As 2017 approaches, High Point University pauses to thank HPU students, parents, alumni and friends for their continued advocacy, which allowed the university to move onward and upward in 2016. In the last year, HPU achieved several academic milestones while also furthering its campus expansion plan. Students continued to receive unprecedented access to innovators on the HPU campus, and the university’s distinguished learning model was recognized for excellence.
Below is a glimpse of High Point University’s top moments from 2016:
Generous Alumni, Family and Friends
Numerous members of the High Point University family continue to philanthropically invest in the university’s mission. This year, HPU received several major gifts to support a variety of opportunities for students, including a $10 million anonymous gift that will fund a new facility for undergraduate science programs.
The following families also gave to the university in big ways, from establishing endowed scholarships to supporting programs and campus expansion:
HPU Ranks #1
HPU continues to garner national attention. The university was named No. 1 twice in the 2017 “America’s Best Colleges,” published annually by U.S. News & World Report. HPU ranks:
- No. 1 Best Regional College in the South for the fifth consecutive year. The university received a perfect overall score of 100 in the ranking.
- No. 1 Most Innovative Regional College in the South for the second consecutive year. The ranking is based on surveys of top academics such as presidents, provosts and admissions deans, who rank schools that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities. HPU was the only regional college named Most Innovative this year.
Steve Wozniak Becomes HPU’s Innovator in Residence
Innovation is part of HPU’s DNA, so it made sense when Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple alongside Steve Jobs, became HPU’s Innovator in Residence.
Wozniak, the genius behind the first Apple computer, had previously visited campus as the 2013 Commencement speaker. In his new role, he’s guiding students as they build a driverless, mobile kiosk that could make deliveries across campus.
He held a workshop with the students in March, when he also participated in an interview conducted by Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU president. This fall, Wozniak held a conference call with students to discuss their progress.
HPU Graduate Becomes Apple’s Director of Artificial Intelligence
In addition to Wozniak serving as HPU’s Innovator in Residence, a High Point University graduate landed a top post at Apple.
Ruslan Salakhutdinov, a 2001 graduate, was named Apple’s first Director of Artificial Intelligence. After graduating from HPU, he completed his Ph.D. focusing on artificial intelligence at the University of Toronto. A postdoctoral fellowship took him to Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Five years later, he became a tenured associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
HPU Secures Largest NIH Grant
Researchers in HPU’s Human Biomechanics and Physiology Lab secured the largest National Institutes of Health grant in university history this year. Their goal? To prevent ACL tears, particularly in young female athletes who most commonly suffer from this injury.
The first round of studies were completed in the summer and offered local youth soccer teams a chance to participate.
First Pharmacy Students Receive White Coats
HPU’s Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy welcomed its inaugural class in August during the White Coat Ceremony. With 60 students, it’s the only pharmacy school in the Piedmont Triad.
They began their studies in renovated and redesigned classroom space until the $120 million Congdon School of Health Sciences and Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy facility opens in late spring of 2017. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, prestigious faculty and newly designed curriculum, the schools create a cornerstone for medical innovation at HPU.
Condoleezza Rice Challenges Class of 2016 to Become Optimists for the World
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 66th Secretary of State, gave the Commencement address to the Class of 2016 in May.
“Education is transformative,” she said. “It literally changes lives. Education more than any other force can help to erase arbitrary divisions of race and class, arbitrary divisions of culture, and to unlock every person’s God-given potential.”
Rice spoke during a significant graduation for HPU as it bestowed the first doctoral degrees in its history. Achieving doctoral-degree granting status has been part of a major transformation at HPU in the last 10 years.
HPU Announces $160 Million in New Construction
In April, HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein announced another $160 million in construction and expansion on the campus of High Point University. The $160 million is in addition to $1.5 billion HPU invested already in academic programs, facilities and student life.
As the university continues to move onward and upward, the next three years will include the addition of a $70 million arena and conference center, a $60 million undergraduate sciences facility and a $23 million residence hall to campus.
HPU Re-Affirms SACS Accreditation with Growth Mindset QEP
In December, HPU was re-affirmed as an accredited institution of higher learning by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for the next 10 years. The re-affirmation is in part due to HPU’s new Growth Mindset Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – an action plan for improving student learning across the board.
For the next five years, HPU will initiate a multi-faceted approach to apply growth mindset techniques to encourage students to stretch themselves intellectually and become lifelong learners.
This year’s QEP was inspired by Stanford professor Dr. Carol Dweck, author of the bestseller, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” who spoke on campus in August.
Veterans Day Celebration
HPU welcomed hundreds of veterans and their families to campus for a large-scale Veterans Day celebration on Nov. 11. Guests and community volunteers gathered in HPU’s Millis Center for a complimentary breakfast and a line-up of speakers and performances.
The morning featured keynote speaker Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill, performances by the North Carolina Brass Band and HPU Chamber Singers, and a Super Bowl-style card stunt by volunteers in the stadium that read, “We love our veterans.”
In addition to the ceremony, HPU donated 100 American flags to local organizations. Each veteran also received a blanket that symbolizes the warmth and comfort they’ve brought to others.
Senior Interns at Olympics
While the 2016 Rio Olympic Games captivated the world, they also provided unmatched an internship for communication major Madison Depner, who worked with NBCUniversal Media, LLC in Rio de Janeiro.
Event Management Major Wins International Award
The Event Management track within the School of Communication earned international recognition as the best event management bachelor’s degree.
The Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Gold Award was presented to HPU’s Dr. Vern Biaett at the 61st Annual International Festival & Events Association Convention in the fall. The award recognizes the quality, excellence, creativity and achievement of the festival and event industry, including the top bachelor’s degree in event management education.
20,000 Meals Donated to Community
HPU’s Food Recovery Network team reached a milestone of 20,000 meals donated since the program began in fall 2015, with 6,653 pounds donated during the fall semester alone. Students donate surplus food from campus dining locations to Open Door Ministries in High Point several times a week to assist the organization in their mission to provide three meals a day, seven days a week, to those in need.