Founders Day 2013 to honor Reid & Grace Maynard
The Maynards’ legacy continues today with campus buildings and scholarship programs in the Love School of Business named in their honor.
They were captains of industry in Alamance County throughout much of the 20th century with an economic impact that put Burlington, N.C., on the map as the “Hosiery Center of the South.”
But Reid A. and Grace M. Maynard were more than prominent North Carolina industrialists. Strong supporters of higher education, the couple was well-known for an unwavering commitment to Elon where Reid Maynard served for more than three decades on the board of trustees.
In recognition of that support, the Maynards will be honored in March as part of a series of events to commemorate Founders Day 2013. Activities include a special College Coffee and tree-planting in the Maynards’ honor on March 12 and a College Chapel program on March 14 to celebrate their contributions to the university.
Reid Atwater Maynard, a Caswell County native, started a career in banking after serving in World War I and graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1919. It was while he was an assistant cashier at the Bank of Commerce in Burlington that he met his wife, Grace Moore Maynard, a Burlington native who also was a Bank of Commerce employee and a graduate of Women’s College in Greensboro, now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In 1927, five years after the Maynards married, Mr. Maynard left banking and organized Grace Hosiery Mills, Inc. – named for his wife – and started producing men’s hosiery. It was the first of several mills that he would open and a move that launched a lengthy and notable career in the textile industry, which had significant impact on Alamance County’s economy and put Burlington on the map as “Hosiery Center of the South.”
In the span of his career, Reid Maynard organized Tower Hosiery Mill, Long Finishing Mills and Webco Mills, which later merged into Dan River Mills. He served as director and chairman of the National Association of Hosiery Manufacturers. At the time of his death in September 1983, he was serving as chairman of the board of Tower Hosiery Mills and was a director at Leath, McCarthy and Maynard, Inc., Lemco Mills and Copland Fabrics.
During his 35 years as an Elon trustee, the same number of years he devoted to the board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Reid Maynard served on the committee that selected former Elon President J. Earl Danieley. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Elon in 1970.
In testimony to their commitment to Elon and philanthropy, Maynard Hall, a residence hall in the former Story Center complex that first opened in 1982, was named in their honor. The name continues today on a residence hall in the Danieley Center.
After Grace Maynard’s death in 1988, their stately two-story, Georgian-style brick home was bequeathed to Elon to serve as the president’s residence. Maynard House, which overlooks the 10th hole of the Alamance County golf course, serves as a versatile facility used by President Leo M. Lambert and his family to host university receptions, dinners and meetings, with ample space to accommodate overnight stays by dignitaries and guests.
In 2007, Elon board member James W. and Jo Anne A. Maynard of Burlington made a major gift to establish the Elon Business Fellows endowment in memory of Reid and Grace Maynard, James Maynard’s parents.
“Both of my parents believed in Elon,” said James Maynard. “They supported it with their time and energy and resources. They envisioned that the home they had built could, after their death, be profitably used as the residence of the college’s president. The family and I are happy that the board of trustees has concurred.”
The Maynards spent their lives dedicated to giving back to their community through church and civic affairs. Both were active in Front Street United Methodist Church in Burlington where Reid Maynard served on the board of trustees and board of stewards. Grace Maynard was an officer and life member of the United Methodist Women.
The Maynards were charter members of the Alamance Country Club and Reid Maynard served on Burlington’s Board of Aldermen. He also was president of the Burlington Rotary Club, chairman of the board of directors for North Carolina National Bank, part of the original committee that organized the YMCA, chairman of the local board of the Selective Service system, member of the State Board of Appeals of the Selective Service system, president of the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce and Alamance Executives Club, co-chairman of the board of trustees of then-Alamance County Hospital, director of the N.C. Railroad and a Shriner for almost 50 years. Reid Maynard was named Citizen of the Year in Alamance County in 1952.
Grace Maynard was a charter member of the Mentor Book Club and a member of the Burlington Service League.
"Reid and Grace, and Jim and Joie, are among the major figures in our lives personally as well as in the progress and strength of Elon University," said President Emeritus J. Fred Young. "They have supported every step forward for this institution for well over a half century.
"They were also there for us personally. Reid and Mrs. Maynard were father and mother figures for Phyllis and me. His counsel and wisdom were especially helpful to me in my early days at Elon. He had all of those years of experience on the Board of Governors at UNC and brought it straight to me. Phyllis loved Mrs. Maynard and learned so much from her about social graces, which helped Phyllis with her responsibilities at Elon. We loved them personally.
"The four of them, along with Don and Janet, made one of the most significant gifts in the history of Elon when they gave their family home to Elon. Not only was the house a magnificent gift, it was given in such a generous spirit. The Maynard House serves the entire university community and several thousand are entertained in the facility annually. Students and faculty meet there for special ceremonies. Donors and celebrity visitors are housed there. It is a source of pride for the entire university community and has greatly enhanced institutional self-image."
About Founders Day:
On Sept. 14, 1939, Elon established Founders Day to honor significant figures from its then 50 years of existence. Today, the annual Founders Day celebrations continue to commemorate the lives of administrators, faculty and trustees who impacted the growth of the institution.