Dr. Nido Qubein, the President at High Point University in North Carolina, has talked about the ‘art of the possible’ and how institutions of higher education must be trailblazers by showing creativity and courage and by embracing connections outside of campus walls.
His vision has been evident in High Point’s huge boost in faculty, its record enrollment and the increasing number of stunning, over-the-top facilities popping up on campus, bolstered by millions in donations over the past decade.
So how could he and this small, private institution ever top that?
On Wednesday at a standing-room-only gathering, Qubein announced that the university was putting together a $400 million academic expansion that will be fueled by a donations from three families totaling $100 million over the past month. Qubein wasn’t speechless, but he was overcome as he delivered the news to his community.
“At HPU, we’re on a rocket ship to the moon,” he said. “Our growth is truly a miracle with God’s hand on it. Students and families across the country appreciate that HPU delivers an education founded on values and framed with life skills. Our future has never been brighter, and our faculty and staff continue marching forward with faithful courage.”
The donors, who were not identified by the university, all live outside of the state and own and operate businesses in the health care, insurance and publishing fields. Their backing will mean, like many of the other projects Qubein has orchestrated, that HPU won’t have to worry about tapping into its coffers to fund the new expansion.
“Thanks to Dr. Qubein’s leadership, support from families such as these, operational surpluses and university revenues, no new debt will be acquired to complete the projects,” said Robert Brown, chairman of HPU’s Board of Trustees.
Those projects include one that has been much discussed – a new $80 million centerpiece library – as well as new Schools of Law, Optometry, Nursing and Dental disciplines in its Innovation Corridor. All of them will be housed in new facilities. HPU also has plans to build a School of Entrepreneurship. In all, that would make 14 total schools, 11 more than it had just 17 years ago.
But that’s not all. High Point is spending $115 million on student life facilities that will be able to accommodate 500 more students as the university continues to grow. It is putting in new retail stores and apartments in an $80 million five-story facility called Panthers Commons, as well as putting $10 million toward 32 new houses and cottages for students that got underway in December and a $25 million parking garage that will be completed by the end of the year. Construction of Panthers Commons is starting in a couple of weeks and will be done next summer.
The four new academic schools include the already announced School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health (backed by a $150 million investment) that will open in the fall of 2023 with a new class of 180 students. Dr. Scott De Rossi, former professor and dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry, will be its first dean.
“HPU’s School of Dental Medicine and Oral Health will provide incredible opportunities and partnerships for local dentists,” De Rossi said. “They’ll be invited to participate in the educational process by speaking to or engaging with students, and they can utilize the talent of those students by providing experiential learning opportunities in their offices.”
High Point officials said they have also found a dean to lead its new School of Law, though they are waiting to release the name until May. The university has not set a timetable for its opening or for the School of Optometry, which is looking for its academic leader. However, its School of Nursing is set to begin in the fall.