Kent State University Dedicates The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design

At a ceremony held April 11, 2019, nearly 50 years after his own graduation, John Elliot, ’70, and his wife, Fonda, were present as the architecture and environmental design building at Kent State University was officially named “The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design.” Photographers captured notable images to commemorate the event as hundreds of students, staff, faculty, family and friends of the Elliots attended to help celebrate this remarkable occasion.
Elliot receives key

For more than two decades, John and Fonda have been champions of the Kent State architecture program. As a first-generation college graduate, John recognizes the tremendous value of education and the transformative effect higher education can have on an individual. His experience at Kent State opened a new world to him and fostered talents he never knew he had.

After graduating from Kent State’s architecture program, John went on to forge a successful career in nursing home facility design, management and ownership.

In 2018, the Elliots became the largest donors in Kent State’s history with outright gifts as well as a planned gift, both of which benefit the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and the Design Innovation Initiative.

In recognition of the Elliots’ generosity, in the fall of 2018, the Kent State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to re-name the Center for Architecture and Environmental Design in his honor.

While other buildings throughout the university network have been named for individuals, most recognize past university presidents; this is the first time in Kent State’s history that an entire building has been named after a contributor. The University Board of Trustees felt this was an appropriate tribute to a person who has given so much of his time and resources to foster the success of generations of architecture students.
Elliot Scholars

“If you’re successful, you have to give back to your community,” John has said, relaying his and Fonda’s philosophy. “You have to give back to the people who have helped make you who you are. We are honored to be able to give back to the university that gave us the opportunity and the tools to help build our pathway to today.”

The Elliots have lived by this ideology for decades. In addition to the gifts made in support of The John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, they have also established the Elliot Program for Healthcare Design masters program and the Elliot Professorship in Healthcare Design.

They have also funded programs that ensure student and faculty success, including the Elliot Scholars, the Elliot Family Foundation Architectural Scholarship and the Elliot Family Student Travel Fund, all of which support students in academic and extracurricular endeavors. In addition, they established the John and Fonda Elliot Design Innovation Fellows and the John and Fonda Elliot Designer in Residence position as part of Kent State’s Design Innovation Initiative.

The Elliots also realize big impacts are not always about monetary gifts; John has also given his time to Kent State and currently has a strong presence at the university as a member of the Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors and Campaign Executive Committee.

Holistically, John and Fonda’s gifts to Kent State, both time and treasure, are concentrated on one main goal – the success of the next generation of Kent State students.

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2019 - 8:17am
UPDATED: Friday, May 29, 2020 - 10:30am
Stephanie Langguth, '03