Whether you live in High Point or just rolling through town for one of our many events, it is virtually impossible to not know of Dr. Nido Qubein and his extraordinary impact on both the University and the city. He currently serves as the President of High Point University where, even in the middle of the Great Recession, he increased enrollment by 245%, grew net assets from $56 million to almost a billion dollars (yes, that’s billion with a B), created six new academic buildings, and attracted $400 million in philanthropic investments! As if he wasn’t doing enough already, his family is among the institution’s most generous donors. In a short 13 years, he has completely transformed HPU and built a national reputation for the school. Dr. Qubein (who many refer to as Nido) is a friendly face for all – on campus you can find him teaching his weekly freshman seminar, walking around campus asking students about their day, sitting front row at an HPU basketball game or personally handing out candy bars to students around Halloween.
Dr. Qubein’s goal is not solely focused on improving HPU, but also improving the city has a whole. In 2017, he agreed to lead efforts to acquire a professional baseball team and the naming rights for a new downtown stadium. In less than four months he not only acquired the team and naming rights, he also dramatically broadened the scope and vision of the downtown revitalization by raising $100 million to construct a children’s museum, an events center, a park and — through partnerships with private developers — a hotel and apartments. Recently, he sold all of the corporate suites at the stadium for $5 million which helped to secure team revenues and the city’s master tenant.
As High Point locals, we are thankful for Dr. Qubein and his determination to bring about positive change to High Point. We were more than honored to interview Dr. Qubein to learn more about this amazing man and his love for High Point.
Q: What brought you to High Point?
A. I was offered the opportunity to run summer camps for the YMCA and their operation was based in High Point. Once I got here, I never left.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A. I wake up at 4am and spend two hours reading, studying, and praying. It’s a quiet time for me and the most productive time of my day.
Q: What do you think has made you so successful in all of your business endeavors?
A. Faithful Courage. It’s the simple combination of faith and courage. I’ve always been willing to work hard, learn from my mistakes, and stay focused on the mission. Having a vision, implementing solid strategies and executing consistently will take you far. I tell HPU students the same thing.
Q: What career would you have in an alternate universe?
A. I’ve always admired singers and anyone who could play an instrument. So maybe a musician, if only I had talent!
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I love jellybeans. And Canadian KitKats. Yes, there is a big difference.
Q: Where do you go to unplug?
A. My wife, Mariana, and I love movies. So we go to the Palladium regularly to catch the latest releases.
Q: If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be?
A. Forgive me, but I’ve had the ability to live anywhere and I chose High Point!
Q: Favorite book (business or pleasure)?
A. I read a different professional development book every week, but the Bible is the most impactful and influential book I’ve ever read.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out and wanting to plant roots in High Point what would it be?
A. Step up and step out. Our city will offer you every opportunity to contribute and lead. Every community has opportunities often disguised as challenges. High Point welcomes you, appreciates your talents, and desires your involvement in enhancing our community.
Q: How has High Point changed since you first called this city home?
A. Well, the economic drivers have shifted for sure. But the core of High Point, our people and our values have always steadied any market disruptions.
Q: With all the new development in downtown, what gets you the most excited?
A. The momentum of the collective developments is exciting to me. Everywhere I go around our city, people are excited about baseball, and the children’s museum or the events center. Our strength is not in one single endeavor. The magic is in the mix.
Q: Some say our city is experiencing a renaissance. Do you agree and if so why?
A. Our city is experiencing transformation.
Q: We presume you are already a High Point Rockers fan, have you always enjoyed baseball?
A. I enjoy community, fellowship and laughter. Baseball is a great catalyst for all three of those things, so I’m very excited about Rockers Baseball.
High Point Favorites
Q: Where do you like to grab a cup of coffee?
Q: Favorite spot for a lunch meeting?
A. Who has time for lunch?!
Q: Restaurant you can’t get enough of?
Q: What High Point company or business do you admire the most?
Q: Where would you tell a first-time visitor to High Point to go and why?
A. HPU of course! We’re educating the leaders of tomorrow and when you see their energy, imagination, and enthusiasm it just lifts you up. Where else could you go in town and see people from all 50 states and 37 countries – and they live in our city for 9 months out of the year! Now we have more than 5,000 students – High Pointers appreciate their economic impact and their commitment to service in our city.
Dr. Qubein, an HPU alumni himself, came to the United States as a teenager with limited knowledge of English and only $50 before going on to build business partnerships in banking, real estate, publishing, and retail businesses. Prior to his role as HPU president, Dr. Qubein rose to prominence as an internationally known author and consultant who has given more than 7,500 presentations worldwide. He serves on the corporate boards of several Fortune 500 companies including BB&T, La-Z-boy, and nThrive. Qubein is also executive chairman of the Great Harvest Bread Company. Due to his large successes, Nido is inducted into the Horatio Alger Association for Distinguished Americans, along with Oprah Winfrey and Colin Powell. He is also the recipient of the DAR Americanism Award and, along with four U.S. presidents, the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In addition, Dr. Qubein has also been recognized as both the Citizen of the Year and and Philanthropist of the Year in his home city of High Point. Most recently, he was named the Honorary Chairman for the internationally recognized PGA Wyndham Championship.
Voices Discovered is a series where High Point Discovered asks questions to High Point business leaders and entrepreneurs to share their view on High Point. Consider it a peek into the heart and soul of our local businesses. We hope you will be inspired to investigate more. Past guests have included Meredith Covington and Nan Jones and Jeremy Walley.
Discover our High Points,
The HP Discovered Team
Cover Image by High Point University