Elon honors Schar Center donors for their support of convocation center

During a donor appreciation event on the arena's main floor on Friday, Elon celebrated the generosity and vision of the nearly 30 families, individuals and businesses whose gifts made the convocation center possible. 

Elon University on Friday celebrated the donors whose support for the new Schar Center allowed the new facility to go from being an entry in the university’s strategic plan a decade ago to becoming a top-notch convocation center able to host history-making events like Thursday’s presidential inauguration.

The nearly 30 families, individuals and businesses who helped make the 161,000-square-foot, 5,100-seat Schar Center a reality gathered on the arena floor for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to recognize their transformative gifts.

In her remarks to open the event, President Book recalled the origins of the Schar Center when work on Elon’s strategic plan was underway a decade ago. At that time, the vision was to create a facility where the entire Elon family could gather for convocations, commencement and athletic events. 

She recalled how at her inauguration on Thursday how powerful it was to walk up to the podium in the Schar Center, a place that had been just been a vision years ago. “I felt overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for our community’s vision and ability to execute,” Book said. “How powerful for our community to be gathered in one space yesterday celebrating Elon.”

Ed Doherty, chair of the Board of Trustees, also emphasized how impressive the Schar Center is and the impact it has on visitors who walk through its doors for the first time. “You cannot walk into this building without being awestruck,” Doherty said.

Book offered a specific thanks to Dwight and Martha Schar and their sons, Stuart ’16 and Spencer ’19, whose support was integral to the construction of Schar Hall, an expansion of the School of Communications that opened in 2016, and to Schar Center. “Because of their generosity and vision, we are standing today in a beautiful convocation center that bears their name,” Book said. “We are deeply grateful for your generosity and your outstanding commitment to the Elon community.”

The Schar Center will serve as a venue for convocations, speakers and other major campus events. It is the new home court for Elon’s basketball and volleyball teams, with triple the space of Alumni Memorial Gymnasium, and include a practice facility with two full courts, hospitality room, club-level seating and high-definition video boards.

Schar Center is also home to a video production suite that allows broadcasts of athletics events from venues around campus to be produced in one central location.

Along with serving as the venue of President Book’s inauguration on Thursday, an event that drew thousands of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, Schar Center will host the Harlem Globetrotters on Nov. 1. Elon’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their first home games in Schar Center next month, with each team hosting the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A “top-notch facility,” the Schar Center will forever have an impact on student-athletes and the entire Elon community by providing a common space for visitors to cheer on sports teams, listen to speakers, celebrate student accomplishments at commencement and a whole host of other types of events, Book said.

“What a stunning facility you’ve given us,” Book said to the donors.

Dave Blank, director of athletics, also offered his thanks to the donors, whose lead gift was crucial to building broader support for the project.

“With the Schars’ generosity, the project gathered momentum for many of you who are here today that allowed this to become a reality for us,” Blank said. “Today is our day. The impact of the Schar Center on our university and on our athletic department will be tremendous for years to come.”

Donors honored at Friday’s event

Dwight & Martha Schar

Howard & Beverly Arner

Reid & Suzanne Campbell

Tom & Lynn Chandler

Chandler Concrete

Sue Chinworth

Chip & Meg Clark

Mike & Mary Ellen Cross

The Curry Family

Jim & Joan Drummond

Wes & Cathy Elingburg

Allen & Denise Gant

Ken & Malinda Gill

Glen Raven, Inc.

Sam & Vicky Hunt

R. Samuel Hunt IV

Burney & Dina Jennings

Maurice Jennings, Sr.

Rich & Laurie Johnson

The Koury Family

Mark & Kelly McDonald

John & Emily McDonald

Furman & Susan Moseley

C. Ashton Newhall & Family

Zack & Britten Pund

Jeanne & Jerry Robertson

Michael & Angie Simon

Chris & Fran Teter

Grayson & Connie Whitt