HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 7, 2017 – Local business leaders gathered at High Point University today to celebrate the strong partnerships they’ve developed with the university to increase vitality in the city.
The event, known as the annual Community Partner Luncheon, honors their dedication to welcoming 100,000 visitors HPU attracts to the city each year, including prospective students, their families and guests attending major events.
“We are so proud to be associated with you,” said HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein to the crowd. “You represent the best of America – free enterprise, personal initiative, hard work and perseverance. Every time the university grows, your business grows, too.”
Qubein noted that in addition to major university events such as Commencement, which brings 10,000 visitors to town, there are up to 75 families on any given day visiting HPU. That makes partnerships such as the HPU Passport Program, which consists of 160 businesses that allow HPU students, faculty and staff to make purchases using their HPU ID card, as well as organizations who fly HPU flags, attractive to those families.
“We have 5,000 students on our campus, and they come from all 50 states and 60 countries around the world,” he said. “More than 80 percent of them come from outside North Carolina. They’ve come to live in this city. They’re going to fill up gas, go to a pharmacy, shop, go to the doctor, and go to restaurants. That’s the power of this university. We’re bringing money from New Hampshire, Texas, Colorado, California, and it’s all being spent here in High Point, North Carolina.”
Additional speakers included Jay Wagner, mayor of High Point; Victoria Hensley, HPU graduate and urban farm facilitator for the Hayden-Harman Foundation; and Lyndsey Derrow, HPU chief concierge.
“High Point is being transformed,” Wagner said in reference to HPU’s growth and downtown revitalization efforts. “We want all of you as our business community to be part of that. Ten years ago, this campus was a dusty college. But today, it is a college that has transformed. Growth here on this campus drives business in our city and makes your businesses better, and the leaders on this campus are taking the lead in downtown revitalization, too.”
Each year at the event, several businesses are honored for their dedication to moving the city forward. The following awards were presented:
HPU’s 2017 Most Innovative Partner Award – The city of High Point Parks and Recreation
Lee Tillery, parks and recreation director, accepted the award. He and the Parks and Recreation team worked closely with High Point University on the installation of the new purple train in City Lake Park.
“I just want to say thanks to the university for the way that they work with the city,” said Tillery. “Most of you have seen what we’re doing and how High Point University is behind the city moving forward. We work hand-in-hand, and they’ve been a great support to not only the city, but specifically to our department.”
HPU’s 2017 Spirit to Serve Award – 98 Asian Bistro
In addition to a strong business relationship, Tu Sen, owner of 98 Asian Bistro, has also worked with the university to accommodate families and students during commencement weekend, providing a special dining experience for city visitors.
“It’s an honor to be a part of High Point University and this community,” said Sen. “It’s an honor to receive this award.”
HPU’s 2017 Town Gown Award – Wal-Mart
Kevin McLean, manager of Wal-Mart, accepted the award. His store has developed and maintained a relationship with the students of HPU, inviting them in each school year and assuring that they feel welcome in the community.
“It’s a great pleasure to work with HPU,” McLean said. “My regional manager visited recently and asked me what High Point is known for. I pointed to the large High Point University mural at the entrance of our store. Sometimes you don’t realize the influence of HPU. Out of 5,000 stores across the country, we are in the top 250 for back-to-school and college sales. We want to be known for helping our community and High Point University.”