St. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) inducted South Lynn of Universal Floors into its Legacy Scholarship Program through the NWFA Education and Research Foundation (NERF). According to the company, the NERF Legacy Scholarship program honors individuals who made significant contributions throughout their lives to advance the wood flooring industry.
Lynn started his wood flooring career in 1952 working for Suburban Floors. After nine months, he set out on his own, founding Universal Floors in 1953. He broke the race barrier in a segregated D.C. by hiring and training the first black employees. Universal Floors quickly earned a reputation for high-quality work, installing and finishing floors in the White House during every administration from Eisenhower to the present, according to the company. In 2001, he received the NWFA Industry Leadership Award.
“South lived a long and full life,” said Michael Martin, president and CEO, NWFA. “At the young age of 17, he joined the U.S. Navy and served as a Seaman First Class during World War II. Following his military service, he attended the University of Maryland—College Park on the GI bill, earning a Bachelor of Science in business and public administration. It was following his graduation that he found his place in the wood flooring industry, training and employing hundreds of people over the many decades, during which he ran Universal Floors, and where he continued to show up for work even at age 94. He’s a shining example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish and his legacy lives on with his sons, Sprigg and South, Jr., who run Universal today.”
According to the company, NERF was established to provide industry research and educate future generations of wood flooring professionals. The NERF Legacy Scholarship Program helps the NWFA keep training costs to a minimum for participants. Through NERF, NWFA offers educational opportunities like hands-on training, NWFA University, NWFA Live Edge and scholarships. Since 2014, NWFA said it has awarded scholarships totaling more than $80,000.