Gardner-Webb Announces Formation of Presidential Search Committee

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University Appoints Faculty, Staff, Students, and Trustees to Help Select Next GWU President

graphic image of Gardner-Webb University's official sealBOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Officials at Gardner-Webb University have announced the formation of the committee that will guide the search for the institution’s 13th President.

Dr. A. Frank Bonner, who has served Gardner-Webb for more than 30 years—including the last 13 years as the University’s president—will retire from his post early next year.

According to David Royster III, GWU Board of Trustees member and chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, the group will work in conjunction with the Charlotte-based executive search firm Coleman Lew + Associates, Inc. to help secure qualified leaders as candidates for the position. The firm visited the Gardner-Webb campus in April, where they met with the President’s cabinet, executive members of the staff council, deans and faculty leaders, department chairs, and students.

“We have a busy few weeks ahead preparing for this work,” Royster explained. “We are finalizing a communications plan to ensure the process is transparent, open, and inclusive, while respecting the confidentiality of our candidates.”

Members of the GWU Presidential Search Committee include:


David W. Royster, III 


Rodney Allison
Candy Arey
Ron Beane
Susan Briggs
Chris Welch


Scot Hull, Co-Chair, Staff Council
Lou Ann Scates, Chair, Staff Council


Dr. Donald Berry, Department of Religious Studies; Chair, Faculty Council
Dr. Cheryl Duffus, Department of English; Vice Chair, Faculty Council


Aliah Price, Student Government Association President, 2018-19


Coleman Lew + Associates

At retirement, Bonner will have logged almost 32 years with Gardner-Webb. “I want to believe that my career has been about contributing to the success—in the fullest and best meaning of the word—of generations of students, both through teaching in the past and administrative work more recently,” he reflected. “Now, I want to turn my attention to helping young people and others individually as well as collectively, perhaps through mentoring or tutoring, and in other ways that I can contribute.”

Updates on the search process will be offered as information becomes available at

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at