduation. He worked in labs for Research Analytical Laboratories in Kernersville and Guilford Labs in Greensboro. He enjoyed the analytical portion of the job until his retirement in 2012.

Through his own back issues and by watching students over the years, Springs says he understands the hardships students with a disability face in just walking from one class to another on a university campus. He was inspired by a student he saw on another campus who had a severe spinal condition and struggled to walk.

“She didn’t let that stop her, it may slow her down, but it wasn’t going to stop her,” Springs says. “I thought it would be a good idea to help people who needed some help.”

Springs set up the endowed scholarship as part of a planned estate gift 12 years ago. He decided to put the scholarship in place now through Elon’s new Blended Giving program. Blended Giving allows generous Elon benefactors to make a gift immediately while also planning a gift for the future. By blending gifts, donors may create a mix to provide tax or income benefits today while leaving a greater impact for Elon students in the future. Donors may also see the immediate impact of their gift on Elon and Elon students.

The “Opening Doors” story series celebrates the power of scholarships to change the lives of Elon students and the generosity of donors who make this transformation possible.