Elon parents Clay and Cameron Smith: ‘We’re full of gratitude for Elon’

A generous gift from Elon parents Clay and Cameron Smith P’22 will endow a scholarship in the Elon College Fellows program. Their gift is part of the Elon LEADS Campaign whose top priority is increasing scholarship funding.

Elon parents Clay and Cameron Smith P’22, of Dallas have made a generous endowment gift to the Elon LEADS Campaign to establish the M. Clay Smith and Cameron B. Smith Elon College Fellows Endowment. The Smith Family Elon College Fellows Scholarship will be awarded to Fellows majoring in any discipline in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

Elon’s six Fellows programs are rigorous, value-added, school-based programs that attract the best and brightest young minds who set the bar for academic excellence at Elon and strengthen the university’s national reputation for quality and innovation. Today, Fellows are making an impact on the world as leaders in education, medicine, business and communications among other fields.

Deepening funding for Fellows and all scholarships is the top priority of the Elon LEADS Campaign. Clay and Cameron’s daughter, Margaret Smith ’22, was an English major who thrived in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. The couple wanted to make the same outstanding experience possible for future Elon students.

“We think the Fellows program is a fantastic opportunity, and we are happy to contribute to it,” Clay Cameron said. “Everyone benefits from attracting high-caliber students to Elon.”

Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences

“We thank Clay and Cameron Smith for their generous investment in scholarships for our Fellows program,” said Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. “Their gift will allow Elon to continue to attract talented students who enhance our learning community each day.”

In addition to those within Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, the university offers Fellows programs in Honors, Business, Communications, Teaching and Leadership through the Isabella Cannon Leadership Fellows program. Each program includes distinctive Fellows courses and faculty mentoring, housing options such as a Fellows living-learning community, and paid research assistantships or internships that challenge students to set and achieve their goals.

Clay and Cameron Smith contribute generously to education, youth, performing arts and other community causes in the Dallas area, as well as to Elon. The importance of philanthropy is something Clay learned from his father, Mark, growing up in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Our family’s philanthropy started with my father. He was a great man and focused on education as a core value,” Clay said. “He would not have been able to go to Georgia Tech to study engineering without a scholarship, so it’s been really rewarding to honor him with something that meant a lot to him, which was the quality of an education. This gift to Elon means a lot to us and I know it’s going to be very meaningful for upcoming students as well.”

“We are so grateful our daughter found Elon and had a wonderful four years there,” Cameron said. “It’s been an amazing experience for the whole family.”

Among the highlights of Margaret’s Elon career were her close mentoring relationships with faculty, completing an internship in London prior to her sophomore year, and spending a semester studying in Florence in 2021, when the pandemic remained a concern.

“We were so grateful that Elon decided to allow students to study abroad during a difficult time,” Cameron said. “We’re full of gratitude for Elon.”

“We feel Elon has provided the necessary tools for our daughter to succeed and that she’s 100 percent prepared for the next chapter in her life,” Clay said. “That builds confidence and motivates you to want to give back.”

Clay Smith is Founder and CEO of M.C. Smith Realty, a commercial real estate investment firm. The Smiths have contributed generously to Elon’s Greatest Needs and the Parents & Grandparents Fund, and made matching gifts to fuel the success of Elon Day, the university’s biggest day of giving.

About the Elon LEADS Campaign

Now in its final year, Elon LEADS is the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history. 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. The campaign concludes on December 31, 2022. To learn more about how you can make an impact, visit www.elonleads.com.