High Point University Hayworth Chapel

The Hayworth Chapel at High Point University is named for Charles Hayworth Sr., a High Point businessman who helped start High Point College (now High Point University) in 1924.

Someone in the higher ed game made this observation to me the other day: News folks are usually pretty good at telling you what's new, but they're generally pretty bad about following up on their stories. 

I, of course, got defensive because, like a lot of journalists, I'm way too thin-skinned and deal badly with criticism. Plus it's the news business — note the first three letters of the word — and that story I wrote about a month ago is by definition old. But my critic had a point. I'm more inclined to chase the next shiny thing than to revisit my past work. If news is a laser pointer, I'm a cat stalking that red dot on the floor.

So with that in mind I feel like it's my duty to tell you that, yes, indeed, High Point University did finish the renovations of Hayworth Chapel on campus. The university held a ceremony Wednesday to mark the reopening.

The university announced in March that it had received a $500,000 donation to renovate the 47-year-old chapel. The upgrades include, according to a HPU news release, "restoring the carpet flooring to hardwoods, an expanded altar area, new pews to match the curve of the chancel, a redesign of the chapel’s colors, and state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting."

The chapel is an important building on this Methodist-affiliated university. There are services there twice a week — on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings — and on special dates throughout the year. It's one of only a few HPU buildings with any significant longevity, as most of the campus has been built within the last 15 years.

Maybe more importantly to HPU's institutional history is that the building carries the Hayworth name. Every college and university has a person or a family, sometimes several people and families, who are crucial to a school's existence and persistence. At HPU, the Hayworths have been one of those families for nearly a century.

Family patriarch Charles Hayworth Sr., who made his fortune building office furniture, was one of several High Point business leaders who helped start High Point College in 1924. He had two sons: Charles Jr., who died in 1994, and David. Both brothers owned Hayworth Furniture Industries, which once was High Point's largest employer.

The Hayworth name is all over HPU. The chapel is named for Charles Sr. The fine arts center is named for Charles Jr. and his late wife Pauline. HPU's arts and science college, a campus park and the academic building next to the chapel are named for David. When HPU announced the chapel renovation project in March, it said the Hayworth family had contributed $25 million to the university over the years. That number includes David Hayworth's donation for chapel renovations.

So there's an update on the chapel project at High Point University. If you think of any other stories you think I should follow up on, my contact info is below.

Have something to say about this blog post? Email me at john.newsom@greensboro.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at @JohnNewsomNR.

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