HPU Adds 12 New Members to Board of Visitors

Apr 26th, 2019

HPU Adds 12 New Members to Board of Visitors

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 26, 2019 – High Point University has appointed 12 new members to its Board of Visitors. The board is composed of more than 100 local friends and alumni families of HPU who are recognized for their character and leadership abilities.

“We appreciate the ways these individuals have contributed their leadership and service to High Point University and the greater community,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “HPU deeply values their support, and we are proud to have them represent the university and serve as an inspiration to our students.”

The recently appointed members are as follows:

Dr. James Hoekstra is the president of High Point Medical Center, a part of Wake Forest Baptist Health. Hoekstra serves on Wake Forest Baptist’s strategy leadership team and is a key physician leader in the health system helping drive growth of clinical programs, including acquisition and integration of network health systems, physician practices and network clinical programs. He is also responsible for growing academic relationships for Wake Forest School of Medicine, including the expansion of teaching sites for M.D. and physician assistant students, especially at High Point Medical Center. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and completed his emergency medicine residency at the University of Cincinnati. In addition to being a professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest University, Hoekstra was instrumental in the integration of Cornerstone Healthcare with Wake Forest Baptist Health.

“High Point University is an extremely important part of the High Point community,” says Hoekstra. “Through its mission and its commitment to educational excellence, HPU brings students, visitors, businesses, investment and an outstanding reputation to the High Point community. At High Point Medical Center, we represent not only the largest employer in the High Point region, but a teaching site for HPU pharmacy, physical therapy and physician assistant students. Our success and the success of HPU are tightly linked. I am proud to be invited to be on the HPU Board of Visitors and contribute to the success of HPU.”


Huntley Smith Bass is a native of High Point who works as a physician assistant in pulmonary and critical care at Salem Chest Specialists in Winston-Salem. Bass graduated from Wofford College and the Wake Forest University Physician Assistant program, where she is a past recipient of the Preceptor of the Year award. She is the past president of the GO FAR board and continues to serve on the board. She is also involved in managing the Smith family farm in High Point.

“My grandparents, Louise and Herman Smith, namesakes of the Smith Library, and father, Randolph Smith, were strong believers in education at High Point University,” says Bass. “I hope to carry on their incredible legacies.”


Matt Cromer is a 2004 HPU graduate and former member of the HPU golf team who is currently employed by First National Bank of PA as a commercial banker. He was born in High Point and grew up in Wallburg. Cromer has been married to his wife, Anna, for 12 years, and they have two children.

“Having been raised in and around the High Point community, I know what this university means to the area,” says Cromer. I have watched HPU’s transformation, and I want to help contribute to this school and its mission.”


Steve Bell is the founder of Bell Partners, a company that operates apartments in 14 states throughout the U.S. He founded the company after eight years in mortgage banking and sales, and has been in the investment property business for more than 50 years. Bell has served on multiple boards, including Wachovia Bank, Kenan-Flagler Business School and Greensboro College.

“I am pleased to be on the HPU Board of Visitors,” says Bell. “I believe in the university’s mission and its efforts to teach young people life lessons and prepare them for a better future. I am also a big fan of Dr. Nido Qubein and all he has done to help create a great university.”


Danny Davis is the president of Davis Furniture, a 75-year-old office furniture manufacturer located in High Point. He is an active board member of the Small Manufacturer’s Round Table and participates in many local business and charitable organizations. He is a trustee of Wingate University and serves on several local boards, including the High Point YMCA, Bienenstock Furniture Library and the Salvation Army of High Point.

“I am inspired by the tremendous contributions made by HPU to our community and am happy to be a part of their continued success,” says Davis.


Sebastian King serves as the vice president of Triad and Triangle Golf Today and is the policy advisor for N.C. Rep. Jon Hardister. King attended Texas A&M University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science. He was the first in his family to graduate high school and college and is committed to helping others find opportunity and success.

“It is an honor to serve on the Board of Visitors for High Point University,” says King. “I believe the emphasis on God, values and country provides students a foundation that parents can be proud of. The curriculum at High Point prepares students for a 21st century economy and ensures they have a job upon graduation.”


