This story is featured in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine, headed soon to a mailbox near you. At High Point University, students gain more than an education. They gain a network of mentors and friends who provide endless opportunities for engagement.
You’ll notice it first when you pull onto campus.
A security officer smiling to greet you.
Then, you’ll see hints of it as you go throughout your day.
A professor stooping down to pick up a piece of trash along the Promenade.
The President waving as you walk to class.
A student holding the door for you.
Those gestures happen every day on the campus of High Point University.
While seemingly insignificant, those small gestures make a big impact. Combine them with a campus culture that inspires students to be all they can be, and it all adds up to create an intentional, engaging and inspiring environment at HPU.
That values-based environment is in part why HPU was named the No. 1 Best Regional College in the South by U.S. News and World Report.
From the first day they set foot on campus as freshmen to the day they turn their tassels as seniors, a dedicated team of faculty and staff ensures students are woven into the HPU family.
The assimilation begins before classes start in the fall, when students attend an activities fair to peruse HPU’s 100+ clubs and organizations.
Then, freshmen work with their success coach, whose key purpose is to help make their transition from home to college as smooth as possible. Success coaches are academic advisors, life coaches, university liaisons, activity coordinators and social mentors. Freshmen can meet with their success coaches anytime to find their “niche.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
Faculty members teach in small class sizes and conduct research alongside students. Career advisors in Career and Professional Development open doors to internships and jobs. Dozens of club sports and Division I athletic teams build camaraderie.
Global innovators visit campus to share their lessons in leadership and encouragement. Concerts on the Roberts Hall lawn bring major musical acts to campus. There are community service efforts, Greek life organizations, study abroad trips and more.
“I’ve been able to learn from so many leaders in the past year at HPU,” says sophomore Louis Samara from Morristown, New Jersey. “Other schools can’t compare. I’ve already met Condoleezza Rice, Steve Wozniak, Andy Grammer and Jeremih — and I still have three more years here. I’m excited to see who HPU will bring next.”
Opportunities to be extraordinary are abundant.
At HPU, students benefit from an intentional campus culture that exposes them to unique transformational opportunities.
And when they graduate and pursue professional careers, employers see the distinct differentiation in candidates who embrace excellence.
Holistic education defines the HPU experience.
Every moment — from classroom discussions to casual meet-ups in Cottrell Hall — is a chance to learn, grow and connect. And students thrive in a community built on robust academics designed to inspire, enlighten and energize.
That’s what Brittany Lukowicz did. She thrived.
Lukowicz came to HPU as a freshman in 2013, and made the 12-hour drive from her hometown just outside of Chicago.
After she moved in to her dorm, she, admittedly, was homesick for a while. She was afraid she wouldn’t make friends. It didn’t help that a bout of pneumonia struck her down a few weeks into the semester.
“But once I got into my classes and started getting involved, that fear just drifted away,” Lukowicz, now a senior, says. “The more I got involved, the more HPU felt like a second home.”
And she did get plugged in.
Today, Lukowicz is a psychology major, captain of the equestrian team, a student photographer, a tutor for pre-calculus and darkroom photography, and a volunteer at a local assisted living community.
“HPU gives every student a chance to find something they like to do,” Lukowicz says. “With all the opportunities offered, it lets students try new things and really find themselves. For me, it’s not just ‘stuff’ to put on my resume; these are things I genuinely love to do to give back, help out and have fun.”
As HPU President Nido R. Qubein frequently tells audiences, “To be a great person, walk hand-in-hand and side-by-side with great people.”
“We live, they watch, they learn,” he tells faculty and staff about their impact on students.
Qubein explains that students are paying attention to the actions of those around them, and they need heroes, models and mentors to positively influence their lives.
That’s why the entire HPU family models values of service, joy, generosity, gratitude and respect.
Holding a door. Smiling to a campus visitor. Waving to a friend.
Picking up trash.
There’s a reason behind it all.
Just ask Laura Bernitsky. She’s a 2016 biology grad from Albuquerque, New Mexico, now attending dental school in Kansas.
Her junior year at HPU, she came down with an upper respiratory infection and woke up feeling miserable. She stopped by Starbucks to get some hot tea on her way to her 8 a.m. chemistry lab, hoping it would help.
That’s when she spotted her boss, admissions director Joe Cristy.
“LB!” Cristy cheered. “You don’t look so hot my friend. How are you?”
“Not so good,” Bernitsky muttered.
“You look like you could use a hug,” Cristy said as he opened his arms and pulled her in.
At that moment, in the middle of the morning Starbucks rush, Bernitsky began to cry on Cristy’s shoulder. She couldn’t hold it together any longer.
Bernitsky apologized for getting his lapel wet, and Cristy laughed it off and got her to do the same until she felt better.
“Joe Cristy got me smiling enough to get my tea and make it through class,” Bernitsky recalled a few weeks before she graduated. “Right then, I realized how much of a family HPU has become. The people I live with, work with, study with and learn from have really made this campus, nearly 2,000 miles away from my house, a new home. Realizing that, even though my parents are nowhere near here, I have someone who can give me a big bear hug, tease me into laughing and send me on my way in a better mood, was comforting. It reminded me how lucky I am to go to this wonderful school.”
View this story and more in the Fall 2016 edition of the HPU Magazine: