This story is featured in the Fall 2018 edition of the HPU Magazine. Discover below how HPU President Nido R. Qubein has contributed to the massive growth of the university.
When a university president can — and wants — to wear as many hats as Dr. Nido Qubein, there will always be much for the HPU family to celebrate.
That was evident when Qubein welcomed the High Point University family back to campus for the 2018 –19 academic year. At 1,500, the largest group of new students in university history arrived as Qubein announced the new Webb School of Engineering, new academic programs, faculty growth and more, all in the wake of significant milestones that had been achieved earlier this year.
Growth is an incredibly familiar story at HPU. But that’s what makes it possible for HPU to transform its students.
“We know a thing or two about transformation because we’ve continuously transformed our institution and our culture,” Qubein recently told prospective families at the largest Open House event in the university’s history.
The numbers show that. Since 2005, Qubein has led High Point University on a meteoric rise and a $2 billion investment. His vision led to more than tripling enrollment from 1,450 to 5,200 students, more than quadrupling campus from 91 to 460 acres, taking HPU to doctoral degree-granting status and establishing six new academic schools, for a total of nine academic schools now at HPU.
Much of it happened amidst the worst economic disruption in the last 50 years of America’s history.
But Qubein continuously motivates students, faculty and staff not to take it for granted.
“We are where we are today because we’ve embraced our place in higher education as the Premier Life Skills University,” he told the HPU family when the fall semester kicked off. “HPU has distinguished itself from an ocean of sameness into a smaller pool of distinction. Families notice. Alumni notice. Higher education leaders notice. The world has taken notice of HPU’s learning model.
“We are blessed and highly favored. We are very grateful for what we’ve achieved, but we don’t rest on our laurels. For High Point University, the best is yet to come.”
Breaking New Ground
Several major facilities are now under construction at HPU.
The Wanek School of Undergraduate Sciences is named in honor of Todd Wanek, the CEO of Ashley Furniture, and Karen Wanek, the president of Superior Fresh. It is the sixth new academic school established at HPU since 2005.
This $65 million, the 128,000-square-foot academic facility will be home to HPU’s flourishing science programs in biology,
chemistry and physics. It is under construction next to the $120 million Congdon Hall, which opened in fall 2017 and has attracted nearly 500 new graduate students to become physical therapists, physician assistants and pharmacists.
A crowd of more than 300 people gathered in the spring to celebrate the start of construction for the School of Undergraduate Sciences, including the Wanek family.
“We know HPU is pursuing a path that will make a difference,” said Todd Wanek during the groundbreaking. “We believe in the objectives and the vision of this organization. I’m incredibly proud of everything we’re achieving together and my family’s relationship with HPU, where both of my children were educated.”
The Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena, Conference Center and Hotel broke ground during a special ceremony at this year’s Fall Family Weekend. The $120 million facility will become the home of HPU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as a venue for major events, speakers, concerts, entertainment, academic symposia and recreational activities. The Qubein Arena is under construction on HPU’s main campus at the corner of Lexington Avenue and University Parkway. It will include 4,500 arena seats and 2,500 conference seats, as well as suites, locker rooms, staff offices, concession stands, a merchandising area, media suite, lm room, press conference room, weight room, athletic training room, hospitality area, high tech audio and video equipment, ticket office and a practice gym.
A small, boutique hotel will be located adjacent to the conference center to support a proposed hospitality management program and accommodate a growing number of requests by organizations who specifically want to tour the campus and experience HPU’s unique educational environment and culture.
In 2017, HPU’s Board of Trustees voted to name the facility in honor of the Qubein family.
“Dr. Qubein’s visionary leadership has ignited the ‘against all odds’ transformation that has taken place at High Point University,” says Dr. Richard Vert, immediate past chair of the HPU Board of Trustees. “This facility will support a student body that has tripled in undergraduate enrollment, Division I sports teams and major university events that draw thousands of attendees. Naming this university facility in the Qubein family’s honor is a symbol of the board’s profound gratitude and appreciation for their leadership, service, and above all, their unwavering belief and commitment that HPU could become an internationally recognized and sought-after institution.”
