PHONE: 627-4521

DATE: 3-27-00



Bonner N. York, a prominent Greenville, S.C building contractor and a native of Haywood County, has bestowed $10,000 on Haywood Community College to establish The Coleman H. York Memorial Carpentry Scholarship. The scholarship is a memorial to York’s father who was a skilled carpenter, mason, and cabinetmaker in Haywood County. Hoping his contribution will benefit Haywood County residents, York sees the scholarship as a way to encourage deserving individuals in Haywood and the surrounding counties to pursue a building construction career. He says that there is a need for more skilled and trained workers in the industry.

York served on the Commission for the Future of Clemson University and on the board of advisors to the Construction Science and Management Department of Clemson University. He presently serves on the board of advisors to The University Center in Greenville, a consortium of seven South Carolina colleges and universities.

York has been involved in the building construction profession all his life. As a youth growing up on a farm in the Bethel community, he acquired his first lessons in the trade at his father’s side working as his helper. In 1967, York graduated from N.C. State University with a degree in Civil Engineering—Construction Option and he and his wife, Linda, moved to Greenville, S.C. Linda, also a native of Haywood County, is the daughter of Earl and Virginia Gribble of Waynesville.

York worked for Daniel Construction Company and one other company before he founded York Construction Company in 1976. Even though it was launched from meager beginnings—one truck and York’s personal savings account—York Construction Company became one of the largest construction companies in South Carolina specializing in industrial and commercial construction.

In 1995, it was ranked 51 out of the top 100 closely held companies in South Carolina by the accounting firm, Arthur Anderson & Company. In 1996, the US Engineering News Record ranked York Construction Company as one of the top-100 Design-Build construction companies in the U.S. Beers Construction Company of Atlanta purchased York Construction Company in 1996. York remained President and CEO until health problems forced him into early retirement. The company name changed to Beers York in 1998.

York attributes his success to work ethics learned at an early age from his father. "I learned from my father that to be successful you must be honest, do quality work, and treat your customer as you would like to be treated. The lessons I learned from him have been invaluable," he said.

York’s father, Coleman H. York lived most of his life in Haywood County near Pigeon Gap. Born in 1905—one of seven children—Coleman was forced to go to work at an early age because of "hard times." His formal schooling ended after completion of the fifth grade.

Coleman’s carpentry skills were recognized early in his life. By his mid teens, he was already working in his chosen field of carpentry. Over the years, his abilities and talents grew. According to his son, Bonner, Coleman could build a house and use subcontractors for the electrical, plumbing, and heating work only. His skills were in high demand because of his reputation as a top-notch carpenter and as a man of integrity.

During World War II, he built housing for the Navy and for the rest of his life, practiced his vocation in Haywood County.

With his wife, Lillian, Coleman raised four children, Rheta, Bonner, Kenneth, and Layne. Because of his early life experiences, he knew the importance of an education and instilled this in his children. All four of them, have some form of higher education.

Coleman died in 1965 at the age of 59. He left a legacy in Haywood County—examples of his craftsmanship such as stone masonry along Highway 276 can still be seen throughout the community.

The Coleman H. York Scholarhip will first be available for the 2000 Fall Semester and can be awarded every year thereafter to qualified individuals wishing to pursue the Building Construction program at Haywood Community College. Jim Duncan, HCC Foundation Chairman said, "We are always appreciative of individuals who remember Haywood Community College. By establishing endowed scholarships such as this one, benefactors ensure that HCC can continue to reach more students by providing accessible and affordable education to individuals who otherwise might not be able to attend college."

To qualify for the scholarship, an HCC student must be a. resident of Haywood County or counties contiguous to Haywood, be enrolled in the Building Construction program, demonstrate a financial need, have a grade point average of 2.0 or better, be recommended by at least three HCC faculty members, and provide two personal references. For additional information about The Coleman H. York Scholarship, a person may contact HCC’s Financial Aid Office at (828) 627- 4506. For more information about HCC’s Building Construction program, contact Student Services at (828) 627-4500.


Cutline: On behalf of the HCC Foundation and Haywood Community College, Jim Duncan, Foundation president (center) and HCC President, Dr. Nathan Hodges (right) accept a check for $10,000 from Bonner N. York (left). The money establishes The Coleman H. York Memorial Carpentry Scholarship.