Gift from Elon family creates dynamic team-teaching course in religious studies

John and Kristin Replogle P’18 of Raleigh, North Carolina, made the endowment gift in honor of their daughter’s transformative experience at Elon.

A unique endowment gift from an Elon family will create a team-teaching course in Elon’s Department of Religious Studies, starting in the spring of 2021.

John and Kristin Replogle P’18 of Raleigh made the generous gift to establish the Elizabeth “Tate” Replogle Endowment for Team Teaching in Religious Studies in honor of their daughter, who graduated from Elon in 2018 with a degree in religious studies.

The endowment will be used to support one course in the Department of Religious Studies each year that will be co-taught by two faculty members. Team teaching creates a dynamic and interactive learning atmosphere that offers students a variety of viewpoints from different perspectives. It also allows faculty members to engage in new ways of teaching and inspires intellectual partnerships. Support for faculty and staff mentors who matter is one of the priorities of the Elon LEADS fundraising campaign.

The Replogles served on Elon’s Parents Council, including a term as co-chairs, while Tate was a student. They were impressed with the Religious Studies Department, its faculty and the impact it had on their daughter, who recently celebrated her first year with the Peace Corps in Albania.

“Tate had an amazing experience in religious studies. Amy Allocco (associate professor of Religious Studies) was a great mentor and research partner with Tate during her time at Elon,” John Replogle says. “We wanted to do something to honor her time there. She thought it best to do something in religious studies.”

Kristin Replogle says that as a student, her daughter was heavily involved in the Elon Experiences engaged learning programs, especially service learning and study abroad. She was a Periclean Scholar and traveled for studies to India, Greece and Africa. Her experiences in India, along with taking Allocco’s course called “Hindu Goddesses,” led Tate to focus her undergraduate research with Allocco on a particular Hindu goddess festival.

“Tate was inspired by the Elon Experiences. She was very focused on service learning and volunteerism at Elon,” Allocco says. “She’s a very ambitious and engaged person, and she wanted to do undergraduate research. She approached me and asked if I would mentor her and I said ‘Yes.’”

Allocco and Tate Replogle met one-on-one weekly to discuss her research project. Allocco offered a lot of feedback about the project. But the two also talked about a wide range of subjects.

“Equally important to the learning was sitting one-on-one in conversation. That’s how I got to really know Tate,” Allocco says. “Our conversations provided a context for a really meaningful exchange. The meetings provided an opportunity, a catalyst, to talk not only about the research project but also about other things, including what Tate wanted to do after graduation. I saw Tate grow.”

Allocco says she’s very proud of all Tate has accomplished and is humbled by the Replogle family’s decision to create a “super unique” endowment for team teaching in religious studies. “We’re in awe of the generosity of the Replogles. The endowment is fabulous. We’re absolutely grateful.”

Faculty in the Religious Studies Department experimented with team teaching a few years ago with great success. Students strongly endorsed the class and the faculty members said the experience opened them to new ways of thinking, Allocco says.

“The students are part of the dialogue between two professors. It provides multiple ways of approaching and thinking about any given subject. It forces students—and faculty members—to reconsider assumptions,” Allocco says. “There is no doubt that it’s important, even critical, for students to engage religious diversity as part of an Elon education. The courses that will be made possible through the Replogles’ endowment will prepare students to meaningfully participate and successfully navigate a religiously plural world.”

The Replogles liked the idea as well. “It’s an incredible opportunity for students to learn from dual faculty members. It also gives the faculty members a chance to collaborate and work together. It feels truly Elon, it’s an authentic experience,” John Replogle says.

Each year, the team-teaching course will focus on a new subject with different faculty members. The first course, “Food and Religion,” is scheduled for the spring of 2021 and will be co-taught by Allocco and L.D. Russell, senior lecturer in religious studies. Students will study the role of food in religious traditions globally and locally and have access to a demo kitchen on campus so that they can cook together as part of the course.

Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, thanks John and Kristin Replogle for their dedication to Elon.

“Their first example of generosity has been in sharing their daughter with us and entrusting the faculty in the college to mentor Tate,” Smith says. “Their contributions through ongoing service and leadership at the institution are so valued and impressive. John and Kristin’s commitment to investing in the experience of future Elon students is powerful.”

The Replogles have a long history of philanthropy in the fields of education, health, housing and the arts. Previously, they have given generously to Elon’s Greatest Needs, scholarships and the Inn at Elon. John Replogle currently serves as chair of Elon’s Engineering Advisory Board. He is the founder and partner at One Better Ventures. Kristin Replogle is president of the Replogle Family Foundation.

The couple says they are committed to staying involved with Elon.

“We feel that the best is yet to come for Elon,” John Replogle says. “If you simply look at the trajectory of everything that’s occurring—its student-centered focus, the distinction it receives for all facets of learning and engaged learning, its national ranking, the pulse and feel on campus, the vision of the board and the strength of the leadership team. Kristin and I often think about philanthropy not as a gift but as an investment. As an investor, you want to back winning teams. Elon is run by a winning team.”

About 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 and service learning, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic campus. To date, donors have contributed $181 million toward the goal.

Every gift to the university—including annual, endowment, capital, estate and other planned gifts—for any designation 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