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Wanek Family Donates Mentoring Sculpture to High Point University | High Point University

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Ron Wanek, chairman of Ashley Furniture, and his wife, Joyce, have generously given the “Mentoring – Year 2000” sculpture to High Point University which was installed in October outside of the Stout School of Education.


The “Mentoring – Year 2000” sculpture includes the names of Ron Wanek’s family members who are represented in the design.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 9, 2020 – Ron Wanek, chairman of Ashley Furniture, and his wife, Joyce, have generously given a sculpture to High Point University. “Mentoring – Year 2000” depicts Wanek with son, Todd, and grandchildren, Laura Forsythe, Travis Wagner and Cameron Wanek, a graduate of HPU’s Class of 2015.

Wanek is seen mentoring his family in the industry by building a piece of furniture. The sculpture was placed in front of HPU’s Stout School of Education because the focus of the school is to help create mentors.

“We are so grateful for the continued support of the Wanek family,” said HPU President Nido Qubein. “The “Mentoring – Year 2000” sculpture is an exact symbol of how we plant seeds of greatness in our students. The faculty and staff work hard to model HPU’s values and mentor our students to help prepare them for the world as it is going to be.”

In 2013, HPU honored Ron and Joyce Wanek for their countless contributions to business and philanthropy throughout their lives. The R.G. Wanek Center is named in honor of Wanek, the American entrepreneur and visionary of Ashley Furniture Industries. The 277,000-square-foot facility was made possible from a major gift from the Wanek family. The R.G. Wanek Center houses more than 500 students and provides space for multiple dining options, including 1924 Prime, HPU’s fine dining learning lab, as well as a library, cinema and arcade.   

“We have been so grateful to be a part of a university that has grown and thrived through the years under Dr. Qubein’s leadership,” said Ron Wanek. “Ashley Furniture started out as a small furniture company in 1970 and has transpired to become the brand our customers have come to trust throughout the world. We recognize what it takes to grow a successful business and the importance of a good education. Our connection to HPU and Dr. Qubein is deep, and we look forward to continued support for this growing university.”

In October, the HPU family was joined with hundreds of guests to celebrate the grand opening of the new Wanek School of Natural Sciences, named for Ron’s son, Todd Wanek, CEO of Ashley Furniture, and Karen Wanek, board woman of Superior Fresh. The $65 million, 128,000-square-foot facility houses four stories of innovative learning spaces, the Culp Planetarium and programs such as biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and neuroscience. 

“We’re very proud to be a part of this state-of-the-art facility that recently opened at HPU, and I want to thank HPU for everything the university is doing, pursuing a path that will make a difference,” said Todd Wanek. “We believe in the objectives and the vision of this organization and are incredibly proud of our relationship with HPU.” 

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