Nido R. Qubein: Passionate and Gallant Leader Transforming Higher Education


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Education plays a major role in molding millions of lives and shaping students’ futures. Leadership in the educational field is challenging and needs groundbreaking work. It not only involves growing the capacity of students but also creating a transformational learning environment. An effective leader is always armed with a clear vision and strives to develop solid strategies to bring the vision into reality. Taking up the baton for inspiring, educating, and building an empire of accomplished students, Nido R. Qubein (President, High Point University) contributes heavily to the education sector.

Strenuous Journey

The journey of Dr. Qubein was not straightforward as he grew up in the war-torn Middle East. Qubein’s mother raised her children all by herself after the death of her husband. His mother had only a fourth-grade education, yet was blessed with an abundance of common sense with which she worked tirelessly to feed and clothe her children. “Her influence and her modeling of values are why I think I’ve always wanted to help others achieve their goals and dreams,” says Dr. Qubein.

Dr. Qubein came to America as a teenager with little money in hand and limited knowledge of English. He was very much enamored by the possibilities in America to get an appropriate education, build your own business, and achieve success with hard work. Achieving all the milestones, he graduated from college, built businesses, and serves on the boards of Truist, La-Z-Boy, Great Harvest Bread Company, and many more. He became an author, consultant, and keynote speaker and delivered over 7,500 presentations worldwide.

According to Dr. Qubein, he never had any plans to lead the university. However, his friends in the city of High Point, where he lived for more than 40 years, recruited him to his Alma Mater to serve as President. He is grateful for the opportunity to lead a campus community that focuses on planting seeds of greatness in the minds, hearts, and souls of the students.

The Art of Possible

Since he became president in 2005, Dr. Qubein has led a total transformation of High Point University in a compressed amount of time that’s unheard of in the world of higher education. Enrollment has more than tripled to 6,000 students, the campus has grown from 90 to 520 acres and academic schools have grown from three to 11. In addition, there are many student support services that have been added to the campus to focus on preparing each student for the world as it will be. These include Success Coaches for new students, state-of-the-art learning labs throughout campus, access to global leaders, and more.

When Dr. Qubein arrived, one journalist called HPU a “dusty old college.” Since that time, Dr. Qubein has taken HPU to a new paradigm.

Because of HPU’s meteoric rise, a multitude of transformational leaders and inspiring individuals have been attracted to campus throughout Dr. Qubein’s tenure. Every individual has impacted his life positively, as well as the lives of HPU students. These include Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph, HPU’s Entrepreneur in Residence; Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak, HPU’s Innovator in Residence; Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, HPU’s Sport’s Executive in Residence; ABC News’ Byron Pitts, HPU’s Journalist in Residence, Scott McKain, (Best-selling author, business consultant, trainer and HPU’s Corporate Educator in Residence); and leaders like Gen. Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Josh Groban. Dr. Qubein believes that such role models reaffirm the art of the possible and how having a growth mindset can lead people in different ways. He admits to being a lifelong learner and shows appreciation for every opportunity to learn from others.

Contributing to the Success

Dr. Qubein keeps himself available to students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. Moreover, he answers all his emails personally, and makes sure that he has assessed the risks and understood the potential benefits of the decisions he has made for the future of the institution. Maintaining good relations with the staff and faculty, Dr. Qubein meets with them to learn more about the areas of focus and to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources by the University. He believes that a leader cannot allocate resources effectively without a vertical and diagonal understanding of each business unit.

Dr. Qubein adds, “My management style is summed up very simply: Inspect what you expect.” Moreover, to add value to the families and know about their thinking, he has been active in Facebook groups. In addition to that, he teaches the Life Skills Seminar for all freshmen, walks campus to inspect facilities for cleanliness and order, and assesses the energy the campus creates to help propel students forward.

The Premier Life Skills University

Known as The Premier Life Skills University, HPU provides an extraordinary education framed with the life skills that outlast and extend beyond inevitable technological changes. This includes communicating well with others, thriving in a competitive environment, adapting, and navigating complex situations without being intimidated by life’s obstacles.

The campus is filled with ultramodern technology, labs, and learning spaces. Consider the financial trading room with a live stock ticker, the health care simulation labs, or the professional-grade television studio. Because HPU knows technology always changes, these facilities are steeped in life skills lessons, too. That’s why HPU is home to two fine dining restaurants with cell phone-free environments, where students practice job interviews over dinner and are exposed to global cuisine from different cultures. When HPU students graduate, they are prepared to render value in the global marketplace with technical skills and life skills. They are ready to adapt and change along with technology in order to thrive throughout their career. In fact, 98% of HPU graduates are employed or furthering their education within 180 days of graduation, that’s 16 points higher than the national average.

State-of-the-Art Learning 

The pandemic provided every institution with opportunities to enhance and alter the way it renders values to students. At HPU, students and parents abundantly demanded in-person classes. Additionally, the university already had stellar faculty mentors and an inspiring learning environment filled with state-of-the-art classroom technology and labs. It has purposeful student centers where students learn, live, and grow. HPU also developed a health and safety task force as well as quickly implemented plans that balanced both in-person learning with health and safety on the entire campus community.

Moreover, talking about the achievements and accomplishments, Dr. Qubein adds that together they all have transformed the university and achieved national rankings. Today, higher education authorities like The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report recognize HPU as one of the best institutions in the nation. In fact, U.S. News and World Report has ranked HPU the #1 Best Regional College in the South for the last decade, and #1 Most Innovative for the last seven years. The Princeton Review recognizes HPU among the best in the nation for dorms, career services, the most beautiful campus, the most active student government association, and more.

Caring for Students

The pandemic was a very tough time for everyone in the educational sector, including students. During the pandemic, the university made clever decisions and never slowed down. The university secured hundreds of hotel rooms prepared for quarantine and isolation protocols and resourced faculty to teach the students in person. It also leveraged technology to assist students that were temporarily placed in quarantine. Moreover, the university remained open for the entire academic year of 2020-2021 including a high rise in enrollment in the fall of 2021.

The pandemic, though, only amplified the ecosystem of support HPU already had in place. HPU’s promise to families since Dr. Qubein arrived is: At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. By staying ahead of the curve, HPU has successfully transformed its campus and achieved success since 2005. Clear vision, solid strategy, and consistent execution have led to the university’s extraordinary expansion and the impressive outcomes graduates achieve. That’s why families from across the nation continue to flock to HPU’s campus. Learn more at www.highpoint.edu


ALSO READ: The 10 Influential Education Leaders, 2023



The Educational landscape is changing dynamically. The new generation of students thus faces the daunting task to choose an institution that would guide them towards a lucrative career.

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