FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence businessman Chris J. Yahnis has donated $100,000 to Francis Marion University’s capital campaign to be used for the BB&T/Amelia Wallace Faculty/Alumni House.
The gift will allow the naming of the new facility’s hospitality suite, which will be known as the Yahnis Family Hospitality Suite.
The Faculty/Alumni House is scheduled to be completed in the spring of this year and will be one of the most highly visible facilities on campus. The house will be a meeting and gathering place for current and retired faculty, alumni, the corporate community, and friends of the university. In addition to the hospitality suite, there will be a library, a large meeting room with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology, and a serving kitchen, as well as two bedroom suites for guests to the campus.
Over the years, Yahnis has been one of FMU’s biggest supporters. “Mr. Yahnis has always been extremely philanthropic, especially toward Francis Marion University,” said Scott Faulkenberry, executive director of the FMU Foundation. “When special projects come along, we always know that we can count on Mr. Yahnis to step up to the plate as he has done time and time again.”
“I am honored to have been asked to participate in this capital campaign and I am committed to help FMU grow,” said Yahnis. “I know that it is difficult to give in these uncertain economic times, but I encourage businesses and individuals throughout the Pee Dee region to support FMU and its first-ever capital campaign as much as possible.”
Yahnis is one of the Pee Dee’s most successful businessmen, having founded several companies, being an active real estate investor, and a mentor to several small-business entrepreneurs in the area.
He co-founded Y&B Distributing, which later became Chris J. Yahnis Corp. He also purchased the Stevens Corp. of Myrtle Beach, which became Chris J. Yahnis Coastal Corp. Still today, Yahnis is an officer of both companies. He founded Home Health Inc. in 1992 to serve Florence, Darlington, Marion, Dillon and Lee counties, and in 1993 added a home-health operation in York County. The Pee Dee agency was sold to McLeod Regional Medical Center in 1995 and, in 1998, Yahnis sold the remaining interest in Home Health.
Yahnis is a major supporter of the economic development of the Pee Dee Region and the role that FMU has on that process.
“We need to continue to enhance the labor pool whenever possible,” he said. “FMU gives the young people of the Pee Dee an opportunity to receive an education and better themselves. This is an opportunity that they would otherwise not have.
“As FMU grows, so grows the Pee Dee. The job that the faculty and staff are doing is fantastic. The financial impact on the economy has been tremendous over the years, and I am certain it will continue.”
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