ISFD renames annual student scholarship program Tom Conley Scholarship

Dec. 14, 2022, High Point, NC— In honor of Tom Conley’s dedication to the home furnishings industry the International Society of Furniture Designers’ (ISFD) is changing the name of its annual student scholarship to the Tom Conley Scholarship. The change will take effect in 2023.

Past president and chief executive officer of the High Point Market Authority, Conley is a longtime board member and tireless advocate of ISFD.

Tom Conley

At Conley’s retirement party during the October High Point Market, John Conrad, executive director of ISFD, made the announcement regarding the scholarship’s name change, surprising Conley with the honor.

He said, “Tom has been the brand ambassador for the High Point Market and our industry for over a decade. He is a speaker extraordinaire and a steadfast pursuer of fresh approaches to engage new channels and pathways to sell home furnishings. It’s not money. It’s not position. It’s experience and what you do with it. It’s wanting to make a difference. And that, my friends, is what Tom did!”

Conley’s support of professional home furnishings product designers and the students who want to make a career in furnishings design has been an unwavering passion throughout his years in the industry. He always made facilitating student interaction a priority, knowing their experiences at Market and with other industry notables could be an important launchpad for their careers.

During Conley’s tenure at the High Point Market Authority, he helped the Market rebuild after the 2008 economic downturn, increase buyer attendance, become more designer-friendly and navigate a global pandemic. His 40+ years’ experience in the trade show and management industries aided him in leading the Market through it all to emerge in a stronger position for future growth.

The ISFD Scholarship was established in 2010 by the then ASFD Board of Directors with the instrumental help of long-time members Richard and Catherine Frinier. Founded to support gifted student designers from schools across the country, the scholarship pays a $2,500 award in the fall semester. The 2022 scholarship recipient was Tomoki Nomura, a graduate student from the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Calif.

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