In her inaugural address on Thursday, Oct. 18, Elon University’s ninth president Connie Ledoux Book announced that a gift rom Louis DeJoy and Aldona Wos will create 12 Odyssey Program scholarships for Guilford County students with high financial need and outstanding academic abilities. 

“This dedication of personal resources by the DeJoy-Wos family represents the hope and confidence in an Elon education and in the future of our local communities,” Book said.

The gift comes from the Louis DeJoy and Aldona Wos Family Foundation and will establish the DeJoy-Wos Odyssey Scholars Endowment – a collaboration between the university’s Odyssey Program and Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, as well as Guilford County Schools and the United Way of Greater Greensboro. 

The endowment will currently provide four full scholarships to four DeJoy-Wos Scholars each year, with that number eventually growing to 12 full scholarships each year. These scholars will be highly motivated students from Title I schools in Guilford County who both strive to learn in the Love School and who need financial assistance to enroll. Each scholar will be a part of the Odyssey Program, and many will be the first in their families to attend college. 

“This gift is certainly a wonderful opportunity for Elon to reach talented students in the Greensboro schools who might otherwise not be able to attend Elon," said Jean Rattigan-Rohr, executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success. "We are thrilled that the endowment has been created to help make Elon more accessible for high achieving students from low-income households in our neighboring county."

Elon’s Odyssey Program is a part of the Center for Access and Success and provides students with experiential learning opportunities. Within this four-year program, not only is there annual tuition assistance for the scholars, but there is also financial assistance for various supplies and a one-time grant meant to be used for an approved study abroad or Study USA program. 

While in the Odyssey Program, students aim to further their personal and professional development through an intense academic course load. These students attend annual retreats, monthly meetings with the other scholars, are involved in one-on-one career planning meetings and maintain an academic portfolio. 

“As the director of the Center for Access and Success, I see this gift as quite significant to our goal of continuing to increase the number of Odyssey scholars here at Elon,” Rattigan-Rohr said. 

DeJoy and Wos have supported Elon in the past and are among some of Elon’s most generous benefactors. They are founding donors of Elon’s School of Law in Greensboro and have supported various scholarships along with Elon’s multifaith center, Numen Lumen Pavilion. 

Additionally, the Honorable Aldona Z. Wos, M.D. and Louis DeJoy Scholarship for International Study was established by the couple in 2009. This scholarship helps support students in need of financial aid participate in semester long international study opportunities. 

DeJoy will be working with Elon representatives and the United Way of Greater Greensboro to select students in the Guilford County Title I schools for these new scholarships.