Generous Gardner Foundation Gift to Launch Unique Student Success Program


BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University is pleased to announce a leadership gift by the Gardner Foundation to establish a new student-focused program at Gardner-Webb University.

On behalf of the Gardner Foundation, O. Max Gardner III, grandson of institutional namesakes O. Max Gardner and Fay Webb Gardner, has committed a generous, three-year gift to the University to launch the “Fay Webb Gardner Master Mentorship Program.” The program includes the creation of a new endowed chair to center exclusively on mentorship as a means of enriching the undergraduate experience of students who demonstrate superior academic potential.

Gardner-Webb University President Dr. Frank Bonner stated the Gardner Foundation gift was the latest example of the family’s great tradition of providing visionary support to the University. “Without question, the Gardner and Webb families have had a profound influence on the fortunes of this University,” Bonner reflected. “It is fitting and proper that the new Master Mentorship program to advance undergraduate research will bear the name of Fay Webb Gardner. She loved Gardner-Webb, generously investing her time, resources and great intellect to help us pursue excellence. We are deeply grateful to the Gardner Foundation and family for their continuing friendship and dedication to Gardner-Webb.”

The gift was announced during a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Tucker Student Center and coincides with the 75th anniversary of the name “Gardner-Webb College” replacing “Boiling Springs Junior College” in 1942. Fay Webb Gardner was the wife of O. Max Gardner, governor of North Carolina from 1929 – 1933. One of her husband’s most trusted advisors, Mrs. Gardner was also widely respected for her own political and business leadership in the state. She served on the GWU Board of Trustees and was committed to transforming Gardner-Webb into a school of distinction.

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