Gardner-Webb University 2020 Provides Scholarships That Make a Difference 

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Gift Provided Incentive for Kaitlyn McNeilly ’15 to Pursue Bachelor’s Degree  

a photo of Kaitlyn McNeilly
Kaitlyn McNeilly’s scholarship to Gardner-Webb University gave her the incentive she needed to pursue a college degree.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University 2020, launched in August with a generous gift from the Broyhill Foundation, benefits the University’s Priority Fund . The yearlong fundraising initiative is on pace to surpass the $1 million goal. Contributions directly support scholarship funding and other programs to provide high-impact learning and service opportunities.

“Students choose Gardner-Webb because they know they will receive a world-class education from a talented and dedicated faculty,” GWU President Dr. William M. Downs shared. “We are here, first and foremost, to educate and inspire our students. We are here to be exemplars of our Christian faith, leading our students along a spiritual journey that complements the traditional academic path taken by others.”

According to University officials, more than 97 percent of students receive some form of scholarship or financial aid. For 2015 alumna Kaitlyn McNeilly of Forest City, North Carolina, a scholarship was the incentive she needed to decide to attend college. After high school, she wanted to take a year off, but a persistent GWU admissions counselor asked her to fill out an application.

“Sometime later, I was selected to interview for the Presidential Scholarship (full tuition, room and board for four years),” she revealed. “Receiving the Presidential Scholarship was paramount to my college education—without it, I’m not sure I would have had the opportunity to pursue a degree at all. I think it’s wonderful that Gardner-Webb offers so many scholarships for students. In an era of insurmountable tuition costs for public and private institutions alike, it really shows how dedicated Gardner-Webb is to bringing in students from all walks of life. It allows for students to focus on the important parts of college life without having to worry about the financial burdens college can bring after graduation.”

Since graduating with a degree in English, she’s worked in digital marketing and social media management. “I feel like GWU and the English department set me up for success with the variety of projects and activities we had to do,” she offered. “Something as simple as group work in class—translating a piece from Chaucer, for example—isn’t much different from sitting down in a meeting where we have to comb through the issues at hand and create a cohesive final product.”

The Gardner-Webb 2020 Priority Fund supports a clear vision for Gardner-Webb’s future by providing for student scholarships; high impact learning opportunities; specialized equipment for labs and research; athletic scholarships; performing arts; and Christian service work. Donations to the fund also enable Gardner-Webb to bring the performing arts to audiences around the region and maintain the picturesque 240-acre campus. Your gifts ignite the University’s path to a bright tomorrow. Learn more at

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