HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 2, 2011 – High Point University began its commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States with a poignant speech from Deputy Chief John (Jay) Jonas – one of only 20 people who made it out alive from the Twin Towers as the buildings collapsed around them. Jonas shared his story with members of the HPU family and the community on Sept. 1 in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center.
Jonas, who was then the Captain of Ladder Co. 6, was one of the first responding units to the World Trade Center. Jonas and his unit were rescuing a woman from the north tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed on them. Not only did they survive the collapse, but also their entrapment – and they lived to tell the extraordinary tale of heartbreak and bravery.
“The majority of students on campus today were quite young when these unspeakable tragedies took place,” says Dr. Nido Qubein, president of HPU. “Deputy Chief Jonas brought reality to the situation; he gave us a vision of what it was truly like to be the midst of a national disaster – and what it was like to come out into the light, survive it and somehow move past it. We are 10 years removed from the event, but it still remains an important topic in our lives. For students to have the opportunity to hear a first-hand account of the event was truly moving and remarkable.”
HPU students will continue to honor those who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks with two more events. On Sept. 6, the “Wall of Reflection” will visit the High Point University campus at 11 a.m. where students will sign that wall. The wall is a national effort that is making stops in eight cities nationwide, including the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area, to collect signatures in honor of those who perished in the attacks.
Students will also hold a memorial service on campus on Sept. 11, which will feature a variety of reflections, including remarks from Dr. Hal Warlick, dean of the Chapel, and various student leaders on campus. Dr. Marc Foster, chair of the Department of Music will perform. Also during the event, a Medal of Recognition from the U.S. State Department will be awarded to student Virginia Dannelly. Dannelly’s mother is currently serving in Baghdad with the U.S. Dept. of Justice. American flags will also be distributed during the event, which will be placed throughout the park as a memorial to the many lives that were lost on Sept. 11. The event is open to the public; tickets are not required.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at highpoint.edu.
# # #