DD has been accepted EA with a small merit scholarship and an invitation to the Presidential Scholarship Weekend(s) for High Point University’s Class of 2022.
We visited HPU this summer, eager to check HPU out. We expected it to be very similar to other good, regional, united methodist affiliated LACs that we are familiar with like Baldwin Wallace, Mount Union or Southwestern. We definitely came away with the impression that is was an academically typical school of that caliber, maybe a bit more innovative. We were astounded by the lovely campus. We had an eager tour guide, who did a solid job of selling us on his experience at HPU. DD was warmly welcomed by the admissions staff and they certainly went out of their way to make her feel wanted and comfortable. However, there were little things on the campus tour that make you scratch your head and go “hhmmmm” such as: the fact the campus is entirely gated and guarded, the reception/common areas in classroom buildings feel staged, there are copies of President Nido Qubein’s “book(s)” strategically placed on end tables throughout the campus, the library is seriously lacking and weirdly, HPU has already named one of its schools for the current sitting President. Even more strange, the unaffiliated to HPU bed and breakfast we stayed at, near campus, had several Nido Qubein books and a large commemorative 10 year anniversary book detailing Qubein’s contributions to HPU’s success on the desk in our room; not unlike the ubiquitous Gideon Bible found in the night stands of many hotels. We came away from our visit with some hesitations, but DD was still interested in applying, after all who wouldn’t want to attend such an attractive college. It seemed clear that HPU is definitely working in the Field of Dreams vain - “If you build it, they will come”! It is a hands on, experiential kind of academic environment and if your kid needs a little hand holding before taking flight as an adult, HPU might just be ideal.
Today, however, High Point University put the last nail in it’s self-built coffin, for our family. Our DD will be declining her offer of admission. Here is the main reason why… the cult of personality around Nido Qubein (The President) is seriously out of hand. Since our visit this summer HPU has sent no less than 4 of his “inspirational” coffee table books, a CD of Christmas music from the school chorus (sadly, it was so bad, DD said that CD alone was enough to convince her she didn’t want to attend HPU, no matter how sweet the dorms and campus) Today HPU’s swag was a DVD biography about President Nido Qubein. We get it, he is a hands-on, get it done, great guy who can best be described as a force of nature. Undoubtedly he has single handedly turned the school around, but now the fondness for him has moved over into the realm of self indulgence and just plain creepy, for us. HPU may well be a good regional LAC, but their reliance on and adoration of one guy is worrisome. What are they going to do when he retires? He is 70 years, anything could happen at any point. I liken it to Jim Baker and the Heritage USA debacle or even, and I know it is extreme, Jim Jones. It’s like they keep selling us Nido Qubein and not HPU.
We tried really hard to keep an open mind about the school (it gets lots of hate on CC), but we are so not going to drink the Kool-Aid on this one.