Relevant Academic Programs
With HPU’s continued commitment to life skills, Qubein assembled a team to research programs that will prepare graduates to render value in a rapidly changing world.
Engineering quickly rose to the top. HPU already has strong computer science programs, and the relationship that Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak has established with HPU as Innovator in Residence provided a natural segue into the world of engineering.
Qubein announced this fall that the Webb School of Engineering will become the university’s newest academic school. The school honors Mark and Jerri Webb, successful business owners and strong HPU advocates. Mark Webb is a 1983 alumnus and native of High Point. He owns and operates Interstate Foam and Supply, Inc. in Conover, North Carolina. The Webbs live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and their son, Connor Mosack, is a sophomore at HPU.
The school houses the existing computer science major with three concentrations within the degree: cybersecurity, software and systems, and visual computing. It will o er additional degrees in computer engineering and electrical engineering, pending SACS approval.
Dr. Michael Oudshoorn has been hired as dean. Oudshoorn previously served as a professor at Northwest Missouri State University. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Adelaide in Australia and brings more than three decades of experience with him.
“When you have a combination of talent and impetus for these programs, you nurture them and move them forward,” Qubein said. “HPU has an incredible balance between academic programs, student life activities, leadership opportunities and experiential learning opportunities, which o er students the chance to build life skills that employers seek. You can be the best in any eld, but graduates must communicate well, build relationships and problem solving across disciplines. They appreciate the wider spectrum of life skills that HPU’s campus provides.”
Global Leaders Join HPU
In addition to new academic programs and facilities, internationally known professionals continue to join the HPU family.
In March, during a community-wide celebration, Qubein announced the hiring of Hall of Famer Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith as the head coach for men’s basketball. Smith joins the Panthers after serving as the head coach at Memphis for two seasons. An all-conference standout for High Point College from 1969-73, Smith coached Kentucky to the 1998 national championship and is one of two head coaches to guide ve different programs to the NCAA Division I Tournament. He brings incredible energy to the future of HPU athletics, especially as community members look forward to enjoying games in the Qubein Arena.
Read more about Smith’s return to HPU and the new synergy in the men’s basketball program on page 90.
HPU also grew its repertoire of In Residence faculty, which already includes Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence, and Net ix Co-Founder Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence. Two additional leaders recently joined the program.
Scott McKain, corporate consultant, author and speaker, joined HPU as Corporate Educator in Residence. McKain is an internationally known authority who helps organizations create distinction in every phase of business. McKain is the founder
of a consulting and training company that explores the role
of ultimate customer experiences in creating enhanced client retention and revenue, and is the author of three Amazon.com No. 1 business bestsellers, all teaching how to expand pro ts, increase sales and engage customers.
McKain has spoken to and consulted with the world’s most successful corporations. These include Cisco, BMW, SAP, General Electric, Intel, Bank of America, CDW, Hallmark and many others.
“Companies around the world invest millions in hiring consultants like McKain to train and motivate their employees,” says Qubein. “At High Point University, we do this for our students. When they graduate and enter the global marketplace, the exposure they received to corporate training as an undergraduate places them far ahead of their peers in terms of wisdom, experience and real-world application.”
Byron Pitts, a national journalist and co-anchor of ABC’s “Nightline,” joined HPU as Journalist in Residence. Pitts has more than 20 years of experience. He has covered national news stories and in-depth features for the network, reporting across the news division for “Good Morning America,” “World News Tonight with David Muir,” “This Week” and “20/20.”
Pitts is a multiple Emmy award-winning journalist known for his thoughtful storytelling, on-the-ground reporting and in-depth interviews. His 2009 memoir, “Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges,” chronicled his journey overcoming illiteracy and a stutter to become a journalist. In 2017, Pitts pro led six young adults that overcame hardship with hope in his book “Be the One.”
“Pitts brings incredible knowledge and experience to students in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication,” says Dr. Virginia McDermott, interim dean of the school. “Our growing journalism program educates students on how to approach the 24-hour news cycle in a factual and ethical way, and Pitts has accomplished that through his career. Having access to him along with our faculty provides a strong network of mentors for our students.”