Haworth Inc. pledges $3M gift to help Clemson center

The Greenville NewsMay 6, 2014 

— Haworth Inc. has pledged a gift of $3 million to Clemson University’s Watt Family Innovation Center now under construction in the center of campus.

The partnership between Clemson and the international company in furniture and organic workspace design and products is a comprehensive engagement in collaborative research activities, product use and demonstration, and philanthropic support, university officials said.

The gift from Haworth includes $800,000 in research funding and a $2.2 million gift-in-kind of interior products.

“Haworth is a global leader in designing and furnishing interior workspaces that anticipate the future and reflect the company’s deep commitment to sustainability,” Clemson President James P. Clements said.

“We are thrilled that Haworth is our first Founding Innovation Partner in the new Watt Center.”

Headquartered in Holland, Mich., Haworth is a private company led by three generations of the Haworth family. Haworth products include furniture, flooring, moveable walls, electrical and cabling support systems, and a touchscreen wall called “bluescape.”

In 2013, Haworth had global sales of $1.42 billion. There are 6,000 employees in 126 countries. The company has more than 80 showrooms and sales offices and 350 patents and works with 650 dealers worldwide. Haworth’s research and design centers are in China, Germany, Italy and the United States.

This is Haworth’s first engagement with Clemson.

Franco Bianchi, who has led Haworth as president and CEO since 2005, visited Clemson University in November 2013 and has a strong relationship with Watt Center director Charles Watt, university officials said.

“At Haworth, we value continuous education and the innovative schools and programs in our communities that never stop exploring and teaching. Haworth is proud to support Clemson,” Bianchi said.

The Haworth corporate gift is part of The Will to Lead capital campaign to raise $1 billion to support Clemson students and faculty with scholarships, professorships, facilities, technology and enhanced opportunities for learning and research.

University officials broke ground in late March to begin construction of the four-story, 70,000-square-foot center.

Designed to foster innovation and interdisciplinary education and research activities, the Watt Center will be near the R.M. Cooper Library. Expected occupancy is spring 2016.

The center will house large classrooms for Clemson’s freshman engineering students as well as a high bay area, an academic resources center, technology demonstration areas, meeting rooms and space designated for undergraduate research activities.

The center is designed to promote student engagement, interactive learning and partnership with industry and government, officials said.

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