Elon dedicates dining facility in honor of Clohan family

The dedication was in recognition of the ongoing generosity of Robert A. Clohan III '67 and his family, including a $2 million gift from Clohan and his son, trustee Charles Clohan '98, in support of Richard W. Sankey Hall. 

Members of the Elon community gathered Dec. 7 to honor the contributions of the late Robert A. Clohan III '67 and his family with the dedication of Clohan Hall in the Colonnades Neighborhood. Clohan Hall, which opened in 2007 adjacent to the Koury Business Center, was previously named Colonnades Dining Hall and includes a first-floor market and deli and a second-floor restaurant and dining commons. 

The renaming of Colonnades Dining Hall in honor of the Clohan Family follows a $2 million gift from Robert Clohan and his son, Charles Clohan ’98. Their gift is supporting construction of Richard W. Sankey Hall, a three-story, 30,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Clohan Hall that is scheduled to open in 2018.

Sankey Hall will include the Doherty Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, the 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. Once completed, it will be a key component of what President Leo M. Lambert said will be "a new and modern core" of the Elon campus.

"In supporting the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business and Sankey Hall, the Clohan Family has embraced our vision for a relationship-rich and student-centered learning environment that places a premium on mentoring and challenging students to develop ethical leadership, creativity, keen intellect and practical problem-solving skills for lives of meaning and purpose," Lambert said during the dedication. 

Three generations of the Clohan family are part of the Elon family. In addition to Bob and Charles Clohan, the family’s Elon connections include Bob’s daughter, Lisa Clohan Rankin ’02, grandchildren Brad Clohan ’10 and Madisen Johnson ’20, and niece Katie Clohan ’19.

Bob Clohan served as chief executive officer of the Dittmar Co., a leading developer, builder and manager of apartment communities, hotels and office buildings in northern Virginia. During his long and successful business career, Clohan exemplified what it meant to cultivate a lifelong relationship with Elon. He was an enthusiastic champion for Elon in the northern Virginia business community and faithfully supported students and alumni throughout the Washington, D.C., area, helping to develop the next generation of business leaders and build a vibrant alumni network that is critical to Elon’s future.

​Lambert told the crowd at the event that he traveled to Bob Clohan's home in September, not long before Clohan passed away, to present him with an honorary M.B.A. degree, a recognition his family said he took great pride in. "It was a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life," Lambert said of that time with Clohan.

In his remarks, Charles Clohan recounted receiving his acceptance letter to Elon and the pride his father felt that this son would be attending the same school he did. Seeing his children and now grandchildren attend Elon "triggered something in him" about family and legacy that motivated him to support the university in a broad range of ways, his son said. "There's nothing but fond memories for him and our family," Clohan said. 

Clohan’s support of growing the university’s endowment and building exceptional facilities was essential to the development of the modern Elon. The impact of his gifts can be seen across Elon’s campus, including the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center and the Inman Admissions Welcome Center, the latter of which features the 175-seat Clohan Theatre, where thousands of prospective students and their families gather each year to learn about Elon. Clohan was also a loyal annual donor to scholarships and made a significant estate gift to Elon, helping to sustain the university for generations to come.

Charles Clohan has also been a devoted supporter of Elon, making annual gifts to the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, as well as supporting scholarships and the Phoenix Club. He is a member of the 1889 Society, which recognizes donors who make annual gifts to the university, and in 2016 was named to the Board of Trustees. 

Steven Klausner '20, a sophomore student senator representing the Love School of Business in the Student Government Association, offered his thoughts about the impact the Clohan family is making on Elon's campus, saying donors like the Clohans are giving him and his fellow students opportunities to excel academically and professionally. "Sankey Hall is an exciting space, and we're thrilled about the addition of the building to our campus," Klausner said. "We're looking forward to creating memorable experiences within this innovative space."