Financial assistance will be available to all students who are enrolled and pursuing the Searight Leadership Certificate. The endowed Leadership Award shall provide need- and merit-based financial support to first-generation college students who exhibit an aptitude and an appetite for leadership. This award will provide access to the knowledge and skills that will enable graduates to become catalysts for good throughout society and within America’s corporate structure. Consistent with Gardner-Webb’s desire to invest first in the communities surrounding our campus, this award will prioritize recipients from the counties comprising our Foothills Commitment (Cleveland, Gaston, Rutherford, Lincoln). The next geographic priority for scholarship funding will be the Mecklenburg County area, given the location of GWU’s Charlotte Center and its use a venue for the SLC. Preference for selection will be given to (1) students with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, (2) students with demonstrated financial need, and (3) students with demonstrated leadership potential.

Applications for financial assistance will be open to admitted high school seniors who plan to matriculate during the fall semester of their freshman year – at GWU. Examples of demonstrated leadership aptitude include, but are not limited to, experience in student government or other academic clubs and school-based groups, selection and service as an athletics team captain, volunteerism and extraordinary contributions to civic organizations, and/or active youth roles in the church and other faith-based entities.

Early Assurance to GWU’s MBA Program

Upon selection for the SMLA, students will be awarded early assurance into Gardner-Webb’s Master of Business Administration program. This early assurance will provide students the opportunity to continue their higher education studies while pursuing a nationally-ranked MBA degree. Students interested in continuing into the MBA program will need to meet specific requirements throughout their undergraduate process. The Gardner-Webb MBA program will offer students a competitive advantage when competing for leadership positions after graduation.

SMLA will not privilege any specific academic discipline at Gardner-Webb, and it will be managed by GWU’s PACE Program. Funding for the student scholarship award is made possible through the generosity of Rev. and Mrs. Searight. The Searights’ investment will immediately establish an endowment and a current use fund. The named endowment will help ensure that the award and certificate continue in perpetuity. The remaining balance will be applied to a current use fund and will increase the award’s impact in its foundational years while the endowment is established and additional funding secured. As additional funding becomes available, the stipends, award amounts, and the operating budget may be increased to address the growing needs of the program.

Year 1 Award Breakdown for 2 students

ExpenseEst. Annual CostNotesDescription
Technology$ 700$350×2Students receive a laptop that they use all 4 years
Travel Stipend$ 500$250×2This funding will help the students with travel to CLT
Scholarship$ 6,800$3400×2This scholarship helps with tuition and books

Year 2,3,4 Award Breakdown for 2 students

ExpenseEst. Annual CostNotesDescription
Technology$ –N/AOnly needed in year 1
Travel Stipend$ 500$250×2This funding will help the students with travel to CLT
Scholarship$ 7,500$3500×2This scholarship helps with tuition and general costs