Extraordinary Leaders are HPU students recognized for excellence and service performed inside and outside the classroom. They are nominated by faculty, staff and fellow students for striving to make a difference in the larger community. Such students lead by example, have a high regard for academic endeavors and are committed to improving our community at large. To celebrate these Extraordinary Leaders, we are regularly highlighting the students who have received this recognition.
Learn more about this HPU Extraordinary Leader below!
Craig Spell is a Class of 2022 business administration major with minors in marketing and finance from Hillsborough, North Carolina. Spell has consecutively been recognized each semester on the Dean’s List, is a member of Alpha Lamda Delta and Delta Mu Delta honors societies, has been a Junior Marshal and is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. He has been the student government representative for the American Marketing Association, an athletic communications assistant in HPU’s Athletic Department, one of two Board of Visitors Senior Scholarship winners, a class leader on the Senior Leadership Cabinet and a first-generation peer mentor for underclassmen who are the first in their family to attend a four-year university.
How have you been personally impacted and changed through your experiences at HPU?
HPU has been the place where I grew from a kid to an adult ready to take on the world. My experiences have led to opportunities I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. I have come out of my shell, become comfortable with myself and am more confident because of my experiences at HPU. My story, though, has magnified my appreciation for HPU.During my sophomore year, I got a terrifying call that my father had suffered a severe stroke and my mother was with him in the ICU. I raced to the hospital to start what would become the toughest week of my life. Three days later, my father unfortunately passed away. It was sudden, painful and happened far too soon. As I sat in the first row pew at the chapel for his memorial service, I thought about our university’s mantra, “Choose to be Extraordinary!” Specifically, the word “choose.” I understood I had a choice. I could allow this situation to change my life for the worse or I could continue living well in an effort to make my dad proud. After receiving flowers from High Point University and numerous calls and texts from the Office of Student Life and Reverend Preston Davis, I knew I needed to return to what had become my home, and continue to strive for greatness. By the grace of God and support from family, friends and many wonderful HPU faculty and staff, I have done just that. Had I been anywhere else, I’m not sure I would have wanted to return to school so quickly, but I felt comfortable here. This place kept me motivated to keep pushing forward. I am truly, eternally grateful for High Point University.
If a high school student asked you why to attend HPU, what would you say?
What makes HPU special is that education goes beyond the classroom. While the lectures are wonderful, the relationships beyond that are what become meaningful. I talk to friends at other institutions about their huge classes with 200-plus people and I can’t even imagine it. Every one of my professors has known me by my first name. It’s things like this that set HPU apart. And it goes far beyond professors. It truly is The Premier Life Skills University. No other school offers opportunities like 1924 PRIME and Alo, or access to top industry leaders like HPU does. On top of the educational and professional opportunities, HPU’s faculty and staff truly do provide an extraordinary experience. For example, Ms. C in the Silver Line Diner knows me by name and greets me with a smile every time I pick up my lunch. You just don’t get that at other places.
What’s one way you generate creativity or productivity?
I enjoy self-reflecting and writing to get my thoughts on paper. This process allows me to stay focused and make sure I’m on the right path while also looking forward and setting goals. Another thing I do is have a detailed calendar. This ensures I’m managing my time appropriately and lets me know what I have coming up at any given time.
What is your favorite quote?
“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”
– Brad Meltzer
This is always a good reminder to treat everyone I come across with the utmost respect and kindness. You never know when someone else is having a really bad day and how something small like a quick smile or wave can go a long way to make it better.
What is your favorite place on campus?
I enjoy the Kester International Promenade. Plenty of times over my four years here, I’ll put in my headphones and go for a walk down the Promenade. Our entire campus is beautiful, but seeing the different statues and academic buildings provides an extra boost of motivation. It’s a good place for self-reflection and winding down after a long day or week.
What is your favorite sculpture on campus?
The Tree of Life sculpture next to Roberts Hall. When I took my first tour of campus as a senior in high school, it was one of the first things I remember seeing and where my mom took a photo of me after the tour. As the tree of life is a symbol for personal growth and strength, I think about how much I have grown and everything I’ve been through since my mom took that photo. So much has changed, and I have faced challenges that I never thought I’d be able to overcome.
What do you love most about being a student at HPU?
I think what I’ve loved most about being a student at HPU is the tight-knit community and size of the school. There is a really pleasant and welcoming feeling when you walk to class and pass by three or four people you know and can say hello to. I’ve met some of my closest friends here and made lifelong memories that I will be forever grateful for.