As steel goes up, Elon gathers to dedicate Richard W. Sankey Hall site

Donors and members of the Elon community came together Friday, Oct. 6, to dedicate the site for Sankey Hall and sign a steel plate to be put into place and remain visible once the building is complete. 

Jim Sankey, joined by his family, signs his name to a steel plate that will be put into place in Richard W. Sankey Hall.

​With the steel skeleton of the new building taking shape behind them, members of the Elon community gathered Friday, Oct. 6, to dedicate the site for Richard W. Sankey Hall. It was a chance to celebrate the generous support that Elon parents Jim and Beth Sankey of Charlotte, N.C., have provided to the university and to Sankey Hall, which will bear the name of Jim’s father, when it is complete in August 2018. 

Jim Sankey, a former Elon trustee and CEO and president of Charlotte-based InVue, talks about his family’s support for Sankey Hall and Elon. 

“Many of the privileges that my sister, Suzanne, and my family have enjoyed are because of the sacrifices of my mom, Dorothy, who is here today, and my dad,” said Jim Sankey, a former Elon trustee and CEO and president of InVue, based in Charlotte. “We’re very proud to be part of the growth of Elon.”

Joining the Sankeys at Friday’s celebration were some of the 19 families who have made gifts for Sankey Hall, with those present taking the lead in offering their signatures to steel plates that will be affixed to beams in Sankey Hall and then visible through glass panes inside the building.

Construction on the three-story, 30,000-square-foot building began this summer on a site on the north end of the McMichael Science Center parking lot adjacent to Colonnades Dining Hall and near the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. Sankey Hall will include the Doherty Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, Chandler Family Professional Sales Center, a Design Thinking Center and Financial Education Center—all programs and facilities that are available to students in every major, school and college.

Sankey Hall is designed to be similar to what one might see in a Silicon Valley tech firm. The “Google-esque” design includes exposed building components, open spaces, glass walls and vertical writing surfaces. The second and third floors will feature technology-infused classrooms, faculty offices, and conference rooms, with each of the three floors to contain student breakout spaces and locations for student-faculty engagement.

“Building connections” was the theme for Sankey Hall’s design, said Love School of Business Dean Raghu Tadepalli. In its design, Robert A.M. Stern Architects focused on the concept of developing close mentoring relationships between students and faculty, a hallmark of an Elon education, said President Leo M. Lambert

“In Sankey Hall, students will develop ethical leadership, creativity, keen intellect and practical problem-solving skills that will serve them throughout their lives,” Lambert said. “They will do so in our relationship-rich and student-centered culture, which places a premium on mentoring by faculty, by staff, by peers. This is the core of an Elon education — relationships that transform and support students to become their best selves.”

Lambert explained that Sankey Hall will be the first building built in a new quadrangle to be developed in the future within the heart of Elon’s campus, with plans calling for an engineering and physics building to follow in neighboring space as a next phase. “Imagine the synergies that can take place between science and business, between engineering and entrepreneurship,” Lambert said.

With their support across the campus at Elon and the generous gift to make Sankey Hall a reality, the Sankeys have “built a true legacy of philanthropy at Elon,” Lambert said.

Jim Sankey said his family’s relationship with the university began about a decade ago during an admissions visit for their oldest child, Clay, who graduated in 2012. He’s now a chiropractor in Charlotte and is married to a fellow Elon alum, Amanda ’12, his father said. Their son Wes graduated from Elon in 2013 and works in information technology for Red Ventures in Charlotte, and their youngest, Brooke, is a member of the Class of 2020, studying marketing in the Love School of Business. All four joined in the celebration on Friday.

“Elon has set each of them up to do well in their careers, and even more than that, set them up to do well in life,” Sankey said.

Richard Sankey, who passed away four years ago, was a business leader in Canton, Ohio, and his success story offered inspiration to Dora Muratovic ’19, a Business Fellow and Odyssey Scholar. Her parents immigrated from Kosovo and worked hard to help her get to where she is today, seeing success at Elon with experiences including an internship at Goldman Sachs and a study abroad experience in Argentina and Chile.

“I am proud to be part of the Love School of Business, and I’m so excited to see Sankey Hall when it opens,” Muratovic said.