Gardner-Webb Announces New Dean for the Hunt School of Nursing

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Four-Time Alumna, Dr. Tracy Arnold, will Lead Nursing Programs

a photo of Tracy Arnold in the Hunt School of Nursing simulation lab
Dr. Tracy Arnold, a native of Sylva, N.C., is the new dean of the Hunt School of Nursing at Gardner-Webb University.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— Officials at Gardner-Webb University are pleased to announce that Dr. Tracy Arnold, a four-time nursing alumna, has been appointed as the new dean of the Hunt School of Nursing (HSON). She replaces Dr. Nicole Waters, who will continue to serve GWU as the associate provost of the College of Health Sciences.

Arnold, a native of Sylva, N.C., was a seventh-grader the first time she came to Gardner-Webb to perform with her jump rope team during half time at a basketball game. A few years later, when she was looking for a nursing program, GWU came to mind. “During my senior year of high school, I decided to come back to Gardner-Webb for a college tour,” Arnold reflected. “As soon as I stepped on campus I felt immediate confirmation that this was where God was leading me.”

She received her Associate Degree in Nursing in 2002, Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2004, Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration in 2006 and Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2012. She worked eight years at CaroMont Health in Gastonia, N.C., in a variety of departments, including medical-surgical, progressive coronary care and performance improvement. For three years, she was the clinical nurse manager on a medical-surgical unit. She began as full-time faculty in HSON in 2010.

“Dr. Arnold’s Gardner-Webb University roots are deeply planted within the Hunt School of Nursing, and I am confident she will continue to lead with integrity and Christian values,” Waters praised. “She brings a notable combination of leadership skills, nursing experience, and passion for the Hunt School of Nursing mission.”

A photo of Tracy Arnold in her nursing uniform and cap made in 2002
This photo of Tracy Arnold was made in 2002 when she received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Gardner-Webb.

Arnold is grateful for the HSON’s rich history of strong female leadership. “I have had the privilege of being a student or faculty member under every former dean of the HSON,” she shared. “Drs. (Shirley) Toney, (Rebecca) Beck-Little, (Sharon) Starr, and Waters have made significant contributions to the HSON and have each individually invested time in helping me grow personally and professionally. I absolutely credit Gardner-Webb University, the HSON, and the influence of these female leaders for helping me become the person I am today. I am passionate about nursing, students, and leadership and I feel honored and privileged to serve in a role that allows me to work within my passions.”

She will further the HSON mission to prepare students to practice holistic and professional nursing and emerge as nurse leaders and healthcare providers. “As written in our philosophy, the HSON believes that each person is made in the image of God, is unique and whole in the moment, deserving of love and respect,” she affirmed. “As faculty, we are committed to helping students reach their God-given potential.”

two nursing students check on a patient mannequin in the GWU nursing simulation labOne of her goals will be to expand the number of service-learning opportunities for students. “I hope to co-create a vision with the nursing faculty that every student within the HSON will have specific opportunities to exemplify what it means to be a Bulldog Nurse through service to others,” she expressed. “As Christians, we are called to use our talents to serve and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I hope over the next five years, our University motto, ‘For God and Humanity,’ will become a lived experience for all of our students as we continue to seek opportunities to serve our community.”

For over 50 years, the Gardner-Webb University Hunt School of Nursing has educated quality, highly-skilled nursing professionals. The school offers nursing degrees from the associate to doctorate levels. Accreditation is maintained through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc. (ACEN). For more information, visit

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at