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Campaign gift from Elon parents advances Jewish Studies program

A $250,000 endowment gift to the Ever Elon Campaign from The Levine-Sklut Family Foundation will significantly expand the university’s Jewish Studies program by establishing The Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies. This gift was made possible thanks to Elon parents Eric and Lori Sklut, of Charlotte, N.C.

Lori and Eric Sklut P'14

The Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar will help build an outstanding Jewish Studies program recognized for excellence in teaching and scholarship. As the program grows, earnings from the endowment could support opportunities for visiting scholars, guest lecturers, course development and other initiatives that enrich the program.

A vibrant Jewish Studies program will benefit all students, says Eric Sklut, who serves as vice chair of the board for the Center for Jewish Studies at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Elon embraces a pluralistic view of society and is making inroads in enhancing diversity, and we want to be part of that,” says Sklut, founder of Perfection Automotive Inc. “You can’t have a truly global liberal arts education without having a Jewish Studies program. It’s important for people of all faiths.”

The couple’s son, Mason, is an Elon sophomore who has been active in the university’s Hillel organization and is working to bring a Jewish fraternity to campus.

“Lori and I want our kids to be in an environment where they can have exchanges with people of different faiths and from different cultures,” Sklut says. “Our hope is that this program will grow and spark additional interest among donors who may not be aware that this opportunity is available.”

The gift will be transformational in building a premier Jewish Studies program, enabling students to develop a deeper understanding of Jewish history, culture and religion, said Alison Morrison-Shetlar, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences. She said the development of the program and the addition of the Emerging Scholar will help fulfill the goals of the Elon Commitment strategic plan, which calls for nurturing a rich learning environment that is global and dynamic, and enhances learning for all students by enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of different ways of viewing the world.

"This new Emerging Scholar will build the foundation of the Jewish Studies program, publish scholarly work, work with faculty across campus on course development and scholarship, and will bring national and international scholars to campus to teach and lead faculty development workshops," Morrison-Shetlar said.

Jaleh Hagigh,
8/12/2011 12:10 PM