R.W. Andrews Scholar’s Mother Inspires Him to Pursue Higher Education at Gardner-Webb University

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Jerrae Gordon to Attend GWU With Support of Scholarship Offering Full Tuition, Room and Board

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University is already close to the heart of Jerrae Gordon, even before he walks into his first freshman class or meets his first college friend. Gordon, a recent Shelby High School graduate who will attend Gardner-Webb on a R.W. Andrews Scholarship, draws inspiration from his mother, Cynthia, in his decision to pursue higher education at the University.

Jerrae Gordon and his mother, Cynthia

Gordon’s mom entered college as an adult, with the goal of preparing for a career as a counselor, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and counseling at Gardner-Webb in 2014. Her outstanding educational experience at GWU impressed Gordon and helped him decide to attend his mother’s alma mater.

“Seeing her motivation and determination to get her degree has pushed me to want to have that success, too,” Gordon shares. “When she was in school, I went with her to some of her classes. All of her professors and everyone on campus at Gardner-Webb was so nice. She was at home here. I feel like I will also be at home here. I feel like I will be in the right place to succeed.”

Among many forms of support for his academic work at Gardner-Webb, Gordon will receive the Andrews Scholarship. The financial aid package is awarded to one Cleveland County African-American male each year and provides full tuition, room and board for four years of study at the institution.

“I can say from my own experience that everything at Gardner-Webb is geared toward success,” Cynthia offers. “When you can get a scholarship behind you, especially one like the Andrews Scholarship, it’s going to make your education that much better. It’s a financial weight off your shoulders, and that’s a beautiful thing.”

Peggy Paksoy congratulates Jerrae Gordon on receiving the Andrews Scholarship and welcomes him to Gardner-Webb.

The scholarship’s namesake, Ralph W. Andrews, was a Cleveland County native who worked as a publisher in New York and San Francisco. His strong desire to help African-American families, especially young men, led to the creation of a fund to provide higher education opportunities for people in his native county.

“Jerrae epitomizes the spirit and intent set forth in this scholarship by Ralph Andrews to provide strong male minority leadership for the future of Cleveland County,” assesses Ali Paksoy, whose mother was a lifelong friend of Andrews and who served on the scholarship selection committee this year. “It is a pleasure to see Jerrae receive this prestigious award. His academic performance, character and determination to succeed are exemplary and should provide him with a sound foundation for success at GWU.”

Gordon, who plans to study marketing at Gardner-Webb, stresses that he appreciates the opportunities afforded by both the Andrews Scholarship and his mother’s example of hard work. “I was so happy when I got the news that I received the scholarship that I ran to my mom’s room to tell her,” he says. “If she can manage to go back to school and further her education, I know I can complete my degree, too. I’m ready to start my classes and get to work.”

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).