HPU Celebrates Grand Opening of the Wanek School of Natural Sciences

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 17, 2019 – Today, hundreds gathered at High Point University to honor the Wanek family and celebrate the grand opening of its newest facility, the Wanek School of Natural Sciences.

framed photo

HPU President Nido Qubein (left) honored Karen Wanek (center) and Todd Wanek (right) by presenting them with a framed photo of the Wanek School of Natural Sciences.

The Wanek School of Natural Sciences is named in honor of Todd Wanek, the president and CEO of Ashley Furniture, and Karen Wanek, the board woman of Superior Fresh. They are parents of two High Point University graduates.

“We are here to celebrate the opening of this amazing facility where our faculty and students can engage in research, classroom collaboration and various community events, and to honor a family who represents the American dream,” said HPU President Nido Qubein during today’s event. “The Wanek family have been long time supporters and friends of HPU. We are incredibly grateful for their continued generosity.”

“I’ve been so blessed to be a part of the HPU community,” said Todd Wanek. “We believe in the vision of HPU to prepare students for tomorrow. Our children received an amazing education here, so we are proud to continue our support.”

Ashley Furniture, headquartered in Wisconsin, is the world’s largest furniture manufacturing and distribution company. The company employs 30,000 people worldwide, remains a major presence at the High Point Market and has a manufacturing and distribution facility in Advance, North Carolina.

Superior Fresh raises Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout through sustainable agriculture. The water for the fish is filtered through a connecting greenhouse that grows a variety of leafy greens, both of which are sold within a 400-mile radius of company headquarters in Hixton, Wisconsin.

The Waneks are strong supporters of HPU. Ron Wanek, chairman of Ashley Furniture, and his wife, Joyce, have been previously honored with the naming of the R.G. Wanek Center. They are the parents of Todd Wanek.

ribbon cutting

HPU faculty were joined with the Wanek family for a special ribbon cutting.

“We are so grateful for the Wanek family’s support to build this great space for our students,” said Dr. Angela Bauer, founding dean of the Wanek School of Natural Sciences. “Our new facility provides our students with an amazing educational experience in state-of-the-art research labs and classroom spaces. The new facility will help us accommodate rapidly growing undergraduate programs in the natural sciences, while also allowing us to expand on the experiential learning opportunities for our students.”

About the Wanek School of Natural Sciences

The $65 million, 128,000-square-foot facility features four stories of innovative lab and classroom space, as well as the Culp Planetarium. Students in biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and neuroscience began learning in the facility’s new state-of-the-art laboratories at the start of this academic year. The programs complement HPU’s graduate programs in pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant studies.

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