Dr. Nido Qubein has served as president of High Point
University since 2005. An accomplished business leader
and dedicated philanthropist, he has led the university
through an extraordinary transformation including major
increases in undergraduate enrollment (from 1,500 to
4,000 students), the number of faculty (from 108 to 260), and the construction
of 49 new buildings on campus with a total investment of a billion dollars. Under
his leadership, four academic schools have been added – the Nido R. Qubein
School of Communication, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Art
and Design and the School of Pharmacy. New programs in entrepreneurship,
interactive gaming, and commerce were added along with new initiatives in
physician assistant, pharmacy, and physical therapy. The university, during his
tenure, moved to a doctoral degree granting institution and added masters
and doctoral programs, invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology and
resourced academic programs with personnel, facilities, equipment and
HPU rankings have soared from #17 in 2005 to #1. The university was
named the #1 Regional College in the South and #1 Up and Coming School
in Regional Colleges in the South in both the 2013 and 2014 “America’s
Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the university was
ranked #1 for Best Undergraduate Teaching in Regional Colleges in the
South for the first time this year.
With his contacts and fundraising experience, Dr. Qubein led HPU in raising
$220 million without a formal campaign. Study Abroad programs increased
from 5 to 41 and many new academic initiatives were started including
Undergraduate Research and Creative Works, Service Learning, and Learning
Excellence. The NCAA Division I athletic programs have also grown with the
addition of men’s and women’s Lacrosse, two new athletic stadiums and
even 23 club sports.
President Qubein is a successful, sought-after speaker who has delivered
more than 6,000 presentations across the U.S. and beyond to corporations,
associations and nonprofit organizations. But as someone who came from
humble beginnings, he lives by a principle found in the Gospel of Luke:
“To whom much is given, much is required.” He teaches this principle to
students through his Freshman and Senior Seminars, and he works tirelessly
to ensure that holistic learning and a values-based education remain the
central focus of this institution.
Servant Leadership
President Qubein has been a dedicated servant leader of the High Point
community and High Point University for many years. Amidst his successful
career, he dedicated time to serve as a director or chairman of many
organizations including YMCA of the USA, which oversees 2,600 YMCA’s
across the country, the High Point Chamber of Commerce, the United Way
of Greater High Point, the High Point Economic Development Corp., and
the High Point Community Foundation. He is the founder of the National
Speakers Association Foundation where the highest award for Philanthropy
is named for him.
Believing that values are better modeled than taught, he has led by example
through his civic accomplishments. When he’s not teaching his Life Skills
Seminars, he often can be found conversing with students throughout
campus. His smile and wave are a common sight. His wife, Marianna
Qubein, has also spearheaded the arboretum and gardens on campus and
works with student volunteers to care for the gardens.
An Entrepreneurial Spirit
Nido Qubein’s life story is one filled with both adversity and abundance. It
serves as a message of inspiration and hope to students who are preparing
to enter an ever-changing world.
He grew up in the Middle East to a single mother after his father died when
he was only 6 years old. In search for an opportunity to thrive, he came to
the United States as a teenager with limited knowledge of English and only
$50 in his pocket. He supported himself through numerous entrepreneurial
endeavors while attending Mount Olive College, then High Point University
to receive his bachelor’s degree and the University of North Carolina at
Greensboro for graduate studies. All three of his alma maters bestowed
upon him honorary doctorates.
His business ventures included helping to grow a bank in 1986, and today
he serves on the board and has chaired the executive committee of BB&T,
a Fortune 500 financial corporation with $185 billion in assets and 35,000
employees. He is also chairman of Great Harvest Bread Company with 218
stores in 42 states and serves on the boards of La-Z-Boy Corporation and
Dots, LLC with 400 stores in 30 states.
Prior to accepting the role as seventh president of High Point University, Dr.
Qubein served as chairman of an international consulting firm. He became
a professional speaker known for engaging audiences with topics covering
change, leadership and branding, and he has written a dozen books and
recorded scores of audio and video learning programs translated into many
In October 2013, The Biography Channel aired Nido Qubein: A Life of
Success and Significance. While the documentary celebrates Qubein’s
accomplishments as a professional speaker and business consultant, much
of the film recognizes his extraordinary efforts to lead High Point University
through unprecedented growth and accomplishments during the heart of
the Great Recession.
Honors & Distinctions
The awards and honors he has received throughout his career are too
many to list fully here. He is the recipient of the highest awards given
for professional speakers, including the Cavett (known as the Oscar of
professional speaking), the Speakers Hall of Fame, and Sales and Marketing
International’s Ambassador of Free Enterprise. Toastmasters International
named him the Top Business and Commerce Speaker and awarded him the
Golden Gavel Medal. He was named Citizen of the Year and Philanthropist
of the Year in his home city of High Point. He has also been honored with
the following distinguished awards: the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which
has been bestowed to notable persons such as former President Bill Clinton
and Tony Blair; the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans, which
honors the achievements of outstanding Americans who have succeeded
in spite of adversity and emphasize the importance of higher education
like Oprah Winfrey and Starbucks founder Howard Schultz; and the DAR
Americanism Medal, the highest honor that the National Society of Daughters
of the American Revolution may bestow on a foreign-born citizen.