Pictured from left to right, Toni and Patrick Murphy are parents to HPU students Parker and Riley.
College is a crucial time in a young adult’s life. What campus will be the best home for them? Who will be their mentor? How can they make the most of the next four years? While high school students must consider these questions when choosing the right university, HPU knows that parents are working alongside them, diligently searching for the same answers.
Meet the Murphy family of Ada, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids. Patrick and Toni are parents to two HPU students, senior Parker, a sport management major, and freshman Riley, a marketing major. With two students at HPU, one at the end of his four-year journey and one just beginning, Patrick and Toni have a clear understanding of the remarkable transformation HPU students experience. Below, Patrick reflects on the family’s HPU journey.
Q: How did your family discover and choose HPU?
A: Parker knew he wanted to attend a university in a climate that was a little more welcoming than Michigan, so he focused his search in the Carolinas. During his sophomore year of high school, we planned a trip to visit a variety of schools in the Carolinas for his spring break. A family friend heard about our itinerary and suggested that we schedule a visit to High Point University. It was our second to last of eight schools. At the end of our visit and tour at HPU, Parker said, “This is where I’m going to college – this is home.” It was a pretty easy decision at that point. Then, when Riley was evaluating his decision three years later, he found himself constantly comparing each school on his list to HPU. Thanks to his brother, he knew HPU well. When comparing to other schools, HPU always came out on top. It was quickly his top choice. He applied Early Decision and couldn’t wait to open his admissions decision letter.
Q: What sets HPU apart from other colleges?
A: We love that HPU is so focused on providing real-life experiences to students. Classroom curriculum at HPU is impressive, but HPU also thrives in preparing students to excel once they step off campus. There are countless opportunities for internships, externships (Parker completed a Dallas Mavericks externship), interactions with professionals, learning from experts in their field of interest, presenting their work, giving back to the community and more.
Everyone on the HPU campus has a vested interest in creating a successful environment. From the fellow students, professors and success coaches, to President Qubein himself and all the teams who take care of dining, landscaping, the dorms, etc. Everyone is empowered and encouraged to help create an environment that fosters success. This was palpable the first time we visited campus, and we feel it every time we have the opportunity to return.
Q: How have your sons transformed during their time at HPU?
A: Parker has grown exponentially since arriving on the HPU campus four years ago. He was already very mature, but has gained so many valuable life skills at HPU. We have been most impressed by the focus on giving back to the community in which they live through service learning opportunities. HPU uses the classroom as a space to educate on the importance of serving the surrounding and extended community. Then there are the etiquette lessons at 1924 Prime. These are unique experiences that do not exist on many, if any, college campuses.
Parker has also developed a remarkable relationship with his success coach, Britt Carl. Britt helped guide Parker through a change with his major after his freshman year. She encouraged him to switch to a major he would love doing every day of his life and connected him with several different clubs, volunteer opportunities and a job on campus related to his new major. Britt has been a huge part of Parker’s growth and transformation. We are very grateful for her guidance and partnership in his journey. Overall, HPU has given Parker the confidence to easily transition from college to living a life of relevance and significance wherever he chooses.
In his short time on campus, Riley is well on his way down this same path. He has broken out of his shell and taken advantage of club sports, clubs directly related to his major, and he’s found himself having lunch with world leaders through the Access to Innovators project. He’s built confidence thanks to the help of HPU’s complimentary LinkedIn photo session, resume preparation from the Office of Career and Professional Development, and so much more. Much of his involvement has also come from the encouragement of his success coach. I can’t say enough good things about the success coach program. Riley has quickly built strong relationships in a place almost 600 miles away from home. We have no doubt he will continue to grow and be successful after his time at HPU.
Q: What do you tell parents and high school students who are considering HPU?
A: Just come for a visit! It’s probably the easiest school for a prospective student to visit and know whether or not it is the right fit. If they want small class sizes, incredible professors, an environment that is designed to instill confidence and success, and amazing resources and technology, then they will find HPU can exceed any other school on their list.
Q: How is HPU preparing your sons for their future careers?
A: It started before they even stepped on campus with their success coaches. With each of our boys, their coach worked to ensure they arrive to campus in August with a plan to succeed. Once on campus, the opportunities to apply what they are learning in the classroom are abundant. Parker joined the Sport Management Association his sophomore year and has since become treasurer and now president. He has been an intern with the HPU Athletic Department for three years, gaining first-hand experience in his field. Most impressive has been his access to innovators. Parker had the opportunity to travel to Dallas with three other students to shadow the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. She delivered insight on career planning, corporate strategy and creating a winning culture. They also attended the home season-opener and observed the game-day operations. That simply does not happen at other schools.
The opportunities are abundant for Riley as well. He was selected to be part of the Business Fellows program. He joined the Fellows Board and has attended numerous events and presentations from leaders throughout the business community. Even before finishing his first semester on campus, Riley is already preparing to travel overseas as soon as his freshman year ends as part of a Maymester course. During this Maymester, he will have the opportunity to explore global markets and economies in four countries. After seeing all the opportunities HPU has provided for Parker to stretch and capitalize on his talents, we know this is just the beginning for Riley.