Leaving an enduring legacy at Elon inspired the Jennings family to join A Will to Lead, a special initiative of the Elon LEADS Campaign to enable donors to secure Elon's future by placing the university in their estate plans.
Elon Trustee Burney Jennings ’87 P’18 and his wife Dina Blake Jennings ’87 P’18, of Greensboro, North Carolina, have made a generous estate gift to support the Dina B. ’87 and Burney Jennings ’87 Scholarship, which the couple endowed in 2008 to make an Elon education possible for students with financial need. Their gift is part of A Will to Lead, a special opportunity of the Elon LEADS Campaign that has inspired donors to provide long-term funding for the university through their estate.
“It’s appealing to us to leave a legacy of giving back to others and that’s why I like that the funds will support the scholarship we created in 2008,” Burney Jennings said. “It feels good to know that when we are no longer here, there will be a very nice fund for students to be able to attend Elon who might not otherwise have been able to.”
“We love Elon and what it’s doing,” Dina Jennings said. “We also want to lead by example and show our children how important it is to give back to others. There are people who want to attend Elon as their first-choice school and can’t because of finances, and we wanted to make it easier on their families.”
“Through their generous estate gift, Dina and Burney Jennings are demonstrating the essential role alumni play in stewarding Elon’s future,” said President Connie Ledoux Book. “Our community is grateful to the Jennings family for their unwavering loyalty to Elon.”
The Jennings family has deep roots at Elon that span four generations. Burney’s maternal grandfather, Clyde W. Gordon, Sr., graduated from Elon in 1926 and served on the Board of Trustees. Burney’s father, the late Maurice N. Jennings, Sr. ’57 P’87 GP’18, was an Elon Trustee from 1978 to 1998 when he was elected trustee emeritus. Maurice Jennings founded Biscuitville in 1966 and along with his wife, Linda, was one of Elon’s most devoted donors.
Burney Jennings led the family-owned franchise as president and CEO from 1997 to 2021 when he transitioned to his current role as executive chairman. The couple’s daughter, Bailey Jennings Golmont, is a member of Elon’s Class of 2018. Burney’s sister, Elon parent Fran Teter P’13 P’18, husband Chris Teter P’13 P’18 and their children Tricia Teter ’13 and Gordon Teter ’18, are also part of the Elon family.
Burney and Dina are among Elon’s most committed benefactors. In 2008, Burney made a gift along with his father to establish the Jennings Professorship of Law at the Elon University School of Law to support the school’s mission of enhancing civic engagement and leadership in the legal profession. The couple has also made generous gifts to the Ernest A. Koury Sr. Business Center to name a third-floor classroom, Schar Center, where one of the large video boards bears the Biscuitville name, and to establish the Jennings Emerging Scholar Fund. They are members of Order of the Oak, which recognizes donors who make estate and other planned gifts to Elon.
Over the years, the couple has seen firsthand how carefully Elon stewards its financial resources, including philanthropic gifts.
“Elon does a really good job with the money it has,” Burney said. “A gift to Elon goes a lot further and makes a big difference in what the school can do for students. I have confidence in the leadership at Elon to know this money will be used properly.”
The couple is delighted by Elon’s continued ascent and recognition as the national leader in engaged, experiential learning, which was pivotal to their education.
“Elon helped shape who I am today,” Dina said. “I knew my professors and didn’t feel like I was a number. Also, the finance degree I earned has helped me participate in some of the work I have done serving on different boards and reading financial statements.”
“There’s been a tremendous amount of progress at Elon over the last 50 years and it makes me proud,” Burney added. “Elon has focused on excellence and stayed true to doing what it does best, which is small classrooms, engaged learning and caring about the students.”
“By participating in A Will to Lead, the Jennings family will allow students to benefit from the same engaged learning opportunities that prepared them for success,” said Elizabeth Read, Elon’s assistant director of planned giving. “We are grateful for their support.”
Dina and Burney earned their undergraduate degrees in Elon’s Martha and Spencer Love School of Business. Burney is a member of the Elon LEADS Campaign Steering Committee and has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 2000. He received Elon’s Young Alumnus of the Year Award in 1997 and in 2016 was recognized as one of the Triad’s Most Admired CEOs by The Triad Business Journal. Dina Jennings served on Elon’s Love School of Business Advisory Board from 2013-2019 and together with Burney served on the Elon Alumni Board.
A Will to Lead & The Elon LEADS Campaign
Since its launch in March 2021, donors have contributed $9.8 million to A Will to Lead to fund scholarships and other university priorities as part of the Elon LEADS Campaign. You can learn more here about A Will to Lead and the benefits of estate gifts or contact Elizabeth Read, assistant director of planned giving, at (336) 278-7474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.