Trustee and alumnus makes generous gift to new STEM facilities

Elon alumnus and Trustee Dr. William N.P. Herbert ’68 and wife Marsha Herbert, of Charlottesville, Virginia, are among the donors making major gifts to the Elon LEADS Campaign to support the university’s planned Innovation Quad.

Elon alumnus and Trustee Dr. William N.P. Herbert ’68 and his wife Marsha Herbert, of Charlottesville, Virginia, continue their devoted support of the university with a major gift to the Elon LEADS Campaign. Their commitment will support the planned Innovation Quad, an exciting project to advance Elon’s STEM programs.

Elon Trustee Dr. William N.P. Herbert ’68

The Herberts’ gift will also support The Madaline Cates Herbert ’31 Memorial Scholarship, which was created in 2019 to honor Bill Herbert’s mother, who was an Elon alumna. The scholarship will assist students who are eager to participate in the university’s renowned engaged learning programs called the Elon Experiences.

President Connie Ledoux Book thanked the Herberts for their ongoing support of the Elon LEADS Campaign, which will secure a historic $250 million in new resources to support scholarships for graduates the world needs, access to the Elon Experiences, faculty and staff mentors who matter and the university’s iconic campus.

“The Elon community is indebted to Bill and Marsha Herbert for their steadfast commitment to providing outstanding opportunities for Elon students,” Book said. “Their generous support of the Innovation Quad will help solidify Elon’s national leadership in STEM education, which is vital to preparing graduates who see challenges as opportunities to innovate and to lead.”

Bill Herbert said he and Marsha are excited to continue supporting Elon LEADS and the Innovation Quad in particular, which represents Elon’s future.

“We need to promote the whole STEM and engineering area because the world is changing rapidly, and we need to prepare our students to thrive in it,” Herbert says. “Marsha and I think it’s wonderful, and we have every confidence Elon will do a great job with it.”

Elon’s focus on STEM programs resonated with Herbert, a retired physician who served for more than three decades at some of the nation’s top hospitals, including Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He retired in 2011 as professor of obstetrics and gynecology and chair of the department at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

“I think this project is going to be very appealing to students as they look ahead and decide where to go to school,” Herbert says. “I look forward to seeing it evolve and unfold.”

Bill Herbert has served on Elon’s Board of Trustees since 1996 and is a former board chair. He is the recipient of Elon’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award and the Elon Medallion, the university’s highest honor recognizing service to the university.

The Herberts have been devoted donors to Elon through the decades, contributing to scholarships, Phoenix athletics, Rhodes Stadium, science programs, the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center, The Inn at Elon, Elon Law annual scholarship fund and the Elon Academy college access and success program. In 2016, the Herberts established the James G. McClure, Jr. ’68 Memorial Scholarship to honor Bill’s late friend and classmate. The couple are members of Elon’s Order of the Oak, recognizing donors who make estate or other planned gifts to the university.

“When I was in school, I needed scholarships and loans,” Herbert recalls. “So if we can help students get some aid from our resources, we are happy to do that. Marsha and I love Elon. It’s done so well and it’s fun to be part of something that is thriving.”

The Innovation Quad: Charting a Bold Future

Rendering of Innovation Quad facilities

The Innovation Quad, or IQ, will connect the university’s STEM programs to other disciplines across campus, including business, entrepreneurship, analytics, sales and communications. The first two buildings, called IQ1 and IQ2, will be located between the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center and Richard W. Sankey Hall, linking STEM education, the sciences and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business.

The Innovation Quad will be the new home of Elon’s engineering and physics departments, with construction anticipated to begin in 2021. The IQ is among the top priorities of the Elon LEADS Campaign and Boldly Elon, the university’s new 10-year strategic plan, which calls for advancing existing STEM programs, adding new STEM offerings and expanding science facilities.

The first two buildings represent the heart of the IQ and constitute the initial phase of a long-term investment by Elon into science, creativity and discovery that will be accessible to all students, regardless of their major. Future phases will include academic and residence halls, as well as a series of incubators and design hubs that will foster cross-disciplinary studies and collaboration.

Rendering of IQ1 Assembly and Design Lab

Plans for the IQ1 facility include 20,000 square feet for large workshops and prefabrication spaces where physics and engineering students and faculty can take big ideas and transform them into prototypes. The two-story building will be the backbone of Elon’s growing engineering curriculum, which is now a four-year program. The facility will include design labs for engineering and physics, a mechatronics classroom, prefabrication labs, an astrophysics lab and student engagement spaces to spark innovation.

IQ2 will provide connected classrooms and labs, group study rooms and faculty offices. The three-story, 40,000-square-foot facility will be the home for cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary studies and research in biomedicine, computer science, physics, biophysics and environmental engineering. The facility will face McMichael Science Center on one side and Sankey Hall on the other, solidifying the connection of science to entrepreneurship, sales, design thinking and analytics.

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, increase access to engaged learning opportunities such as study abroad, research and service-learning, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic campus. As of May 11, donors had contributed $191 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