Visitor Information - History of the University
To know where High Point University is headed in the future, one must have knowledge of our past.
In 1924 High Point College opened as a cooperative venture between the Methodist Protestant Church and the City of High Point. The campus consisted of three partially completed buildings, there were nine faculty members, and student enrollment was 122. Today the University has 40 buildings, is attractively landscaped, the full-time faculty numbers nearly 150, and approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in a wide variety of daytime, evening, and summer programs. Much has changed over the years. Yet the mission of High Point University may still be best expressed in the words of its founders more than six decades ago: "to help us to appreciate and to love our own, to know our needs and opportunities, and to make ourselves more efficient servants of Christ."
The Methodist Protestant Church, which is now part of The United Methodist Church, first became active in educational pursuits in North Carolina in the middle of the 19th century. Of the various institutions which it sponsored, the most ambitious was Yadkin College, which operated in Davidson County from 1856 to 1895 but failed because of its isolated rural location.
At the turn of the century, the vision of a church-related college was revived by The Reverend Joseph F. McCulloch of Greensboro, who labored for nearly a quarter-century to make it a reality. The Annual Conference finally voted to proceed in 1921. Shortly afterwards it accepted an offer from the thriving city of High Point to contribute 60 acres of land and $100,000 to the project. Classes began in September 1924, even as the finishing touches were still being added to the original buildings.
The atmosphere of confidence which attended the birth of the College ended abruptly with the Great Depression. For many years thereafter, the struggle to survive was a severe one. Faculty salaries were eventually in arrears by as much as fifteen years, while students occasionally paid tuition in chickens, pigs, and vegetables. In 1934 the College underwent bankruptcy and reorganization in an effort to reduce its indebtedness. Yet slowly this situation began to improve. By the end of the decade, library and gymnasium facilities had been added, and (with W.P.A. assistance) an athletic stadium was constructed. During World War II, the College hosted the 326th College Training Detachment of the U.S. Army Air Force. Financial stability ultimately returned with the liquidation of the debt in 1945.
The postwar decades brought renewed prosperity and rapid growth. Under the influences of the G.I. Bill and the "baby boom" of the 1940s and 1950s, enrollment more than tripled, with a corresponding increase in staff. The College's programs received full regional accreditation in 1951. Additional facilities were added in response to this growth in size and professionalism: four residence halls between 1953 and 1968, two classroom buildings, a second gymnasium, an auditorium, a chapel, and a campus center. Crowning the physical expansion was Smith Library, completed in the spring of 1984, with a capacity three times the size of the former facility. The original men's residence hall was replaced in 1987 with a 221-resident facility. The Millis Athletic/Convocation Center was opened in late 1992 and provides facilities for convocations, physical education, athletic, and health activities.
On October 9, 1991, by the action of the Board of Trustees, the name of High Point College was changed to High Point University.
High Point University offers day and evening undergraduate degree programs (Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science) and evening graduate degree programs (Master of Science in Sports Studies, Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Educational Leadership, Master of Public Administration in Nonprofit Organization and Master of Business Administration). In addition, several study abroad programs are available to undergraduate students. High Point University in England offers a Junior Year Abroad program in conjunction with the University of Leeds for credit towards their degree. Also, through special arrangement, students can spend the fall semester of their junior year at Westminster College, Oxford, England.
High Point University: Transformation
High Point University announced in October 2007 that it was doubling its investment in academic programs, student life, scholarships and construction of new facilities. The university’s board of trustees approved doubling the investment in the university from $110 to $225 million over a period of three years. The campus transformation is made possible through gifts, bonds and operating revenues.
HPU has completed the construction of eight new buildings and two stadiums, the renovation of 16 buildings and the acquisition of 50 acres of land, with the campus now at 140 acres total. The board has approved the construction of a parking deck, new restaurants, a tennis complex and four new residence halls to accommodate the growth of traditional day students from 1,500 to 3,000 by 2010. The university enrolls an additional 1,200 students in its graduate school and evening degree programs.