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University President Remembers The Tough Times And The People Who Helped Him Succeed

High Point University President Nido Qubein giving a first-year student seminar (Courtesy High Point University)
High Point University President Nido Qubein giving a first-year student seminar (Courtesy High Point University)

Nido Qubein's career as a consultant, businessman and public speaker-turned-university president has been stunning — even more so when you consider his journey.

Listen to our full episode here (the Qubein segment starts at 8:05):

Qubein came to the United States from Lebanon, alone, when he was 17 years old to go to college. His English wasn't proficient, and he had less than $100 in his pocket. He got his associate's degree in business at Mount Olive College in eastern North Carolina and eventually went on to finish graduate school at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

His personal story rivals any as the epitome of the American Dream. But that doesn't mean Qubein didn't have challenges along the way. Qubein's father died when he was just 6 years old. As a teen, he was alone in a new country without his mother and four siblings. The money he made from part-time work oftentimes didn't cover both tuition and personal expenses.

When the 70-year-old president of High Point University looks back at his life now, he remembers some of the people who helped him when he needed it most. People like the anonymous doctor who paid part of his tuition when he fell short or the housemother who slipped a few hundred dollars into his bank account when he was saving up for a cheap, used car.

"I will never forget her words ... speaking of kindness," Qubein says. "She said 'I have concluded that it’s much better for me to invest my money in a budding young man than park it in a savings account somewhere.'”

Guest

  • Nido Qubein is the president of High Point University in High Point, N.C. He tweets @NidoQubein

Yasmin Amer Twitter Producer, Kind World
Yasmin Amer is a producer and reporter for WBUR’s Kind World podcast.

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