news-category: Advancement

Through Charitable Bequest, Rendell and Kelly Hipps Ensure Individuals Have Access to Pursue Their Calling to Ministry

The steeple of Dover Chapel

Couple Honored to Partner with Gardner-Webb to Bring the Gospel to the World

After creating a scholarship at Gardner-Webb, Rendell and Kelly Hipps decided to further their impact by remembering the University in their will. With this charitable bequest, they have ensured future generations will have access to higher education.  

Kelly said part of their motivation in giving to the University is to do something for others. “We want to use the assets we have attained in this life to enable others with a calling to pursue ministry. We see that as our legacy,” she affirmed.  

Their first gift to the University created the Clark-Hipps Christian Service Organization Endowed Scholarship. Their goal was to honor Kelly’s late husband, Stuart Clark, who had generously prepared taxes for local ministers around the Caldwell County, N.C., area. “He wanted to be sure pastors were taken care of from a tax perspective,” Kelly said. “It was like his ministry. He was very good at it.”  

The second goal of the scholarship is to aid student attending the divinity school at Gardner-Webb, as Rendell had done 20 years earlier. “It’s important to have fellowship among the students,” he explained. “To do preparation without a community is like ministering without a church. There needs to be a community of faith. The experience of how God works in you at divinity school is the most important aspect.”  

Rendell graduated with a master’s degree from GWU in 2003, and he has been ministering since, currently at Calvary Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C. Rendell got to know Stuart and Kelly as members of one of his first churches. “We became close friends,” Rendell said. “Upon Stuart’s passing (in 2018), they asked me to do the service.”  

Shortly after marrying Rendell a few years ago, Kelly thought it was important to use their generosity to honor Stuart. “Creating the scholarship seemed like a perfect blend of my past, present and the future,” Kelly shared.

Currently, Kelly is retired from a career in tax preparation and pursuing her love of crafting and baking. Rendell does woodwork and practices piano, while still tending his flock as a minister.  

Rendell remains grateful toward those who helped him attain his master’s degree through a Christian Service Organization scholarship. He valued the chance to attend a luncheon and meet those who has sponsored him.

The couple is committed to doing the same for others through the gifts set up in their will. “We are honored to partner with GWU to further the mission of bringing the gospel of Jesus into the world,” Rendell asserted.  

For more information on how you can remember Gardner-Webb in your estate plans, please contact Vice President of Advancement Nate Evans at [email protected]

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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