HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 20, 2021 – High Point University’s newest facility is officially open. A special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Sept. 24 for HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein and First Lady Mariana and the highly anticipated space named in their honor – the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center – as a part of an exciting Fall Family Weekend.
During the ribbon-cutting, the Board of Trustees honored Dr. and Mrs. Qubein, and High Point Mayor Jay Wagner presented Mrs. Qubein with a key to the city of High Point.
“I am honored to recognize both my friends, Dr. Nido Qubein and his wonderful, supportive wife, Mariana,” said Bob Brown, chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees. “President Qubein lives by the principle found in the gospel of Luke, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ He has been a dedicated servant leader of the High Point community for many years.”
“The transformation that HPU has undergone is due to the dedication, courage and vision of Dr. Qubein and Mariana,” said High Point Mayor Jay Wagner. “It takes a great team and a great group of people to make great things happen, and that’s what you’re witnessing with the grand opening of the arena. This university’s impact on High Point is immeasurable, from the economic boost to the intellectual vigor and vitality of the city.”
When the ribbon was cut, the doors opened to HPU’s newest learning lab.
A Real-World Learning Lab
“First and foremost, this is an educational facility,” Qubein says about the 350,000-square-foot space. “This is a place where you can learn and grow, nourish your mind, nurture your soul and believe in the art of the possible.”
In addition to the arena and conference center, the Kahn Hotel adjoins this multipurpose space, located at the corner of Lexington Avenue and University Parkway.
It will be home to HPU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as a venue for major events, speakers, concerts, entertainment, academic symposia and recreational activities.
Already, students in event management, hospitality, sport management, media production and other majors are gaining hands-on experience by working in a variety of positions at the Qubein Center.
During the Train Concert held Saturday of Family Weekend, HPU students operated jumbotron cameras and helped provide an extraordinary experience for the thousands in attendance.
“Opportunities such as these are what I was promised when I arrived at High Point University: hands-on experience,” said Thomas Hart, a senior studying sports media from Fort Mill, South Carolina. “The school could have hired a production crew, but with the trust of the fantastic faculty and staff, I got together a team to broadcast something we had never done before, a concert, to more than 5,000 people in attendance. It was truly incredible.”
The conference center is a high-tech facility with lighting, sound and video for high-quality presentations and seminars. It can hold up to 2,500 seats and be sub-divided into smaller venues.
The conference center held its first major event on Sept. 24 to honor Dr. and Mrs. Qubein. The event featured speakers from HPU’s Access to Innovators Program like Cynt Marshall, Sports Executive in Residence; ABC News’ “Nightline” anchor Byron Pitts, Journalist in Residence; Dean Cain, Actor in Residence; and many more.
HPU students like Nicole Butterworth got hands-on experience at the event, too. She welcomed the more than 800 guests to the dinner after the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I am one of the first Event Management majors to actually have hands-on experience in this arena,” said Butterworth, a senior university events intern from Old Tappan, New Jersey. “I couldn’t be more proud of myself for that. I am grateful for all the events and opportunities I have been given through this internship.”
Hundreds of people filled the conference center for a morning worship service on the Sunday of Family Weekend. HPU’s Executive Coach in Residence, Dr. John C. Maxwell, provided a sermon on miracles. Families enjoyed special performances by various HPU vocal groups, including Gerald White and Lynn Rose, and Lee Greenwood, a six-time Grammy award-winning singer.
Additional exhibits and features throughout Qubein Center include:
The Jana and Ken Kah Hotel
The arena is connected to the Jana and Ken Kahn Hotel, a state-of-the-art learning lab. The hotel is named after Jana and Ken Kahn, who made a major gift to the university.
The hotel has 30 residential rooms, a fine-dining restaurant called Alo and a meeting space. Proceeds from the hotel will benefit the funding of HPU scholarships.
“The Kahn Hotel not only serves amazing food, but also provides students the opportunity to learn how to dine properly,” said Nicholas Massalleras, a junior majoring in media production and entrepreneurship. “This is extremely beneficial when it comes to interviewing over a meal or dining with my future boss. I always thought we wouldn’t have the opportunity to film a space like this, but now I have drone video of a hotel and arena I can show to potential clients.”
Community events are being planned including the first men’s basketball game Nov. 4. at 7 p.m. against the University of Mount Olive.