Our View: Ups & Downs - Witcher and HPU donations
THUMBS UP to local insurance executive Doug Witcher, founder and CEO of High Point-based Smart Choice, who has pledged a $2 million donation to High Point University. Witcher, a 1977 graduate of HPU, founded Smart Choice in 1994. The business has grown into a national insurance company with 3,700 agencies operating in 42 states.
Witcher, with more than 30 years in the insurance industry, credits his time at High Point University as helping him develop as a businessman and leader. “I learned a lot about managing people and got a good education. It was a turning point for me,” Witcher said.
HPU President Nido Qubein praised Witcher for his contributions to High Point and expressed the university’s appreciation for the contribution.
“Doug has made his mark in the High Point community as a generous philanthropist and a dedicated steward,” Qubein said.
Witcher, who also chairs United Way of Greater High Point’s 2013 fundraising campaign, joins a growing list of million-dollar donors to the growth and development of High Point University, many of whom came to High Point University as students and then settled here to become huge contributors to the community. Last month, HPU announced a $10 million donation from Ashley Furniture CEO Ron Wanek, and earlier this year announced a $16 million total donation from parents of current students at HPU.
THUMBS UP and good luck to local principals Ged O’Donnell, Montlieu Elementary Academy of Technology, and Rodney Wilds, T. Wingate Andrews High School, who are two of five Guilford County Schools principals vying for the school district’s Principal of the Year award. Both principals credit the staff and teachers at their respective schools for teamwork that helps make such nominations for the principals possible.
THUMBS DOWN to the Guilford County District Court system, which on Aug. 7, failed Laurrissa Armstrong.
On that date, a Domestic Violence Order of Protection sought by Armstrong was denied. It was signed by District Court Judge Linda L. Falls. On Aug. 29, Armstrong was shot several times by her estranged husband, Bruce Ray Armstrong, in the parking lot of her Adams Farm apartment complex. Bruce Ray Armstrong was later found unresponsive in his car at another location and pronounced dead at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro. Laurrissa Armstrong, a teacher at Welborn Middle Academy of Science and Technology, was still hospitalized in critical condition as of Thursday afternoon.
Armstrong sought the protection order after she and her husband separated and she initiated divorce proceedings. According to reports of court records regarding the protection order, Bruce Ray Armstrong had admitted to hitting his wife during a three-year period prior to the proceedings. However, Bruce Ray Armstrong explained incidents that Laurrissa Armstrong contended constituted harassment and stalking as only attempts to contact her to discuss the couple’s relationship and their children.