The generous gifts from Elon parents John and Kristin Replogle P’18 and Wolfspeed, Inc., to the Innovation Quad will help provide premier facilities for physics, engineering and other STEM fields at Elon. Their gifts are part of the $250 million Elon LEADS Campaign.
Elon parents John and Kristin Replogle P’18, of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Wolfspeed, Inc., a global leader in Silicon Carbide and GaN technologies, have come together to make generous gifts to support Elon’s Innovation Quad. The IQ will lay the foundation for dynamic, multidisciplinary STEM education at Elon with links to business, entrepreneurship, the sciences and humanities. The IQ is one of the top priorities of the $250 million Elon LEADS Campaign.
In addition to supporting construction of the Innovation Quad, the gifts will establish the Wolfspeed Scholarship to assist students in Elon’s Engineering Scholars program, a selective, merit-based program for engineering majors. Preference for the scholarship will be given to students who are the first in their families to attend college or who otherwise bring diversity to the Engineering Scholars program and/or Elon’s student body. Scholars will receive a one-time global study grant and internship opportunities at Wolfspeed following their sophomore year.
Scheduled to open in August 2022, the first two buildings of the Innovation Quad, Founders Hall and IQ2, represent the heart of the IQ and the initial phase of a long-term investment by Elon into science, creativity and discovery that will be available to students in any major.
“On behalf of the Elon community, I want to thank the Replogle family and Wolfspeed for their partnership and investment in the Innovation Quad,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “Providing resources for outstanding facilities, scholarships and internships will enable Elon students to make significant contributions to society through innovation in STEM.”
As founding chair and current member of Elon’s Engineering Advisory Board, John Replogle has had a front-row seat to planning for the IQ and the university’s four-year engineering program. That vantage point combined with Elon’s commitment to cross-disciplinary studies between STEM, science and business inspired the couple’s gift.
“How exciting to have a blank canvas to bring a new program and facility alive. For me, that was an exciting and creative process,” Replogle said. “The IQ is foundational to really elevate Elon’s excellence in STEM. Just as Elon is at the top echelon when it comes to areas like communications and business, my hope is the engineering program and IQ will catapult Elon to a top echelon in STEM.”
Replogle is impressed with Elon’s growing four-year engineering program, which is a cornerstone to STEM studies.
“With liberal arts at our core, we’re going to develop a different kind of engineer, one that is a great engineer generalist who has the ability to bring cross-disciplinary thinking to problem-solving,” Replogle said. “I think that’s an exciting brand of engineering that is distinctive to Elon. I also think engineering at Elon creates better human beings.”
Replogle serves on the board at Wolfspeed, formerly known as Cree, and shared his excitement for the IQ and engineering at Elon with company CEO Gregg Lowe. Lowe said he was motivated to join the Replogles in “investing in the next generation of thinkers” at Elon.
“Our company grew out of a lab on a college campus, so we understand the importance of enabling curiosity, risk-taking and creative thinking in young adults,” Lowe said. “We believe the Innovation Quad’s emphasis on expanding experiential learning for students will create talented and informed young professionals who will become our industry’s next leaders. We plan to further support these efforts by connecting students and graduates to internship and new grad positions with us at Wolfspeed, where we know they will add value to our teams with their innovative spirit and enthusiasm.”
Lowe also understands the importance of the Wolfspeed Scholarship in broadening access to Elon.
“Higher education is an extraordinary investment and for some, a heavy burden that may impact a student’s ability to take advantage of all of the opportunities it has to offer,” Lowe said. “We hope our contribution will enable more students to have educational experiences that may otherwise be inaccessible to them.”
Wolfspeed has been an engaged corporate partner with Elon’s Student Professional Development Center since 2019, offering internships to students and attending the university’s career fairs. Lowe is eager to deepen that partnership at a time of rapid growth at Wolfspeed, driven by the acceleration of the markets they serve, including electric vehicles, renewable energy, 5G and a broad spectrum of industrial applications.
“In addition to technology and capacity investments, we are investing in bringing aboard the people and brain power our company will need to execute on our vision and to be successful,” Lowe said. “We are constantly striving to educate the next generation by increasing opportunities for students in STEM education that prepare them for employment opportunities in technology. We look forward to personally connecting with some of Elon’s students and learning from their novel perspectives and insights.”
Brooke Buffington, director of Elon’s Student Professional Development Center, said she’s thrilled by the opportunity to deepen connections with Wolfspeed.
“Corporate partners like Wolfspeed are an integral part of maintaining the success that our students achieve post-graduation,” Buffington said. “Engineering continues to be one of the most in-demand fields in the nation, and internships are an essential part of preparing students for highly sought-after careers in STEM.”
The Innovation Quad: A Transformative Investment in Elon’s Future
The IQ is located between the Dalton L. McMichael Sr. Science Center, Richard W. Sankey Hall and the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center, solidifying connections between STEM and the sciences, entrepreneurship, sales, design thinking and analytics.
Founders Hall was made possible following a naming gift from Elon alumnus Furman Moseley ’56 and his wife, Susan Moseley, who are among the university’s most generous donors. The 20,000-square-foot building is designed to enable engineering students and faculty to transform bold ideas into prototypes. It will include multiple laboratories, including those for design, advanced prototyping, astrophysics, prefabrication, mechatronics and virtual reality. A two-story assembly space will be a hub for innovation and the backbone of Elon’s engineering curriculum.
The three-story, 40,000-square-foot IQ2 will be the home for cross-disciplinary studies, equipment and research in biomedicine, computer science, physics and robotics. The facility also features cutting-edge flexible classrooms for biophysics and physics, and laboratory space for core engineering courses, bioinstrumentation, environmental engineering research, biomedical and environmental labs. Future phases of the IQ will include academic and residence halls, as well as a series of corporate-sponsored incubators and design hubs that will deepen cross-disciplinary studies and collaboration.
In addition to being a key priority of the Elon LEADS Campaign, the IQ is central to the objectives of Boldly Elon, the university’s 10-year strategic plan.
About the Donors
Former chairs of Elon’s Parents Council, Kristin and John Replogle have a long history of philanthropy in the fields of education, health, housing and the arts. In addition to their IQ gift, they have contributed to Elon’s Greatest Needs and made a gift to name the reception space at The Inn at Elon. In 2020, the couple established 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. After making a generous estate gift, the Replogles became members of Order of the Oak, Elon’s planned giving society.
John is the founder and partner at Raleigh-based One Better Ventures, which advises, invests in and develops consumer brands with sustainable business models, including Burt’s Bees and Seventh Generation. He regularly engages with students on campus as a guest speaker and together with Kristin has hosted summer welcome events for new Elon families in the Raleigh area. Kristin Replogle serves as president of the Replogle Family Foundation.
Wolfspeed leads the market in the worldwide adoption of Silicon Carbide and GaN technologies, providing industry-leading solutions for efficient energy consumption and a sustainable future. Wolfspeed’s product families include Silicon Carbide materials, power-switching devices and RF devices targeted for various applications such as electric vehicles, fast charging, 5G, renewable energy and storage, and aerospace and defense.
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 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 March 21, donors had contributed $242 million toward the overall 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 www.elonleads.com.