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HPU Alumna and

Family Support Veterans


Through Major Endowment


This endowment will support leadership in military and veterans awareness initiatives at HPU in perpetuity.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Date, 2022 – High Point University alumna, Dr. Mary Jo “M.J.” Hall, Class of 1969, and her husband, retired Col. Emmett E. “Jay” Stobbs, Jr., recently established the M.J. Hall and Jay Stobbs Leadership in Military and Veterans Awareness Endowment in honor of retired Brigadier Gen. Norman “Snapper” C. Gaddis, a U.S. Air Force officer who was commissioned in the Army-Air Corps in World War II and served in the newly formed Air Force during the Korean War and in the Vietnam War.

“M.J. and Jay have been loyal supporters of HPU for many years,” says HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein. “We are thrilled that they are continuing to invest in the university’s values of God, family and country, while also honoring retired Brigadier General Gaddis for his distinguished service to our country.”

Gaddis served on active duty as a fighter pilot during several major world conflicts, including the Berlin Airlift. In 1967, Gaddis was sent on a mission along with 18 other aircraft to target a boat manufacturing plant in Hanoi, Vietnam. The mission ran afoul when Gaddis’ aircraft was shot down in the flyover, killing his copilot in the ejection process. Gaddis survived the crash but was captured immediately by North Vietnamese forces. He spent his first 1,000 days in solitary confinement and six years as a prisoner of war (POW), living through intense interrogation, torture and mental abuse. Gaddis was released in 1973 along with more than 500 other American POWs as a part of Operation Homecoming. Since his retirement in 1976, Gaddis has acted as an advocate for surviving POWs and has spoken at many events in recognition of their sacrifice. M.J. and Jay met Gaddis at one such event and have remained close friends over the years.

By creating the Leadership in Military and Veterans Awareness Endowment, Hall and Stobbs wanted to recognize the leadership that Gaddis and others displayed throughout their military service. The endowment will help fund programming and awards that honor and support veterans, such as the annual Veterans Day celebration. It will also help facilitate an essay contest and award, named in honor of Gaddis. The contest will offer students the opportunity to submit an essay describing leadership and character qualities found within the United States military and how these are reflected in their lives, now and in the future, as professionals. Hall and Stobbs especially want students to reflect on how they choose to lead a life of significance.

“Supporting the military and veterans’ initiative is an excellent way to help HPU reinforce itself as a God, family and country university,” says Dr. Hall. “Besides honoring the patriotism and service of military members, veterans and their families, the annual Brigadier General Norman C. Gaddis Leadership awards will recognize students who are building and demonstrating character-based leadership qualities such as personal initiative, faith and gratitude by learning from and with these patriots.”

Both Hall and Stobbs have had accomplished careers in the defense field, and throughout their lives have established themselves as respected leaders in their sectors. In 1969, Hall graduated from High Point University with her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She continued her higher education and graduated from the University of Maryland with her Master of Education, earned her Master of Business Administration from Long Island University and her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from George Mason University. In 1972, she traveled to Germany, and in 1974, to Korea to teach for the Department of Defense (DoD) school system. While in Germany, she met Stobbs, who was stationed in Europe at the time. Once she returned to the United States, she continued to work for the DoD in a variety of operational management roles, eventually as a professor at the Defense Acquisition University. While there, she also served as the director of leadership development and special assistant to the university’s commandant. In 2007, Hall assumed her current role as content manager and strategist with the Association for Talent Development (ATD) Forum, a membership consortium for companies to connect, collaborate and share innovative practices related to learning and organizational performance. Over the years, Hall has spoken at many domestic and international leadership conferences and published and edited numerous articles, blogs, reports and books, including the 2020 book “Leading the Learning Function: Tools and Techniques for Organizational Impact.” She is a recipient of High Point University’s 2018 Alumni Service Award and currently serves on the Board of Visitors.

Similar to Hall, Stobbs had a notable career with the Department of Defense. His tenure with the U.S. Army began when he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. He was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, and immediately completed Airborne and Ranger training. He worked in and commanded combat and construction engineering units and completed assignments involving nuclear weapons management and effects. This included serving as a key coordinator and implementor for the Nunn-Lugar legislation to dismantle Russian nuclear weapons and to safely store their components. In recognition of his expertise and commitment, the DoD awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal. After 30 years of service, Stobbs retired from the military as a colonel. In 1999, he joined Northrop Grumman Corporation in Springfield, Virginia, as a senior scientist and engineer. During his career, Stobbs earned the Professional Engineer (PE) certification and graduated from several higher education institutions including the University of California, Davis, with a Master of Science in applied science, Long Island University with a Master of Business Administration, and the U.S. Army War College. Since his retirement, he has remained active with a variety of volunteer groups, primarily associated with military veterans and community service projects. He also enjoys speaking at Veterans Day events.

Hall and Stobbs have remained committed to investing in HPU’s programs and scholarships. Through their support of the university, the couple aims to assist students in their pursuit of a life skills education while simultaneously allowing Hall to give to her alma mater, which she says was instrumental in her successful professional journey. To ensure the same opportunities are available to the next generation of students, they have also supported students through the HPU Fund for Extraordinary Education. Ultimately, Hall and Stobbs were inspired by the kindness of other HPU families who established scholarships and formed the Emmett E. Stobbs, Jr. Endowed Scholarship in 2021 to benefit ROTC students in the Webb School of Engineering. In addition to their philanthropic generosity, Hall has contributed her expertise to multiple initiatives within the Stout School of Education. To honor the couple’s time, talent and commitment to charitable enterprises at HPU, Hall and Stobbs have been recognized in the Elizabeth Miller Strickland Scholarship Plaza.

For more information on how you can establish a fund or scholarship to benefit student success at High Point University, please contact Chris Dudley, Senior Vice President for Development at cdudley@highpoint.edu.


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