Six Distinguished GWU Alumni Honored For Their Outstanding Achievements

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David Keim Recognized as Alumnus of the Year

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University honored outstanding graduates with induction into the GWU Gallery of Distinguished Alumni during 2018 Homecoming activities Oct. 13. The award recognizes achievements in one or more of the following areas—career distinction, community service, involvement and support for Gardner-Webb’s advancement, and integrity and character.

David Keim, GWU Alumnus of the Year

Six alumni were recognized as new members of the prestigious gallery, including Joseph Hough of Hendersonville, N.C., Larry Jamall Kinard of Charlotte, N.C., Dr. Ashley Lowery of Spindale, N.C., Debbie Presnell of Black Mountain, N.C., Dr. Tamrah Joy Watson of Durham, N.C., and David B. Keim of Cary, N.C., who was also honored as Alumnus of the Year.

Joseph Hough
  • Joseph Hough—A 1991 alumnus, Hough is a lieutenant colonel serving as the Deputy Brigade Commander for the 130th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Charlotte, N.C. He is also the assistant superintendent for Buncombe County (N.C.) Schools. He has received numerous awards over the years in both his civilian and military careers. In 2005, he received the Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C. In 2010, he was awarded the Bronze Star and DeFluery Medal for his military leadership in Afghanistan.
  • David B. Keim—A 1987 alumnus, Keim is assistant general counsel for Global Corporate Affairs with the SAS Institute Inc., an innovative analytics software company based in North Carolina. For his work in the field, Keim was named Corporate Counsel Legal Elite 2017 by Business North Carolina Magazine. Through the years, he has served on various boards that impact his community and beyond, including the Wake County Board of Advisors, North Carolina Food Bank; Board of Visitors, Department of Otolaryngology, University of North Carolina Medical School; Board of Directors for Dayspring International; and ordained in 2004 to the Diaconate of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Jamall Kinard
  • Larry J. Kinard—A 2008 alumnus, Kinard was a standout baseball player at Gardner-Webb. He is Communities In Schools (CIS) Site Coordinator II/Education Career Coach at Independence High School in Charlotte, N.C., where he also serves as the hitting instructor for the baseball team. Through his role at CIS, Kinard coordinates several initiatives to encourage, inspire and support students and their families. He also serves as program director for the non-profit T.I.M.E. (Taking Initiative Moving Efficiently) Foundation. The organization’s mission is to empower communities in the “Five States of Readiness”—Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual and Financial—through an investment of social capital, mentoring, and programming.
Dr. Ashley Lowery
  • Dr. Ashley Lowery—A 2007 alumna, Lowery owns Rutherford County Family and Children’s Dentistry in Spindale, N.C. She serves her patients and community with gratitude. Lowery completed the North Carolina Dental Society Leadership Academy in 2014 and is involved with organized dentistry on the local and state levels serving as a District 1 officer, a past member of the North Carolina Dental Society Governance Taskforce, a member of the legislative committee, a delegate, and a member of the PAC committee. She serves her local community as secretary of the Rutherford Outdoor Coalition Board, past president of the Rutherford Women’s League, president of the Rutherford Town Revitalization Board, and member of the Chamber of Commerce Board. Lowery also serves on the Gardner-Webb Alumni Board and is a member of the Bulldog Club.
Deborah Presnell
  • Debbie Presnell—A 1984 alumna, Presnell is a published author, national speaker and Bible study teacher. She worked in education for more than 20 years, beginning her career as an elementary school teacher. After obtaining a graduate degree, she taught in higher education and coordinated early childhood and teacher education programs. In addition to the books she’s written for teens and women, her articles have been published in the Divine Moments series available at She is also a frequent speaker at teacher conferences and universities, where she shines the light on “The inspirational classroom: A guide for teachers in all school environments.”
Dr. Tamrah Watson
  • Dr. Tamrah J. Watson—A 2008 alumna, Watson is a nurse practitioner with the Duke Health Care System in the Duke Cancer Center in Durham, N.C. A national board-certified FNP for over eight years, she has worked in a variety of healthcare settings, including direct patient care, management positions, and as an educator. She has a sincere passion for patient care, patient education, and the professional and personal development of future nursing professionals. She desires to continue to contribute to the advancement of the profession of nursing as a whole, and states, “I recognize that nurses in all capacities have a vital role to improve the delivery of compassionate care, improve healthcare outcomes, and improve patient’s quality of life.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a place where Christian compassion meets critical thinking. 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