Alumni, parents and friends make generous gifts to The Inn at Elon

More than 25 donors have stepped forward to name a room at the new boutique hotel, which is scheduled to open in early January on Elon’s campus.

Christian Wiggins ’03 first started hearing about a possible hotel on the Elon University campus nearly a decade ago. He watched interest grow as talk turned into planning and construction for what is now called The Inn at Elon, which is scheduled to open in January. He thought developing an inn on campus was a good idea, but he was really drawn to how revenue generated by its guests will be used.

“I knew the excitement surrounding The Inn firsthand,” says Wiggins, who serves as CEO of Farmhouse International Fraternity, as well as president of his own consulting firm, both based in Kansas City, Missouri. “I was really excited when I heard it would be a revenue generator for the university with those revenues going into scholarships for students. This was an opportunity to invest in something that pays off immediately.”

A rendering of a room at the Inn at Elon, now under construction.

As the Inn at Elon heads into its final weeks before completion, Wiggins and more than 25 other alumni, parents and friends of the university have stepped forward to make gifts to name one of the 70 rooms at The Inn, solidifying their legacy at Elon. They were eager to take advantage of an initiative that allows them to make a gift toward construction of The Inn and support scholarships for students. The Inn is owned by the university endowment with all revenue going back into an endowment to fund scholarships.

Many donors named rooms to honor their families, their students or beloved professors, administrators or coaches.

For Wiggins, a first-generation college student who grew up in rural North Carolina, providing access for students was a driving factor for his gift, which touches two of the top priorities of the Elon LEADS fundraising campaign—increasing support for scholarships and Elon’s iconic campus facilities. Wiggins has previously supported scholarships at Elon as well as the Gender and LGBTQIA Center, men’s basketball and the Phoenix Club.

“The Inn serves a population of students that might not have access to Elon otherwise and that’s important to me,” Wiggins said. “If The Inn performs like it should, that’s a good opportunity for long-term donors to make a scholarship gift to the university.”

The Inn at Elon, located beside the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center near the traffic circle at Phoenix Drive and O’Kelly Avenue, features a total of 80 rooms, including 70 rooms and 10 suites. The boutique hotel will have an upscale restaurant and lounge, “The Mark,” and other amenities like a fitness room, event spaces, and a ballroom. It is managed by Charlestown Hotels, a hospitality management company in Charleston, South Carolina.

George J. Kilroy ’73 says The Inn is the kind of facility Elon has needed for a long time. He and wife Margaret Kilroy are among those donors who made a room-naming gift. Kilroy, of Towson, Maryland, is retired from PHH Arval. He’s a longtime supporter of Elon with previous gifts toward scholarships, Elon Academy, Alumni Field House, men’s basketball and Phoenix Club.

Kilroy says he discussed the potential for a hotel on campus many times with previous university president and now President Emeritus Leo M. Lambert. He pointed out that other major institutions in North Carolina had such destinations on or near their campuses, including the Carolina Inn at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Washington Duke Inn at Duke University.

“Most of these schools have a place for people to go who visit the school who would like to stay at the school as well. I think Elon has made a wise decision here,” Kilroy says. “There were a number of times I mentioned it to Dr. Lambert and so, when Elon decided to go in, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and go in.”

Elon parent Pam Vinson likes the sense of home a hotel on campus fosters for alumni. Her son Michael graduated from Elon in 2007. She is a longtime supporter of the university with previous gifts to the Numen Lumen Pavilion, scholarships, the School of Communications, Love School of Business and Elon’s Greatest Needs.

“I thought it was such a great concept to have the hotel right on campus. Chapel Hill has the Carolina Inn and we would stay there when we would go to football games with our parents,” says Vinson, of Wilmington, North Carolina. “It is important to have such a nice place on campus for alumni to come back, have reunions and more fellowship time.”

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For Cam Tims ’00, The Inn serves many needs for Elon, but the “underpinning of it is scholarships.” Tims, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and works in Product Management with BB&T, is also a longtime and generous supporter of the university with gifts toward scholarships and athletics.

Tims grew up in Mississippi and one of the reasons he decided to attend Elon was the availability of a scholarship.

“I have always appreciated the direction the university takes to grow the endowment for student scholarships,” Tims says. “The funding model around The Inn was very interesting and at its core is student scholarships. That made giving to this project more important to me.”

Jim Piatt, vice president for University Advancement, said the devotion to the university and its students by so many Elon alumni, families and friends is inspiring. “Elon leads through the heart and commitment of those closest to us. We are thankful for this support for student scholarships and another iconic venue on campus.”

Wiggins likes the room-naming program because it may inspire others to give. “A lot of people in my age group think, ‘Well, I can’t give a million dollars,’ but they can give something. You can still make a difference over a period of a few years whether it’s this project or another one. Maybe someone will say ‘Gosh, this is reachable for my family.’”

The generous donors who have made gifts to name one of the 70 rooms include:

  • Harold W. and Jackie M. Hawkey P’18 P’21
  • Rich ’95 and Julie Salvatierra
  • Dolores Hagan Truitt ’53 P’85
  • Rachel Southmayd Campbell ’13 and David A. Campbell ’13
  • Charles L. and Laura D. Barnes P’20
  • Jane Link Ferguson P’20
  • Robert A. and Michelle Bruggeworth P’18
  • Harris and Debi Gellman P’22
  • Christian A. Wiggins ’03
  • Pamela Brown Vinson P’07
  • George J. Kilroy ’73 and Margaret Kilroy
  • Keith A. and Kathryn S. Harsh P’18 P’22
  • Jonathan C. and Ann E. Wright P’22
  • George R. and Marla R. Theofel P’22
  • Wesley R. and Cathy S. Elingburg P’11
  • Cam Tims ’00
  • Nancy Turner Watson ’66
  • Gordon K. and Erin G. Kapes P’19

For more information on supporting The Inn at Elon, please contact Brian Baker, Associate Vice President for University Advancement, at 336.278.7453 or

About The Elon LEADS Campaign

Increasing funding for scholarships and building upon our iconic campus are among the main funding priorities of the Elon LEADS Campaign. With a $250 million goal, Elon LEADS is the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history and will support four main funding priorities: scholarships for graduates the world needs, access to engaged-learning opportunities such as study abroad, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic campus. To date, donors have contributed $176 million toward the overall goal.

Every gift to the university—including annual, endowment, capital, estate and other planned gifts—counts as a gift to the campaign, which will support students and strengthen Elon for generations to come. To learn more about how you can make an impact, visit