Mary Claudia “MC” Belk Pilon ’96

Mary Claudia "MC" Belk Pilon is board chair of the John M. Belk Endowment and a champion for education who strives to raise the levels of education in North Carolina.

Ms. Pilon was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, and attended Charlotte Country Day School before coming to Roanoke College. She quickly became engaged in Roanoke life with academic studies in sociology and communications. She was a member of the cross country team and also helped Coach Page Moir with the men's basketball program. She earned her B.A. in 1996.

After graduation, Ms. Pilon worked as the College's assistant alumni director before returning to North Carolina. She spent twelve years in retail management for Belk, Inc. and five years with The Belk Foundation, a family foundation that focuses on improving early childhood education, teaching, and leadership in public schools.

Prior to his death in 2007, her father, John M. Belk, asked her to take over as chair of the John M. Belk Endowment (JMBE), which she did in 2012. JMBE originally funded a National Merit Scholarship program, the John M. Belk Scholarship at Davidson College, which has awarded over 80 scholarships.

While her father's legacy was well established in the community and through educational philanthropy, Ms. Pilon has taken that legacy to heart and set her own vision and path to increase access to, and completion of, postsecondary education in order to give all citizens the chance at long-term, family-sustaining careers. Guided by the vision she shared with her father, she leads the Endowment on its mission to create a stronger North Carolina. Ms. Pilon represented the Endowment at the White House College Opportunity Summit, hosted by then-President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ms. Pilon serves her community in many ways. She has participated on several boards that champion education access and success for all children, including Good Friends, Greater Enrichment, and The Fletcher School. She is chair of The John M. Belk Scholarship Advisory Board at Davidson College and active on The Belk Foundation Board, as well as the board of trustees for Charlotte Country Day School.

She and her family have remembered her alma mater with generosity and have provided the campus with the state-of-the-art Belk Fitness Center.

Mary Claudia Belk Pilon received the Roanoke College Medal in 2016.