Hpu Main Menu


Engage with HPU


Three HPU Families

Contribute Six-Figure


Gifts to the


Qubein Arena


Several friends and families of High Point University recently contributed more than $500,000 toward the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center, and the adjoining Jana and Ken Kahn Hotel. They have joined dozens of other friends and families who have also supported the extraordinary facility.


“High Point University prides itself on providing a distinctive life skills education for each of our students, where they are presented with opportunities to apply their knowledge in practical settings,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “The arena, conference center and hotel are learning labs where students can test classroom theory in real-world scenarios, and with the philanthropic support of our alumni, friends and family, this extraordinary, one-of-a-kind building has been brought to reality.”


Due to the continued support of generous HPU donors, the Qubein Arena and Conference Center features a number of incredible exhibits like the American Flag forged with steel from New York City’s Twin Towers, donated by David and Donna Griffin; a kinetic sculpture of HPU’s Prowler the Panther mascot, a 30-foot-tall mosaic representing HPU’s transformation since the start of Dr. Qubein’s presidency; and several HPU Spirit exhibits.


The HPU supporters who have contributed are as follows:


Vivian and Gary Biesecker


Vivian and Gary Biesecker recently made a major gift in support of the new learning lab and facility. In honor of the couple’s generosity, the Hall of Fame meeting room in the Arena will be dedicated to them.


“We have been fans of HPU for over forty years,” says Dr. Gary Biesecker. “All the university has accomplished over the last several decades has been extraordinary, and after having the opportunity to tour the arena and conference center, we knew this facility would be no different. Vivian and I are so excited we belong to this special community and look forward to many exciting games and events in this amazing space.”


Dr. Biesecker is a retired general surgeon, originally from Nebraska, who started his career in the United States Navy as an ensign during the Vietnam War. During his time in the Navy, Dr. Biesecker completed his residency in general surgery and became the Chief of Surgery at the Naval Submarine Base Hospital in Connecticut. The Bieseckers moved to High Point, North Carolina, after Dr. Biesecker completed his service in the Navy. He then worked as the general surgeon for the hospital now known as Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist High Point Medical Center.


Originally from Connecticut, Vivian traveled to Nebraska to attend Dana College. After graduation, Vivian worked as a registered nurse (RN) at Methodist Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Once the Bieseckers moved from Nebraska, Vivian continued working as a RN until her retirement in the early 2000s. The couple have two children, Mike and Stephanie, and seven grandchildren.


Nancy and Hayden McKenzie


Longtime High Point, North Carolina, residents and friends of HPU, Nancy and Hayden McKenzie, recently made a six-figure gift to support the Qubein Arena and Conference Center and Kahn Hotel. In recognition of their generosity, the university will dedicate the arena’s Champions Meeting Room in their honor.


“As a current member of HPU’s Board of Visitors, I am well acquainted with the arena and conference center and the purpose the facility fulfills,” says Hayden McKenzie. “Nancy and I always want to do our part to support the community and to inspire others to become better, more engaged citizens. It is our hope that our gift towards this extraordinary building will encourage others to support HPU and to promote the surrounding community’s growth and longevity.”


Hayden was born and raised in High Point, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. After college, Hayden began working full-time at his family’s company, North State Communications. During his 36 years with the company, Hayden progressed through several roles, and in 2008, was selected as the chairman and CEO of North State Communications. He served as the CEO until his retirement in 2012 and was a member of the Board of Directors until May 2020 when the company was sold.


Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Nancy grew up in the college town while her father attended medical school. Once he graduated, the family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where Nancy spent most of her childhood and teen years until she left for college. Nancy graduated from Queens University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and library science. Hayden and Nancy met in May 1982 at a sailboat regatta at Lake Norman and were married in February 1983. The couple have two children together, Jesse and Laura Leigh, and five grandchildren.


Margaret and Elmer Smith


HPU parents, Margaret and Elmer Smith of Roswell, Georgia, recently gave a major gift.  in support of the Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center and Jana and Ken Kahn Hotel. In appreciation of their support, an executive suite in the Jana and Ken Kahn Hotel will be dedicated in their honor.


“The most rewarding aspect of being an educator is the positive feeling you get watching students learn new skills and grow their self-confidence,” says Elmer Smith. “High Point University provides a very nurturing environment and I strongly believe in the approach the university takes in educating students. We made the decision to support the university because the student experience at HPU is a model for the value higher education should represent and we want to be a part of what makes the institution extraordinary.”


Elmer is the owner and CEO of the Interactive College of Technology (ICT), a private technical school based out of Georgia. The college has seven campuses, located across Georgia, Kentucky and Texas, and has several different programs in disciplines such as office technology information systems and HVAC. ICT also offers the largest vocational English as a second language program in the country. Elmer and Margaret first met through the Houston, Texas, campus of ICT, where Margaret worked as an admissions representative and later as a financial aid officer. She left the company in 2011 and Margaret and Elmer were married in 2013. Now, Margaret owns a women’s clothing boutique and in 2021, returned to ICT as the business manager at the main campus located in Chamblee, Georgia. In January 2022, she was promoted to the internal auditor and financial aid trainer position. Margaret and Elmer have two children, Maria “Mia” and Christian. Mia is currently a sophomore criminal justice major at HPU.

Search Our Site
Don't see what you're looking for? Enter keywords below and click the search button for a list of results.

Upcoming Events

More Events Print View