The Biscuitville founder received the Elon Medallion in 2006 and served as an Elon trustee from 1978 to 1998. He passed away Saturday, Sept. 19, at the age of 86.
Elon University Trustee emeritus Maurice Jennings ’57, one of Elon’s most loyal alumni and friends, died Saturday, Sept. 19, at the age of 86.
Throughout his life, Jennings served his community and the university in a variety of capacities while building the successful Biscuitville restaurant chain. He chaired the Presidential Board of Advisers in the mid-1970s before joining the Board of Trustees in 1978. After 20 years of active service, he was elected trustee emeritus in 1998. He was also an active booster in the community, working with civic organizations such as the YMCA and Rotary clubs in Burlington and Greensboro.
“We will be forever grateful to Maurice for the leadership role he played in advancing our university,” President Connie Ledoux Book said. “His lasting impact on the campus will be felt for generations to come.”
As an Elon trustee, Jennings helped lead important campus initiatives, including the major fundraising campaign for the Center for the Arts and the campaign to fund Elon University School of Law. He and his late wife, Linda, were founding donors to the law school along with his son, trustee Maurice “Burney” Jennings Jr. ‘87 and his daughter-in-law Dina Jennings ‘87. Together, the family made a gift to endow the Jennings Professor of Law professorship to support the school’s mission of enhancing civic engagement and leadership in the legal profession.
The Jennings family also made a major gift to Schar Center in 2016 to name one of the video boards and one of Elon’s loveliest spots, Lake Mary Nell, is named for Maurice’s daughter. Three of his grandchildren are Elon alumni – Tricia Teter ’13, Gordon Teter ’18 and Bailey Jennings Golmont’18.
Maurice Jennings was born in Georgia and moved to North Carolina when he was a child. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and then attended Elon College. Perhaps best known to students and members of the Elon community for his involvement with Biscuitville, his entrepreneurial spirit stretches back to 1966. That’s when he started Mountainbrook Fresh Bread & Milk. As a former flour broker, making bread was a natural fit for him, so he opened two bread stores in Burlington, N.C. He soon decided to try making fresh pizzas, and by 1972 there were six pizza restaurants that eventually became known as Pizzaville.
It wasn’t long before Jennings started making biscuits from scratch to keep the pizza ovens working during the day. When biscuit sales started surpassing pizza sales, he converted all Pizzavilles to Biscuitvilles and opened the first Biscuitville in 1975 in Danville, Va. In 1996, Maurice turned control of the business over to Burney Jennings. The company now includes more than 60 locations in North Carolina and Virginia.
For his service and commitment to Elon, Jennings received the university’s highest honor, the Elon Medallion, in 2006. The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association also honored him earlier this spring with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Perhaps more importantly, he has enjoyed the admiration of countless alumni who over the decades made it a tradition to visit a Biscuitville when they returned to visit campus.