The building dedication during Homecoming offered the opportunity to express gratitude for supporters of the project including Elon parents Jim and Beth Sankey of Charlotte, N.C. The building is named for Jim Sankey's father, a business leader in Canton, Ohio, who passed away in 2013.
The Elon community gathered in front of Richard W. Sankey Hall on Friday to officially dedicate the facility that offers a new home to a variety of programs available to students across the campus along with expanded classroom and office space.
The gathering offered an opportunity to express thanks to dozens of donors who made the three-story, 30,000-square-foot building possible, with special appreciation for Elon parents Jim and Beth Sankey and their family, who offered the lead gift. Richard W. Sankey Hall bears the name of Jim Sankey’s father, a business leader in Canton, Ohio, who passed away in 2013.
Built on what was the north end of the McMichael Science Center parking lot, Sankey Hall is home to the Doherty Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Chandler Family Professional Sales Center, a Design Thinking Center and Financial Education Center — all programs and facilities that serve students in every major, school and college. The building offers new classroom and office space, along with a wealth of spaces for students and faculty to come together and collaborate.
“These services and centers combined with classrooms and teambuilding spaces create a powerful backdrop for problem-solving and creative teamwork,” President Connie Ledoux Book said. “You have forever improved Elon University.”
Sankey Hall opened at the start of the academic year in August and quickly began buzzing with activity from students, faculty and staff. Designed to mirror the modern workplace, Sankey Hall features exposed building components, glass walls and vertical writing surfaces. The second and third floors feature technology-infused classrooms, faculty offices and conference rooms, with each of the three floors offering ample student breakout spaces and locations for student-faculty engagement.
One of the building’s steel beams bears the signatures of members of the Sankey Family, other donors and members of the university community, all inked at a site dedication held a little more than a year ago.
In his remarks, Jim Sankey said the new building will undoubtedly help instill in the students it serves the values that made his father the man he was. A veteran who was a “self-made guy,” Richard Sankey was a 44-year-old father of three children when he started his own company, the first in what would be a variety of successful business ventures in manufacturing and packaging. “It really took a lot of guts,” said Sankey, a former Elon trustee.
His father believed in entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system, and was not afraid to take risks, Sankey said. He believed in treating everyone honestly and fairly and in setting a good example for his children and for his employees.
“I hope these are the same types of values that this business school teaches these students for many years to come,” Sankey said. “The Sankey family is really proud to be a part of this. We love the university and wanted to be able to give something back.”
Joining Jim and Beth Sankey were Jim’s mother, Dorothy, and the couple’s children: Clay and his wife, Amanda, both members of the Class of 2012; and Wes, a 2013 graduate. Their daughter, Brooke, is a member of the Class of 2020 and is currently studying abroad.
Driving the design for the building was the theme of “building relationships,” said Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, who along his wife, Rekha, supported Sankey Hall. Students expressed the need for areas to gather outside of class, easy access to faculty offices and a feel that was “not too corporate,” Tadepalli said. Now come to fruition, Sankey Hall embodies all those characteristics.
“There’s no doubt Sankey Hall is a beautiful building and I predict in the years ahead, students will remember it as the building where they formed lasting relationships with other students and their professors,” Tadepalli said. “Your generosity will change the lives of our students for the better, and for this, on behalf of my faculty and colleagues, I say, ‘thank you.'”