category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

James Edward ‘Jim’ Crawley

Dean Emeritus, School of Business

James Edward “Jim” Crawley

James “Jim” Crawley (1930- 2014) was the founding dean of the Gardner-Webb School of Business, where he also served as a professor of management. Crawley was born and educated in Rutherford County, N.C., and after high school he joined the U.S. Navy, where he served for four years. After completing his term of duty, he worked as a civilian trainer for the U.S. Air Force.

Seeing the need for further
 education, Crawley entered
 Clemson University and 
graduated three and a half years 
later with a degree in mechanical
 engineering. Upon graduation he
 went to work for Dupont Inc. His work for Dupont took him to many locations throughout the United States and Germany prior to making his home in Shelby, N.C. In 1988, he moved from Germany to the Cleveland County community to lead a collaborative venture between Dupont, Phillips and the Verbatim companies to create a new optical disc production plant in Kings Mountain, N.C.

While manager of the Kings Mountain plant, Crawley was very active in community affairs. He served the Economic Development Commission, the United Way, Cleveland Tomorrow, Cleveland Regional Medical Center, Communities in Schools and Executive Roundtable. He was a supporter of the Cleveland County Family YMCA and active in Shelby Presbyterian Church. He was recognized by the Shelby Lions Club in 1994 as the Citizen of the Year, an honor he saw as his highest.

Following retirement from Dupont in 1994, Crawley became the first dean of the Gardner-Webb University School of Business. During his term as dean, Crawley moved the School into its current home in the newly renovated Hamrick Hall. He was instrumental in significantly increasing the number of doctorates on the faculty of the School of Business. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was expanded to the Statesville and Marion campuses in North Carolina. He also assisted the University in the organization of some of its procedures and was instrumental in encouraging the hiring of the first director of Human Resources.

Crawley continued his service to the community even while holding his post of dean of the School of Business. He was elected to the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners in 1994 and served as commissioner until his retirement from that position in 2000. Crawley was board chair for two terms on the County Commission. One of his most significant actions on the Board of Commissioners was to push for the consolidation of all public schools in Cleveland County, which was successfully enacted in 2000. In the spring of 2004, the Cleveland County school system became a countywide system bringing the county schools, the city schools, and the Kings Mountain schools under one umbrella. The Cleveland County Chamber honored Crawley with a “Resolution of Commendation” for his service as a commissioner seeking unification and collaboration.

Jim and his wife, Marcie, retired to Summerville, S.C., where he had earlier opened a plant for Dupont. In retirement, Jim continued to be active on the board of the local Habitat for Humanity Chapter of Dorchester County, in the Summerville Presbyterian Church, and in other organizations. Crawley remained in Summerville until his death in 2014.

“Jim was highly respected by everyone,” said Gardner-Webb President Frank Bonner. “He provided much needed leadership and direction for the School of Business, and with his guidance it flourished. Jim had the special ability to bring his business experience into the academic world with great success. He was a man of strong character and integrity as well as an engaging personality.”

Sources: Personal interview by Dr. Glenn and Nancy Bottoms, Dr. Darlene Gravett, The Gardner-Webb Office of University Communications, Jackie Bridges and Noel T. Manning, II

Updated: February 2015

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