Robert Blakely is a Certified Financial Planner and president of Blakely Financial Inc., a financial planning and investment management firm in High Point. He serves on the boards for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater High Point, the YMCA of Greater High Point as past-chairman and YMCA Foundation Board. He graduated from Averett University in Danville, Virginia, and appreciates the personal attention and skills that High Point University provides to students.

“I have had the opportunity to interact with High Point University students as my firm offers internships for a select few,” says Blakely. “The character and leadership abilities of the HPU students have been amazing and inspirational. One of our most recent interns, Emily Promise, has become a fully licensed financial advisor with our firm while a student. I am grateful for her commitment to our firm and to our clients. The education and life skills that HPU has provided her will take her far in her career. Being a member of the Board of Visitors is a way for me to give back to High Point University and to potentially champion internship opportunities for other HPU students with local companies.”

Lindsay Thomas is a native of High Point and an alumna of High Point University. She has had a career in health care growth and development, as well as administration for 12 years, most recently with Novant Health in the Triad. Thomas is an active member of Canaan United Methodist Church. She has a passion for serving others, which was sparked by her time as an HPU student.

“My family has a legacy at High Point University. My grandmother, aunt, father and myself are all alumni,” says Thomas. “I am eager to serve the university to continue that legacy and honor the university we have all called our own.”


Norman Stephens, an alumnus of High Point University, served in the military following his graduation. Then, for 20 years, he worked for Colson Corporation, a part of the Marmon Group. In 1989, Stephens started Allied Caster and Equipment Co. and is still active in the business. He lives in Charlotte and attends Providence United Methodist Church.

“I am pleased to be a member of the Board of Visitors and am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the mission of High Point University,” says Stephens.


Donna Griffin has lived in the Triad area for more than 33 years. Her youngest daughter, Dakota, is a graduate student in HPU’s Physician Assistant Studies program. Griffin is the past board chair for the Ragsdale YMCA. With Director Kevin Bottomley, she started a free program for children on the autism spectrum called Fitting Another Piece of the Puzzle. It gives children a chance to be a part of something special and gives parents the chance to have some time on their own while knowing their child is well cared for. She received the 2016 Lincoln Reagan Award and sits on committees for U.S. Rep. Mark Walker and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Her involvement also includes the Special Event Committee Greater Greensboro Republican Women, Special Projects Greensboro Natural Science Center and Women to Women board.

“I am extremely honored to be asked to serve with such inspiring and impactful leaders,” says Griffin. “I have always loved the core values and vision of HPU and have upmost respect for Dr. Nido Qubein, a true visionary who brings respect, honor and unity to, as it is well known, a ‘God, Country and Family’ university.”

Dr. Pedro E. Santiago is the director of orthodontics at Duke University and the president and owner of Advanced Orthodontics and Periodontics with clinics in Durham and Roxboro. He is the founder and former director of the Center for Craniofacial Disorders and the orthodontic graduate program at the School of Dental Medicine, University of Puerto Rico. Santiago is an international speaker and educator and has published more than 25 scientific articles and book chapters. His daughter, Laura, graduated from HPU in 2018.

“Under Dr. Qubein’s leadership and vision, High Point University has become one of the top universities in the region,” says Santiago. “I look forward to being part of the next chapter of this amazing transformation.”


Bill McGuinn is a native of High Point. After graduating from Duke University, he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he became a jet fighter pilot, attaining the rank of captain. Upon returning from the Air Force, he entered the banking industry and served as a senior banking executive at First Citizens Bank. He retired in 1997 and has since served on the local First Citizens Bank Board of Directors. McGuinn has been involved in the community throughout his life. He was an original member and chairman of the High Point Community Foundation Executive Board and has served in leadership positions for Guilford Technical Community College, High Point Chamber of Commerce, High Point Economic Development Corporation, the United Way of Greater High Point, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the High Point Rotary Club. He is a lifelong member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church and has served as chairman of the trustees, lay leader and co-chairman of the church’s capital campaign. McGuinn has received awards for his commitment to these organizations, including being named Citizen of the Year by the High Point Enterprise and receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

“High Point University is exciting! The university has had so much change, and I am thrilled to have witnessed it and happy to be on the Board of Visitors to have a part in it,” says McGuinn.