Gardner-Webb University Employees Honored for Excellence with Annual Awards

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“Apples and Accolades” Program Recognizes Stellar Achievements of GWU Faculty and Staff Members

GWU employees gather at Tucker Student Center for the annual Apples and Accolades awards ceremony

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb honored outstanding faculty and staff members recently during the University’s annual “Apples and Accolades” program.

Jay Zimmer, winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award
Jay Zimmer

The 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award was presented to Jay Zimmer, who serves as instructor of Biology in the Department of Natural Sciences. “Outside of the classroom, he is just as committed to helping students apply their classroom knowledge,” GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner shared during the ceremony. “He has been involved in sustainability projects at the Broad River Greenway, summer camps for high school students at GWU, and enjoys supporting endangered species through hands-on ecological development opportunities. His proven talent, dedication, vision, and Christian commitment in a variety of settings further validate this recognition.”

Staff Member of the Year Awards were presented to Jane Powell and Jordan Turner, who were nominated by colleagues for their work for the University community and its students.

Jane Powell, Female Staff Member of the Year
Jane Powell

Powell has served Gardner-Webb for more than 15 combined years and currently works as assistant director of business services. “She is described as dependable, efficient, and unfailingly punctual—even as she has taken on increasing responsibility with fewer resources.” Bonner shared. “She has consistently created a positive atmosphere in the workplace by improving morale and encouraging others around her to work hard and keep smiling.”

Jordan Turner, Male Staff Member of the Year
Jordan Turner

Turner has worked at Gardner-Webb for four years and currently serves as director of facility maintenance. “If there is an event happening on campus, he is most likely involved in some way,” Bonner offered. “Having his cell number handy has saved many campus event planners from certain embarrassment. He is both a troubleshooter and a problem solver. Details are his specialty and he makes the most of his time—consistently producing good work with a friendly smile and willing spirit.”

Dr. Bryan Young

President’s Awards for Community Engagement were presented to Dr. Bryan Young (faculty recipient), assistant professor of Physician Assistant Studies, and Becky Wright (staff recipient), administrative assistant to the provost. Young regularly tutors local high school and college students—for free. “He never advertises, but somehow people find him,” Bonner shared. “He simply says, ‘Yes.’”

Becky Wright, staff recipient of the Community Engagement Award
Becky Wright

Wright spends much of her free time gathering resources for Feeding Kids Cleveland County. Her nominator wrote, “Her weekends are often defined by spending time purchasing, sorting, packaging and delivering food to area schools as a volunteer with Feeding Kids Cleveland County. In addition to this work, she has also been involved in other local food initiatives including the Little Bulldog Backpack Program.”

Larry Thomas was honored for 40 years of service to GWU
Larry Thomas

GWU employees were also recognized for their tenures of service to the University. Larry Thomas (Boiling Springs, N.C.) was honored for 40 years of service to the University with induction into the Faith, Service and Leadership Hall of Fame for staff. Along with security-related duties that come with being a campus police captain, Thomas is the University’s locksmith, a position with a skill set he’s developed since the beginning of his tenure.

“The first morning I came in, they threw me a ring of keys, and said, ‘Go find out what these fit.’ That was my start in the key business. I unlocked some doors that hadn’t been unlocked in 10 or 12 years. I’ve loved it ever since,” Thomas said in a recent interview. “As long as I’m physically able and enjoy it, I plan on being right here. I’ve still got some good left in me to help out around here.”

Awards for 30 years of service were presented to:

  • Donna Ellington
  • Earl Godfrey
  • Tony Setzer

Awards for 25 years of service were presented to:

  • Lowell Hamrick

Awards for 10 years of service were presented to:

  • Amanda Bridges
  • Don Caudill
  • Tina Earls
  • Daniel Elliott
  • Teresa Harp
  • Lisa Kindler
  • Mary Beth Martin
  • Mark McCurry
  • Jim Morgan
  • Kim Murray
  • Kenneth Phelps
  • Candice Rome
  • Brian Speer
  • Keith Thomas
  • Terry Weathers

Several GWU faculty and staff members were recognized upon their retirement from the University:

  • Cindy McKinney
  • Glenn Bottoms
  • Lois Radford
  • Joyce Crumpton
  • Mona Czarnecki
  • Helen Tichenor

Select individuals were recognized for receiving emerita status. Emeriti rank at Gardner-Webb is reserved for those who have retired from full-time teaching at the University with at least 15 years of service as a member of the faculty. The position is recommended by faculty through an academic department, the Administrative Advisory Committee and the University administration. The Board of Trustees then appoints the retired faculty member to emeriti status. Emeritus/emerita status recipients included:

  • Sherri Adams
  • Mona Czarnecki
  • Dee Hunt
  • Helen Tichenor

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