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HPU Families Pledge

More than $1.1 Million to


Establish Endowed Scholarships


HIGH POINT, N.C., July 22, 2022 – In 2019, High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein announced the university’s 10-year plan to grow the endowment to more than $500 million with a focus on four key areas – first-generation scholarships, minority and diversity scholarships, academic excellence and veterans.

Over the last year, 40 new endowed funds were created. These funds represent over $14.6 million in new gifts to the endowment. Presently, HPU’s endowment stands at more than $136 million, a growth of 94% since the president’s announcement.

“I am honored that many in our HPU community believe in our mission, vision and desire to help our students in their pursuit of education,” says Qubein. “As an institution, our goal is to bestow upon our students the necessary knowledge and life skills for them to succeed in their future ventures. Named endowment funds and scholarships allow us the resources to provide financial assistance to students in perpetuity, while also ensuring they are able to remain focused and fully engaged in the classroom.”

The following families have created new endowments:

Joy Atkinson

HPU parent Joy Atkinson of Bluffton, South Carolina, recently established the Joy Atkinson and John Atkinson Conlon Endowed Scholarship. In addition to establishing the scholarship, she has joined the Elizabeth Miller Strickland Women’s Leadership Council.

“Throughout my career, I have learned that I was privileged to have my leadership abilities recognized and cultivated early on,” says Atkinson. “I am excited that my son attends a university where leadership is taught as an essential life skill and supported through a combination of classroom experiences and real-world scenarios. By supporting students and their education at HPU, I believe that I am helping empower the next generation of extraordinary leaders.”

Atkinson is the president and CEO of Presperse, a cosmetic ingredient company. Based in New Jersey, Presperse, one of the 900 independent companies owned by the Sumitomo Corporation, is the only United States-based company run by a female CEO, though Atkinson hopes many others will follow suit. As a high school student, she had a strong interest in finance and banking, and at 16, she worked part-time at a local bank in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Georgia State University in 1983 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in business management and planned to join the bank full-time. After consideration, she decided to leave the bank and joined the JCPenney Management Training program, where she was first exposed to the cosmetic and fragrance industry. With her background in finance, Atkinson joined Rich’s Department Stores and moved through several positions, eventually becoming a buyer of men’s fragrances and cosmetic accessories. Over the years, she progressed through several international cosmetic and fragrance companies including Tsumura International, Symrise and Firmenich before she took her current role with Presperse.

In addition to her corporate positions, Atkinson has served on several cosmetic industry boards as well as her alma mater’s WomenLead program at the Mack Robinson College of Business. She is the mother of two children, Jack and Kylie. Jack is a rising senior strategic communication major in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication at High Point University and Kylie is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Shannon and Michael McFerren

HPU parents Shannon and Michael McFerren of Bel Air, Maryland, recently established the McFerren Family Endowment to support the Access to Innovators Program, which allows students the opportunity to connect with industry leaders for networking, mentorship, career and professional development.

“At HPU, there is excellence in everything you see,” says Michael McFerren. “The university’s commitment to experiential learning and reputation as the premier life skills university exudes this excellence. As an HPU family, we see this through the implementation and continuation of the Access to Innovators program. With the support of endowed funds, like ours, we hope to see the program grow and blossom over the years as more students benefit from such an extraordinary initiative.”

Michael is the owner and operator of 3 Strands, LLC, the restaurant operating corporation he founded to oversee the operation of his three Chick-fil-A franchises. In 1987, Michael graduated from Allegheny College with a Bachelor of Science in physics. After college, he joined the United States Navy where he served as a pilot for 12 years. Following his service in the military, Michael worked as a recruiter for the Military Recruiting Institute until 2004 when he and his family opened their first Chick-fil-A franchise. Shannon graduated from the Southeast Center for Photographic Studies in 1991 with an Associate of Science degree in photography. In 2001, she pursued her life’s passion by opening her own photography company, Shannon McFerren Photography. In addition to running her business, Shannon works as the accounts payable manager for 3 Strands, LLC. The couple has twin daughters, Macy and Madison, who are both HPU students. Macy is a rising senior studio art major and Madison is a rising senior marketing major.

