Gardner-Webb Receives Historic Gift to Establish Prestigious Scholarship Program

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Carolyn and Robert Tucker Donate $4 million

Image shows four people, Lisa, Carolyn and Robert Tucker are greeting an individual who is thanking them for making the generous donation to Gardner-Webb.
From left, Lisa, Carolyn and Robert Tucker greet a guest after the ceremony to announce the Tuckers’ gift to establish a prestigious scholarship program at Gardner-Webb University. (Photo by Lisa Martinat)

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A couple known for their generosity is once again making an historic contribution to Gardner-Webb University. Carolyn and Robert Tucker have given a $4 million scholarship endowment to establish the “Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength Scholarship.”

Retired GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner worked with the Tucker family for several years in the formation of this gift. The scholarship name is based on Mark 12:29-31, a scripture in which Jesus gives the two most important commandments. The first one is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“This full scholarship, which will designate the recipients as Tucker Scholars, will be transformational for these students,” Bonner explained. “The cost of a student’s four-year education at GWU will be covered, including tuition, room and board.”

In 2010, the Tuckers announced the largest donation in school history, a $5 million gift, which helped to make a new student center a reality. At the dedication ceremony, Robert Tucker gave another half million donation in honor of former Vice President of Student Development Dr. Dee Hunt. The Tucker Student Center has quickly become the heart of campus life.

The Tuckers are the owners of Shoe Show, Inc. Founded in 1960 in Kannapolis, N.C., Shoe Show’s success has been based on a simple formula of providing quality products, service and value. The Tuckers’ daughter, Lisa, is a 1989 graduate and former volleyball player for Gardner-Webb. She has remained committed to the University for three decades and currently serves as a trustee. She serves the family business as president.

“Gardner-Webb is a unique and wonderful place,” says Tucker. “The faculty and staff have dedicated their lives to teaching and being role models and mentors. Their love for their profession is evident in the way they care about the students. They always place them at the center of the University. I experienced that myself and I know how valuable that is.”

A photo of Carolyn and Robert Tucker bowed in prayer as the benediction is said at the end of the ceremony.When fully in place, the fund will provide for four Tucker Scholars, one in each class, every year in perpetuity. The first Tucker Scholar will be awarded Fall Semester 2020. The Tucker Scholars will be students with exceptional academic experience and drive, strong character and leadership potential, and a dedication to Christian faith and service.

“This vision is far more than exciting—it’s revolutionary,” affirmed Woody Fish, vice president for external affairs and advancement. “Only a few of the most elite institutions have scholarship programs of this magnitude. For the nation’s very top students our name will be competitive with the most prestigious schools the country has to offer.”

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 servant-leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at