From growing undergraduate science programs, to service learning initiatives, to national media recognition, 2013 was an extraordinary year for High Point University. Around campus, academics thrive, students enjoy access to innovators and industry leaders, and HPU continues to be recognized for delivering an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. Here are the 13 top stories of 2013.
In 2013 HPU received several major donations from generous individuals, totaling $34.5 million raised in 2013 alone. The Ronald and Joyce Wanek Foundation gave HPU a gift of $10 million. Ron Wanek, founder and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., praised HPU for its educational efforts in entrepreneurship, technology, business and free enterprise. An alumnus who wished to remain anonymous established a new scholarship fund valued over time at $5 million. The funds will support students studying business and communication and be open to all eligible entering freshmen. Alumnus Doug Witcher, CEO of Smart Choice, committed $2 million to his alma mater; alumna Anne Kerr Walker gave $1 million to HPU; and alumnus Jim Millis Jr. established a new $300,000 scholarship fund that will support the academic endeavors of qualified English majors at the university. Finally, parents of current students pledged $16 million to fund the Center for Student Success.
Once again, HPU was named No. 1 in “America’s Best Colleges,” published annually by U.S. News & World Report. The university was ranked No. 1 Best Regional College in the South for the second consecutive year, No. 1 Up and Coming School in Regional Colleges in the South for the second consecutive year and No. 1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in Regional Colleges in the South. HPU was also named the No. 4 private school in North Carolina for best return on investment and was named as a 2013-2014 College of Distinction.
HPU broke ground on the Center for Student Success during the annual Fall Family Weekend. With parents of current students committed to covering the cost, the facility will be a central hub for students preparing for job interviews, seeking career development opportunities and looking to diversify career skills. It will house the Office of Career and Internship Services, the Office of Study Abroad, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Center for Entrepreneurship, Service Learning, the Freshman Success Program and more.
#4: President Qubein Featured on the Biography Channel
The Biography Channel highlighted the extraordinary life accomplishments of Dr. Nido R. Qubein, President of High Point University, in a 30-minute documentary titled: Nido Qubein, A Life of Success and Significance. The documentary prominently features HPU’s campus and people. It premiered in September.
#5: Steve Wozniak Addresses 2013 Graduates
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave the ultimate lesson in innovation and invention to High Point University’s Class of 2013 during his commencement address at the 89th Graduation Ceremony on Roberts Hall lawn. Wozniak helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products that influenced the popular Macintosh. In 1976, Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer Inc. with Wozniak’s Apple I personal computer. Wozniak also joined the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication Advisory Board.
High Point University appeared on national television several times in 2013. In December, Dr. Qubein appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss the American Dream and how to achieve it. He said the key to success after graduation was to receive a holistic education that prepares students for the careers of the future.
2013 graduate Collin Smith and Ernest Greene made national headlines with ABC News featuring the pair on both “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Good Morning America,” and they appeared on Fox & Friends’ Christmas Special. In May, Smith achieved his dream of receiving a college degree. It wasn’t an easy path for him, because was paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident his freshman year of high school. He was helped all the way by Greene. The two had never met before the accident, but when Greene heard what happened, he knew he had to help. He volunteered his time, arriving at Smith’s house every day at 6 a.m., getting Smith out of bed and ready for the day, driving him to campus and taking notes in every class. When Smith graduated May 4, noting Greene’s selfless service, HPU President Nido Qubein surprised everyone by honoring Green with an honorary Bachelor of Human Letters. They have also been approached by a national filmmaker to tell their story in a major motion picture.
#7: Athletic Performance Center
Construction is underway for the new 31,500-square-foot Athletic Performance Center for student-athletes. The $9 million facility will house the Panthers’ growing athletics program, which now includes NCAA Division I men’s and women’s lacrosse. The Panther Club committed $3 million toward the project.
#8: New Science Deans
The number of students studying undergraduate sciences at HPU is growing rapidly. Exercise science is now the third largest major on campus, with biology ranking No. 5. To foster that growth, graduate degree programs in fields such as physical therapy, physician assistant studies and pharmacy are in development, and new teacher-scholars, including Dr. Angela Bauer, department of biology chair, and Dr. Brian Augustine, department of chemistry chair, have arrived to engage more students in scientific research than ever before.
#9: BigSURS Conference
HPU hosted the 6th Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. The BigSURS provides undergraduate scholars a forum to share the results of their research through posters, presentations, performances and works of art. More than 250 students in 30 different disciplines from 18 institutions in the South presented their research, with 22 of the 47 first-place awards going to HPU students.
CNN news anchor Pamela Brown shared her challenges, mistakes and triumphs with HPU students in November. Brown spent the day on campus visiting students in the President’s Freshman Seminar, having lunch with journalism majors, visiting classes and wrapping it all up with a presentation in the Hayworth Fine Arts Center.
#11: Bonner Program Established at HPU
This fall, HPU started participating in the national Bonner Leader Program with six students. As Bonner Leaders, the students each commit 300 hours of community service at one of three selected sites, serving as volunteer coordinators and contributing to the organizations’ events and causes. This year, the program is working with West End Ministries, Learning Together at the Macedonia Resource Center and HPU’s new Community Writing Center. The students act as volunteer coordinators as well as contribute to the organization’s events and causes.
#12: Leading Contributor to the United Way
This year, HPU was honored with five awards from the United Way of Greater High Point, including being named the city of High Point’s fourth largest contributor for the 2012 campaign. Other distinctions included, the Spirit of NC Award, Gold Status for Employee Campaign Award, the Eagle Award for leadership in giving, the Chairman’s Award for best practices and the Outstanding Achievement Award for support that goes “above and beyond.” So far in 2013, HPU has donated more than $200,000.
#13: Corey Law Breaks World Record
Basketball star Corey Law started making headlines at HPU back in March when he competed as the 2013 State Farm Dark Horse Dunker in the College Slam Dunk Championship. He was HPU’s first-ever contestant in the championship. After he graduated, Law was drafted by the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. He continues to make headlines as a Globetrotter, breaking the world-record for longest successful basketball shot from 109 feet and 9 inches.