HPU Parents & Families

Heather and Larry Gaetano


Heather and Larry Gaetano (Ellicott City, MD)

Q: How did you first hear about HPU?
Believe it or not, through the Air Force ROTC website! Although deeply committed to his Broadcast Media major now, as a high school sophomore, Zac was pretty sure he wanted to pursue the Air Force.  He also hoped for a smaller, private, east coast college. HPU was among the short list of schools that fit that criteria.  We had never heard of High Point, but I remember going to the school’s website for the first time with Zac and saying WOW, this place looks great.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give parents of a student applying to HPU?
Believe what you see and hear on the HPU campus, website and correspondence – this IS a unique and special place where the beauty you see on the outside runs deep into it’s soul.

Q: What do you remember about your first visit with Zac to campus?  
It was our first weekend of visiting colleges.  It was a grey and rainy January day.  The morning started with a tour at a nearby university where a friend attends – we loved it there and thought it was a great option.  Then we drove to HPU – WOW again!  Even in the rain, the place seemed to sparkle.  There was classical musical playing in the promenade and inspiring words on the walkway and benches everywhere we looked.  The people we met sparkled too.  Our ambassador guide’s enthusiasm for her experience there and Dr. Qubein were contagious.  The first class technology and design of the Communication School studios and control rooms were amazing.  Zac started smiling in a whole new way after that as if to say, “Wow, I could actually go here and study in this wonderful place!”

Q: As parents of a freshman, what have you been most impressed with since Zac came to campus?
The positive and personal touch consistently shown to students and parents in all areas.  It started with Zac’s name and hometown in lights on our parking space when we first toured the campus, and now continues with the advisor he enjoys on a first name basis, the Vice President that answers our email within minutes, the friendly students and staff you meet around every corner, and even a Starbucks Barista that knows Zac’s order.  It is not just southern hospitality or the small school phenomena.  High Point sets the bar at a new high.  The end result is that we feel valued, safe, secure, inspired and lucky to make the most out of this college experience.

Q: What resource should every parent take advantage of on campus?
Treat yourself to any chance you can to hear Dr. Qubein speak.  His words will stay with you and his energy is contagious.

Q: What is your favorite HPU memory?
gaetano 1This past fall at our first Family Weekend we had just finished our first Parents Council meeting and heard Dr. Qubein’s inspiring update on High Point news.  We had enjoyed a nice dinner with Zac the night before.  Our son was happy, he was more grown up, he was comfortable in his skin.  As we waited for Zac to meet us, we sat on a bench on the promenade on a picture perfect fall day and were joined by a pretty butterfly.  She sat with us for an unusually long time as if to celebrate with us.  After all the years of hoping and wondering about college for Zac, it felt so good to know that he’s in the right place.