Major gift to endow scholarship, deepen funding for Jewish studies

Elon Trustee and parent Eric Sklut and his wife, Lori Sklut, of Charlotte, North Carolina, will help bring outstanding students to the university and strengthen funding for a Jewish studies professorship.

The gift from the Levine-Sklut Family Foundation will support two key institutional priorities: strengthening academics through increased funding for the Lori and Eric Sklut Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies and establishing a new endowment for the Lori and Eric Sklut Elon Engagement Scholarship.

The Skluts have been a driving force for creating a dynamic program of Jewish life and Jewish studies on Elon’s campus. Through generous gifts, they established the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar Professorship in 2011 and named the Sklut Hillel Center, creating a permanent campus home for Jewish students. The couple also served as inaugural co-chairs of Elon’s Jewish Life Advisory Council and continue to participate actively on the council. Their son, Mason Sklut, is a 2014 Elon graduate.

Eric and Lori Sklut have been impressed by Elon’s commitment to building and sustaining a vibrant program of Jewish life and Jewish studies.

“It’s been exciting to see Jewish life grow at Elon, and we want that to continue,” said Eric Sklut, who has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 2015. “Elon’s very thoughtful and methodical approach to Jewish life and Jewish studies has been transformative, and knowing that the students and faculty wanted that as well has been rewarding.”

“The Elon community is grateful to Eric and Lori Sklut for demonstrating how inspired philanthropy can change lives,” said Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement. “Their generous support of Jewish life and scholarships will help prepare the informed and committed graduates the world needs.”

The Skluts said they expect their recent gift to the professorship will fund opportunities for students to learn more about the Jewish faith and other religious traditions, both in the classroom with faculty and from high-profile speakers brought to campus.

“Some students have never met others of a different faith, so this gift could help start that dialogue among Elon students,” Eric Sklut said. “This will have a powerful impact when students leave Elon and begin to have these conversations in the real world. We want students to be able to address these issues in an intelligent way with an understanding of different faiths. One of our Foundation’s key missions is improving the human condition. This segment is a driving factor for our philanthropy.”

The Skluts are also committed to broadening access to an Elon education, which inspired them to endow the Lori and Eric Sklut Elon Engagement Scholarship.

An important component of Elon’s enrollment strategy, Engagement Scholarships assist high-achieving students eager to take advantage of the university’s renowned engaged learning programs. Once fully funded, the Lori and Eric Sklut Elon Engagement Scholarship will assist two students each year and include a one-time grant for each student to support participation in the Elon Experiences (global study, internships, undergraduate research, service learning or leadership) or a creative project designed by the student.

“I’ve had the opportunity to meet students interested in going to Elon who were gifted,” Sklut said. “Knowing they could only attend a school like Elon through a scholarship made that even more important to us. If you can attract those students, you begin to raise the profile of the Elon student, and you elevate the university’s reputation even further.”

Lori and Eric Sklut are founders and directors of the Levine-Sklut Family Foundation, which supports education, healthcare, faith, human service and children’s programming agencies. The couple have been active supporters of the Foundation of Shalom Park, the UNC Center for Jewish Studies, Hopeway Foundation, Queens University, Carolinas Healthcare, including Levine Children’s Hospital and Levine Cancer Institute, Loaves and Fishes and Hospice.