Long Family gifts childhood home to Elon University

A Burlington home near Elon University will benefit the campus community through the generosity of a local family with a distinguished reputation in North Carolina’s legal and business communities. 

Members of a prominent North Carolina family are enhancing their legacy of support of Elon University through the gift of their childhood home near campus.

Robert E. “Bobby” Long Jr., Elizabeth “Betsy” Long, and Molly Long Macauley – three siblings whose father, the late Robert E. Long, Sr., led a successful 20th century legal practice in Burlington, among his other professional achievements – announced the gift on the eve of the Fall 2021 meeting of the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board.

“This house has so much of my father’s heart in it and it saw so much of my mother’s entertaining,” Betsy Long said. “I have witnessed such unbelievable transformation at Elon in my lifetime. I want this house to mean something, and with what is going on here, our home might be around for a few hundred years.”

Bobby Long is a North Carolina business leader and philanthropist, an Elon University trustee, and a member of the law school’s Advisory Board. He was a key figure and major contributor in the 2004 establishment of Elon Law. Betsy Long has also been a longtime supporter of Elon Law, welcoming members of the law school community into her home.

The Elon Law courtroom in downtown Greensboro, which hosts cases before the North Carolina Business Court, bears their father’s name.

“Elon University’s transformation into a Top 100 national university has been sustained through generous donors and supporters like the Long Family who are committed to our mission,” said Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book. “Gifts such as the Long Family home are a testament to a shared vision and partnership with our neighbors in Alamance County. We are thankful to the Long Family for sharing this special property in support of the ongoing Elon LEADS Campaign.”

From left: Elizabeth “Betsy” Long, David Gergen and Elon University President Connie Book

The Long Family home built by Robert E. Long, Sr., and his wife, Mary Helen Wilson Long, has been a fixture in Burlington for more than half a century.

Robert E. Long graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. After moving to Burlington in 1952, he joined the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, the 15th Judicial District Bar, and he served as president of the Alamance County Bar.

The elder Long was an officer and director of Aeroglide Corporation of Raleigh and several affiliated companies, and he served as president of the Burlington Rotary Club, being named as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. He also served in civic and philanthropic capacities with the Burlington Day School, May Memorial Library and First Presbyterian Church of Burlington where he was a gifted organist.

Long was regular pianist of the Burlington Rotary Club and an occasional pianist for the Alamance Jazz Band.

The late Mary Helen Wilson Long was a native of Raleigh and moved to Burlington at the time of her marriage. She had attended St. Mary’s College and Edgewood Park in New York and nurtured a lifelong passion for golf. Known for her smile and warmth, and described by Betsy Long as “a social butterfly of the universe,” she had five grandchildren and five great grandchildren at the time of her 2019 passing.

The Long’s gift of their longtime family residence was made as part of the Elon LEADS Campaign, the largest campaign in university history.

“This is an important moment for the Long Family, to give this gift to the university,” David Gergen, a former adviser to four U.S. presidents and chair of the Elon University School of Law Advisory Board, said Nov. 9 at the gift announcement on the eve of the board’s Fall 2021 meeting. “It’s indicative of something deeper. The Long family, like so many families, have been exposed to Elon as a teaching agent that has done so well by students for so long. They see there is something very special about what Elon has come to represent.”

About the Elon LEADS Campaign

With a $250 million goal, Elon LEADS is the largest 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, research and internships, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon’s iconic campus. As of mid-October, donors had contributed $228 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. Visit www.elonleads.com to learn how you can make an impact with your gift.