Striking the top tier for innovation in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology, and facilities, High Point University has entirely transformed since 2005. Now a bustling epicentre of cutting-edge education, even global leaders like the co-founders of Apple Computer and Netflix are attracted to work with HPU students. Located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, the university has families from all 50 states and 50 countries flocking to its campus. HPU has quickly earned an impressive track record of positive feedback from students, parents, and higher education leaders across the nation. It focuses on every individual student, ensuring they can thrive in the world by developing life skills and fostering the values of God, family, and country. The caring people at HPU believe in and work to equip the students with a growth mindset, ensuring their decision-making is based on values. HPU hopes to instill a positive attitude into students to create maximum leaders of tomorrow.
The primary reason why the enrollment at High Point University has quadrupled during the last 17 years is Dr. Nido Qubein, who became the university’s seventh President in January 2005. He is the driving force behind the campus expanding from 90 to 520 acres and academic schools growing from three to 11. Under the guidance of Dr. Qubein, HPU blossomed as a leader in the community with his zeal, passion, and vision for growth. More growth is on the horizon with plans for new academic schools in dental medicine, nursing, law, optometry and entrepreneurship.
Putting Learning into Action
“You can’t just lecture young people and hope they learn something,” are the words of Dr. Qubein. The university has created a unique, intentional environment that inspires students to want to succeed. Numerous art installations across campus further celebrate the message: “Choose to be extraordinary.” The university has a culture that must be experienced to be understood with a positive vibe all around. It focuses on the opportunities for students to transform their lives and the world. It teaches the students to take calculated risks, work hard, give back, and make the world a better place to live in.
This begins with instilling in students an entrepreneurial spirit and a growth mindset. Entrepreneurial leaders are needed in philanthropies, schools, and churches. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is not about making a widget and selling it. Instead, the university prepares students to build and render value for clients, consumers, congregations, and every skill that requires an entrepreneurial attitude. At High Point University, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial leaders love visiting HPU to coach and inspire the students. The dignitaries in HPU’s Access to Innovators Program include the co-founder of Apple Computer, Steve Wozniak, also HPU’s Innovator in Residence. Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence. Domino’s Pizza CEO Russell Weiner is the Corporate Executive in Residence. The Sports Executive in Residence is Cynt Marshall, the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. And John Maxwell, a renowned leadership expert, is the Executive Coach in Residence. In addition to the stellar faculty, HPU sets the standard high by bringing these real-world practitioners to campus to mentor students. This creates a robust learning environment that teaches students they, too, can achieve extraordinary results.
The Premier Life Skills University
Known as The Premier Life Skills University, HPU provides an extraordinary education framed with the life skills that outlast and extend beyond inevitable technological changes. This includes the ability to communicate well with others, to thrive in a competitive environment, to adapt, and to navigate complex situations without being intimidated by life’s obstacles.
Campus is filled with ultramodern technology, labs and learning spaces. Consider the financial trading room with a live stock ticker, the health care simulation labs or the professional-grade television studio. Because HPU knows technology always changes, these facilities are steeped in life skills lessons, too. That’s why HPU is home to two fine dining restaurants with cell phone-free environments, where students practice job interviews over dinner and are exposed to global cuisine from different cultures.
When HPU students graduate, they are prepared to render value in the global marketplace with technical skills and life skills. They are ready to adapt and change along with technology in order to thrive throughout their career.
Commitment to the Community
When Dr. Qubein accepted the position as president in 2005, he declared that HPU is High Point’s University with an apostrophe “s” to the citizens. He held a press conference and luncheon and told community leaders that HPU would not thrive if the city didn’t support it, reminding the city’s leadership that HPU had the potential to lift the community for a better tomorrow.
High Point University has been a blessing for the city for the past 17 years, leading the downtown transformation by raising funds to purchase a professional baseball team and securing naming rights for the new stadium, catalyzing continuous development in downtown High Point.
The university draws 100,000+ visitors annually from the States and other nations, generating $765 million in annual economic impact. Dr. Qubein shares, “HPU must serve as a leader in our community. There’s a scripture we have displayed in the grand lobby of the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. It’s Luke 12:48 – To whom much is given, much is required. That perfectly defines our values regarding HPU’s leadership and participation in the city of High Point.”
A New Perspective Under Dr. Nido Qubein
Dr. Qubein believes that a leader must define a clear vision, develop a solid strategy, execute consistently and interpret the value. These are the fundamentals of effective leadership. His management style is very simple: “Inspect what you expect. I’m in university Facebook groups to see what our families are thinking. I want to add value for them, so I don’t wait for my team to tell me.” He casually walks around the campus, inspects all facilities for cleanliness and order, and assesses the energy the campus creates to help propel students forward. He ensured the team put an outdoor ice rink on campus during the pandemic. He meets the faculty and staff frequently to learn more about their focus areas and ensures the university appropriately allocates resources. A leader can’t allocate resources effectively without a vertical and diagonal understanding of each business unit. Dr. Qubein is the force behind the planning and execution of every university project and has done his job perfectly to date. When an organization has a leader to look up to and inspire, all the elements of the organization automatically have an idol. That’s precisely what Dr. Qubein has achieved.
He states, “Ultimately, I make myself available to students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. I answer my e-mails – it’s not delegated. If I’m going to make decisions about the institution’s future, then I have to believe I’ve assessed the risks and understand the potential benefits of those decisions.”
Preparing the Next Generation to Be Brave
Dr. Qubein advises the younger generation to be brave and not be afraid to try something new while taking a calculated risk. Early in their careers, he advises them to join an organization where they can add value. He says, “Today’s culture isn’t good at delayed gratification. We are sold on the idea that we can have it all, and we can have it now. It’s not reality. There is no substitute for hard work, pushing through adversity, staying positive, committing to lifelong learning, and expressing your gratitude for those who help you along the way. These are the timeless life skills that create sustainable leadership. The good news is that these traits, skills, and behaviors are available to everyone.”