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HPU Receives a $1 Million Scholarship Gift
from the Surratt Family

High Point University received a $1 million gift from the Surratt family. Dr. James and Elizabeth Surratt met while attending HPU. James Surratt graduated from HPU in 1965.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 9, 2020 – High Point University recently received a $1 million gift to support students in the Stout School of Education from two alumni and longtime educators – Dr. Jim Surratt and his wife, Liz. Jim and Liz, of Austin, Texas, established the Surratt Scholarship to help support a special education major from each academic class who intends to pursue a career path working with children who have autism or similar communication disabilities.

As former educators who have also faced the overwhelming challenges of parenting a child with autism, the Surratt Family is passionate about the need for intervention in the lives of families who have a child with severe autism. They believe that comprehensive interventions are needed to reach these children in the classroom, as well as essential home support for the child and the entire family.

“Choosing to directly serve autistic youth and their families does not lead to the high level of positive reinforcement found in other careers,” says Jim Surratt. “The tangible rewards come slowly, and the work can be lonely for the educator. We felt a scholarship could not only be financially helpful, but could offer personal affirmation for a student choosing this work.”

“Jim and Liz have an incredible vision to help prepare our education majors to teach the young minds of our future inside and outside of the classroom,” says HPU President Nido Qubein. “Support and dedication from families like the Surratts help HPU students launch meaningful careers.”

In addition to the scholarship, the Dr. James E. Surratt Outstanding School of Education Doctoral Student Award will be presented annually to honor a doctoral student from HPU’s Stout School of Education who displays exceptional leadership skills.

Jim and Liz met while they were students at HPU. Jim graduated from HPU in 1965, and Liz transferred to UNC-Greensboro where she finished her Bachelor of Science. Jim went on to receive a Richardson Foundation Internship at Duke University, where he earned his doctorate while Liz received her master’s in bi-lingual education from Southern Methodist University.

Jim began his career as a classroom teacher in High Point, North Carolina. From there, his educational leadership extended over the next 40 years. During this time, he established three educational foundations and was a leader in implementing technology in the classroom. In North Carolina, he served as Superintendent of Schools in Burlington and in Wake County, where he led that system to become the first district in the state to earn the North Carolina Quality Leadership honor at the Advanced Award Level. Dr. Surratt also served as Superintendent of Schools in Daytona Beach, where he was named Florida Superintendent of the Year. From there, he served as Superintendent of Schools in Plano, Texas, where he led the development of the first instructional software to be sold at the national level. He was honored by the American Association of School Administrators for that work.

The Surratts live in Austin, Texas, near their daughter, Joy Surratt Baskin, and their grandsons, Ben and Judge Baskin. Joy is Director of Legal Services for the Texas Association of School Boards. Their son, Tommy, is a resident of Tacachale, a Community of Excellence, in Gainesville, Florida, where he continues to learn, work and thrive.

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