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HPU Names Facility in Honor of Ashley Furniture Founder Ron Wanek

10.16.2013

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 16, 2013 – High Point University named a prominent building on campus today in honor of Ron and Joyce Wanek, who have made countless contributions to business and philanthropy throughout their lives.

The Waneks attended a ceremony in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center where Ron Wanek praised HPU for its educational efforts in entrepreneurship, technology, business, and most importantly, the free enterprise system. Afterward, the university named the R.G. Wanek Center, formerly known as the University Center, in his honor.

Ron Wanek started manufacturing furniture with only 35 employees in 1970. His company, Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., is now the largest furniture manufacturer in the world and the largest furniture retailer in the U.S. with headquarters in Wisconsin.

“I have great admiration for Dr. Qubein and the transformational work he has accomplished at High Point University,” said Wanek. “I have formed lifelong friendships and done business at High Point market for over 40 years and during the better part of that time HPU existed in the shadows of this city. Then, in 2005, when my dear friend Dr. Qubein took over the presidency, something changed. A quantum leap of progress occurred and HPU evolved from a small local college to a university of great stature and scale. I was privileged to lead a similar transformation of a small furniture company in 1970 with an underdog status to one that eventually garnered respect and trust from customers throughout the world.  For that reason and due to Dr. Qubein’s magnetic personality, I felt a natural and instant connection to Dr. Qubein and HPU. Dr. Qubein and High Point University epitomize the best of American enterprise, and I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with the continued development of this world class university.”

Wanek went on to say, “This evening has been a wonderful tribute, and I am grateful to Dr. Qubein and the Board of Trustees at High Point University for their kindness and graciousness in honoring me this way.”

“The Latin meaning behind the word philanthropy is to be a friend of humankind,” said Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU president, at the unveiling. “Is there a cause nobler than that? Some people do this through their kindness, their knowledge or their blessings, and some through all of the above. We are here tonight to honor Ron Wanek and his family, who are true friends to this university.”

About the Wanek Center:

The R.G. Wanek Center brings students together for academic and social engagement. The center houses a satellite library, several dining options including a restaurant on the fifth floor that serves as a learning lab for students practicing etiquette and job interview skills, a cinema for presentations, documentaries and film screenings, and much more. The facility allows students to enjoy multiple environments for academic and social events in one central location.

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