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WestConn Society Breakfast to honor Farooq Kathwari

image of Farooq Kathwari
Farooq Kathwari

DANBURY, Conn. — Farooq Kathwari, chairman, president and CEO of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc., will be honored at the WestConn Society Breakfast for Student Success on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

The event to recognize Kathwari, a longtime supporter of Western Connecticut State University, will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

“We are celebrating Farooq Kathwari not only for his work as a longtime benefactor of WCSU, but also because of his leadership in the community, the state and the nation,” said Ron Pugliese, chairman of the WCSU Foundation, which sponsors the breakfast. “We are honored to be able to say ‘thank you’ in this way.”

Kathwari has been president of Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. since 1985, and chairman and CEO since 1988.

Kathwari also serves in numerous capacities at several nonprofit organizations. He is a member of the board of overseers of the International Rescue Committee, a member of the advisory board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, chairman emeritus of Refugees International, an advisory member of the New York Stock Exchange, former chairman of the National Retail Federation, director emeritus and former chairman and president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance, a director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, co-chairman of the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, and a member of the International Advisory Council of the United States Institute of Peace. He also serves on the boards of the Western Connecticut State University Foundation, The Hebrew Home at Riverdale and ArtsWestchester.

He is the founder of the Kashmir Study Group and he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders from 2010 to 2014. Recently, Kathwari was tapped to join the congressionally mandated United States Institute of Peace bipartisan Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States co-chaired by former Gov. Tom Kean and former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, who both had led the 9/11 Commission. Among his recognitions, Kathwari is a recipient of the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame. He has been recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice by the U.S. government.

Kathwari has received the Yale School of Management’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute Lifetime of Leadership Award, the New American Dream Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants Legacy Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee, the National Retail Federation Gold Medal, the International First Freedom Award from the Council for America’s First Freedom, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Anti-Defamation League’s Humanitarian Award, City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry Spirit of Life Award, and the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award from the National Association of Asian MBAs. He has also been recognized by Worth magazine as one of the 50 Best CEOs in the United States.

Kathwari holds BAs in English Literature and Political Science from Kashmir University, Srinagar, and an MBA in International Marketing from New York University. He is also the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees.

Proceeds from the WestConn Society Breakfast will benefit the students of Western Connecticut State University through the WCSU Foundation.

For information on sponsorships and individual tickets, go to or call
(203) 837-8479 by Monday, April 29.

For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.