Jill and Jim Mitchell

HPU parents Jill and Jim Mitchell recently established the Mitchell Family Endowed Scholarship to support the Learning Excellence program.

“We are happy to help provide financial support to ensure student success in college,” says Jim Mitchell. “The Learning Excellence Center is a great resource for many students.”

Jim is the president of Superior Paving Corporation, an asphalt paving company, in Gainesville, Virginia. The company was started in 1976 by Jim’s father, Bart Mitchell, and two friends, Bob Surface and Ron White. The company is now run by Jim, as well as Frank Surface and David White, the children of the company’s two other founding partners. Jim graduated from Lynchburg College in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After college, he began at their family business, Superior Paving Corporation, as an estimator. Over the years, he worked his way up in the company and in 2011, Jim was promoted to president of Superior Paving Corporation.

Jill and Jim met almost 30 years ago when a mutual friend set the couple up on a blind date. They have now been married for 27 years. Several years after getting married, the Mitchells were blessed with their two children, Charles “Charlie” and Sam. Charlie is a rising junior entrepreneurship major at HPU and though a year younger than Charlie, their daughter, Sam, is also a rising junior at the University of Tennessee in the hospitality and event management program. Over the years, Jill has been an advocate for their children and supported them through their childhood and into their lives as young adults. In addition to her children, Jill has a passion for the country lifestyle that includes caring for many animals and serving on the board of the local SPCA.

Bonnie Vozar

HPU parent Bonnie T. Vozar of Chicago, Illinois, recently established the Vozar Family Endowed Scholarship.

“Our family values the time and effort it takes to be active participants in the communities where we live, learn and work,” says Vozar. “As a mother, I make an effort to teach my children the importance and spirit of community service. I admire how HPU actively teaches their students to embody a service attitude. I am so excited to have the opportunity to endow a scholarship to support students and to name it in honor of my children. This will provide them with another connection to the university and the community we hold dear.”

Vozar originally grew up in South Florida. She graduated from George Washington University in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in finance. In 2000, she graduated from George Washington University with a master’s degree in program management. Vozar had a successful career at Motorola for 25 years, working in a number of departments such as sales, international marketing and program management. In 2001, she left the company and started working for her family’s foundation, the Topfer Family Foundation. The foundation was founded in 2000 by Bonnie’s father, Mort Topfer. Vozar serves on the foundation’s board of directors and supports their grant-making processes. She is married to Richard Newell and has two children, Jessie and Stephen Vozar. Stephen is a rising sophomore entrepreneurship major, and Jessie is an incoming freshman at High Point University.

Caren and Jordan Waxman

HPU parents Caren and Jordan Waxman of Boca Raton, Florida, recently established the Waxman Difference Makers Endowed Scholarship.

“Supporting higher education is extremely important to our family,” says Jordan Waxman. “We’ve been so excited to see our son thrive at High Point University with the support of extraordinary faculty and staff. By endowing this scholarship, we want to provide other students with the same support they need to succeed at HPU. We hope that this can be the difference maker in a student’s life, and they may one day become a difference maker themselves.”

Jordan is the founder and managing partner at Nucleus Advisors, a private wealth planning and management company. In 1987, Jordan graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Since then, he has completed 12 years of higher education, with his most recent degree completed in 2021. He received a Master of Law in entertainment, arts and sports law the from the University of Miami School of Law. Caren graduated from the University of Denver in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in hotel, motel and restaurant management. In 2017, she started her own interior design and home staging company, CW Designs, LLC. CW Designs, LLC specializes in full-scale renovation, staging and interior design processes. The Waxmans have three children, Jonah, Lily and Jacob. Jonah is a rising junior at HPU and is a music major with a concentration in instrumental studies.

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