Simon Foundation gift supports Innovation Quad

Foundation with strong family ties to Elon makes $130,000 gift toward construction of game-changing facility for STEM and interdisciplinary studies. The gift is the second by the foundation for the IQ project and also supports the Elon LEADS campaign.

Elon has received a $130,000 gift from the William E. Simon Foundation supporting construction of the university’s planned Innovation Quad, the game-changing future hub for cross-disciplinary studies involving STEM education and the future home for Elon’s engineering and physics departments.

This gift is the second from the Simon Foundation to support the Innovation Quad project, which includes two buildings in its first phase. A groundbreaking for the IQ is expected to be this spring. Based in New York, the Simon Foundation is a family philanthropic organization founded by the late William E. Simon and Carol Simon. Three of their grandchildren are either Elon graduates or current students whose love for Elon inspired this gift.

Amy Allred, senior program officer for the Simon Foundation said the organization has strong family ties with Elon. Typically, the foundation supports K-12 education initiatives and made an exception by supporting Elon’s Innovation Quad.

“The Innovation Quad sounds amazing,” Allred said, noting the interdisciplinary aspect of the programs that will be housed there. “So many of the grandchildren think so highly of Elon that we thought that this is an excellent program to support.”

The Innovation Quad is among the top priorities of the $250 million Elon LEADS Campaign and Boldly Elon, the university’s 10-year strategic plan, which calls for advancing existing STEM programs, adding new STEM programs and expanding science facilities.

Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, praised the Simon family and its foundation’s history of philanthropy toward educational programs at Elon and around the nation. The Innovation Quad is a bold step forward and she thanked the family foundation for its support of STEM studies and students at Elon.

“I very much appreciate the support provided by the William E. Simon Foundation and their longstanding commitment to advancing education. The Innovation Quad will serve as a doorway into to Elon’s future educational accomplishments – a hub of creative collaboration across academic disciplines, community and corporate partners,” Smith said. “We are excited to break ground on the first two buildings in the Innovation Quad this spring term.”

The first two buildings of the Innovation Quad will be located between the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center and Richard W. Sankey Hall, creating a powerful connecting point between STEM education, the sciences and the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. This will be the heart of the IQ and constitutes 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 corporate-sponsored incubators and design hubs that will foster cross-disciplinary studies and collaboration.

IQ1 has been named Founders Hall following a lead gift from Elon alumnus Furman Moseley ’56 and his wife, Susan, whose commitment is among the largest ever received by the university. Plans for the 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 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. It 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.

Plans to move the engineering and physics programs to the IQ will pave the way for renovation of McMichael Science Center to support the growth in the university’s biology, chemistry, health and environmental studies programs.

The Simon Foundation has previously made gifts to support the Innovation Quad, Elon’s Odyssey Scholarship Program and other financial aid efforts such as the Students First initiative, created to help students experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

William Simon was an entrepreneur, business and financial leader, and philanthropist who served as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1974 to 1977 and as president of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1981 to 1985. He died in 2000 and his wife, Carol, passed away in 1995. Their granddaughters include Maddie Morris, a 2019 Elon alumna, and students Gigi Munro ’21 and Lola Munro ’23.

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. To date, donors have contributed $203 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