HIGH POINT, N.C., March 24, 2016 – He’s known to the world as the genius behind Apple Computer. But on March 23, High Point University students came to know Steve Wozniak as a mentor and a friend.
Wozniak began his role as HPU’s Innovator in Residence on Wednesday by working with students spanning majors across campus including computer science, physics, entrepreneurship, communication and education.
In an interactive, student question-and-answer session moderated by HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein, Wozniak talked about how to build innovative technology, but also how to build successful lives.
“You ooze with passion,” Qubein said to Wozniak during the Q&A session. “You love talking about these inventions, these solutions. There’s a huge lesson in that. Whatever it is we do in life, we must do it to the fullest, with a sense of purpose.”
“Be innovative in your own personality,” said Wozniak to more than 650 students who attended. “Be one of those people that can spot things that are different and see trends. And when you are working on something, always ask yourself, ‘What is there that I can do to make this better or special?’”
Inside the university’s Belk Entrepreneurship Center, Wozniak worked with computer science and physics students on a driverless mobile kiosk unit that can travel around HPU’s campus delivering campus mail, medicine and other items. He helped the students flesh out designs for their invention, segment the project into manageable parts and identify relevant technologies to explore.
“Wozniak is a very cool and genuine person,” said HPU physics major Simeon Simeonides. “I love that he takes the time to answer any questions that I may have. I never thought that I would be able to meet someone like Steve Wozniak during my college career, but I am so happy that I did. We are going to take the advice that he gave us for our project and act on it.”
During the interactive Q&A, HPU student Alex Hostetler asked Wozniak to offer advice for millennial entrepreneurs that want to build their business in a fast-paced world.
“Be someone people like,” said Wozniak. “Whether your goal is to just go up the organizational chart, or really enjoy what you’re doing in work, the goal is to have people really like and respect you where you are. You have to respect them, too. Don’t treat them like they’re nothing. One rule I have in my life, from early college days when I developed some principles, is if somebody is bad to you, you’re still good to them.”
“I thought it was awesome to see how passionate Wozniak is,” said HPU student Mandy Engelman. “I love how he said that ‘when you find the right thing, you will never be bored; when you find the right thing, the opportunities are endless and you never know where that passion is going to take you.’ The opportunities that I have had at High Point University this past year are unreal. I have always viewed these innovators that have visited our campus as normal people who took their idea and ran with it and would never say no or stop working towards the end goal. I plan to do the same thing.”
About HPU’s Innovator in Residence:
Wozniak served as HPU’s Commencement Speaker in 2013. His March 23 visit is the first he’ll make to HPU in his new role as the university’s Innovator in Residence. Through this ongoing partnership, Wozniak will connect with HPU students and faculty as a consultant, teacher and motivator.