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Alumni couple make $1 million estate gift to support engineering, athletics

Alumni couple make $1 million estate gift to support engineering, athletics

By Jaleh Hagigh, staff

Elon Trustee Jay Hendrickson '71 and his wife, Amy Hendrickson '69, of Raleigh, North Carolina, have made a $1 million estate gift to support A Will to Lead, a special initiative of the Elon LEADS Campaign to encourage alumni, parents and friends to establish a lasting legacy by placing the university in their estate plans.

A Will to Lead is a vital part of reaching the $250 million goal of the Elon LEADS Campaign. As of March 23, donors had contributed $208 million toward the goal, including $35 million in estate gifts alone.

The Hendricksons, who are among Elon's most loyal and generous benefactors, are the most recent members of the university community to support A Will to Lead by placing Elon in their estate plans. Estate gifts allow donors to help secure Elon's future while providing life-changing opportunities for students for generations to come. These gifts also enable donors to support the top priorities of Elon LEADS, including scholarships, without parting with any assets now.

"The Elon community is grateful to Jay and Amy Hendrickson for their lifelong commitment to transforming the lives of students," said President Connie Ledoux Book. "Their steadfast support is moving the university forward in significant ways."

The couple's gift will support engineering and athletics, two priorities near and dear to their hearts.

"Our joint Elon experience was very special," Amy Hendrickson said. "The professor-student interaction was very meaningful for our ongoing successes in life. Hopefully our gift will allow others to enjoy the same type of experience and thrive throughout their lives."

The couple believe strongly in the A Will to Lead initiative and supporting Elon through their estate.

"Estate planning is essential to allocating your funds that you've accumulated in your lifetime and it makes it easier to expedite the distribution of your assets to your philanthropic choices," Hendrickson said. "If Elon has made an impact on your life, as it has on ours, it is an obvious choice."

"Jay and Amy Hendrickson embody the best of alumni leadership at Elon, and we remain indebted to them for their generous stewardship of their university," said Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement.

Life-changing philanthropy

The Hendricksons have provided transformative support to Elon and Phoenix athletics for the past several decades. They are regular fixtures at Rhodes Stadium to cheer on Elon' football team, including this year when the COVID-19 pandemic required the team to compete this spring instead of last fall.

Their philanthropic commitments include a $1 million gift in 2007 to name Hendrickson Football Center in Alumni Field House. The center honors Jay's father, Horace J. Hendrickson, who built an illustrious career as Elon's football coach in the 1930s and 1940s and is considered one of Elon's all-time great coaches. The center includes a spacious locker room, state-of-the-art training room with a hydrotherapy room and a large strength and conditioning room.

They have also generously supported athletics scholarships through annual gifts to the Phoenix Club. In 2000, the couple endowed the James A. '71 and Amy T. '69 Hendrickson Engineering Scholarship, which has attracted outstanding students to the university's engineering program.

The Hendricksons are members of The Elon Society President's Circle, Palladian Society and Order of the Oak, the university's planned giving society.

The couple said they are honored to continue supporting Elon, especially now.

"These have been such trying times for everyone during the pandemic, and we felt it was timely and appropriate to support Elon at this time and help the university reach its goals," Amy Hendrickson said. "It's ensuring Elon has the resources it needs to continue to influence and change lives."

Deep roots at Elon

Amy Hendrickson praised the welcoming culture Elon nurtures, which is particularly important to first-year students who are getting acclimated to the campus.

"You quickly find out Elon is a large family," she said. "Once you have been there, that connection lasts forever."

The Hendricksons are proud to have 14 immediate family members with ties to Elon, including alumni and former faculty and staff members. Amy's mother, Mary Thomas, served as secretary to the late President Emeritus Dr. Earl Danieley '46.

"Our roots run very deep at Elon and that was one of the motivating factors when we made the gift to name the Hendrickson Football Center," Amy said. "We have both been proud to serve on many boards at Elon and firsthand to see the continued success and see how well managed and run the university is."

The Hendricksons have served their alma mater with distinction in many leadership roles. Jay has been a member of Elon's Board of Trustees since 2008. Amy co-chaired the Elon LEADS Campaign regional committee in Raleigh as a member of the Campaign Steering Committee. She has also served as chair of the Phoenix Club Advisory Board. Together, the couple served on the Elon Alumni Board and Elon Society Executive Committee. They are also charter members of the Phoenix Club IMPACT Circle.

In 2011, Jay and Amy received the Distinguished Service to Elon Award in recognition of their tireless service to their alma mater. The couple were also among the 2009 recipients of the Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes those who have contributed to all aspects of the university.

"It's been amazing the ascension that Elon has gone through," Amy said. "We've had excellent leaders to pave the way at every step and the same values have been retained. It makes us very proud to support the university."

A Will to Lead Initiative

Placing Elon in your estate offers the following benefits:

  • A Lasting Legacy: Your impact will be felt for generations to come.
  • Support Your Priorities: Choose the program or opportunity meaningful to you.
  • Maximum Flexibility: Provide for yourself and loved ones with no financial impact today.
  • Peace of Mind: Be confident Elon will honor your philanthropic wishes.
  • Ease of Giving: Elon staff can walk you through the process, including providing language to share with your attorney or financial advisor when making your estate plans.
  • Order of the Oak: Your estate gift qualifies you for membership in Elon's planned giving recognition society.

Ways to Give

  • Estate Beneficiary: Designate Elon as a beneficiary in your will, either as a percentage of your estate or a specific amount.
  • IRA Beneficiary: Designate Elon as a beneficiary of your retirement account(s).
  • Residual Bequest: Designate a specific amount or percentage of your estate to Elon after your assets have been distributed to other priorities.

For more information about how to include Elon in your estate planning, contact Elizabeth Read, assistant director of planned giving, at (336) 278-7474 or eread@elon.edu. You may also visit www.elonleads.com.

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 internships, support for faculty and staff mentors who matter and Elon's iconic campus. As of March 23, donors had contributed $208 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, including by participating in A Will to Lead, visit www.elonleads.com.

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