news-category: Advancement

Gardner-Webb Receives $150K from The Cannon Foundation

A collage of photos featuring students in the College of Health Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences and Performing Arts
A grant from The Cannon Foundation will benefit students in the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Grant will Benefit Students in the University’s Healthcare, Science and Fine Art Programs

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb recently received a $150,000 grant that will transform healthcare, science and fine art education at the University. Presented by The Cannon Foundation, this funding will benefit students in the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and enriching educational experiences.

“The equipment that we are able to purchase in Natural Sciences and Music through the support of The Cannon Foundation Grant goes directly to student usage,” stated Dean and Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Robert Prickett. “The piano lab will allow music students to have the latest curriculum and equipment update. The chemistry lab equipment will allow students to do deeper research and different research. Ultimately, this funding allows us to get our students hands even dirtier (in a good way) — which we love.”

Callie Owen plays the piano during the talent competition.

While providing financial support, this grant catalyzes collaboration and education across departments and invests in Gardner-Webb’s “high growth” programs.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs shared his praise for the funding partnership: “We are grateful for our friends from Cannon who visited GWU’s campus last September and saw opportunity for investment across multiple academic areas. Clearly, our students and faculty will benefit immediately from this grant, and their success will help us expand the University’s approach to foundational support in the future. It’s another solid step forward for Gardner-Webb.”

Dr. Aaron M. Rice, chair of the Department of Music, said the grant will purchase nine Yamaha digital keyboards along with the networking technology that allows the teacher to work with the whole group or individual students. “We are delighted to provide upgraded learning experiences for our students in the Department of Music,” Rice shared. “This enhanced equipment will help musicians build their skills and prepare to impact their communities as teachers, composers, church musicians, or performers.”

In the Department of Natural Sciences, the funds will purchase equipment that will be used to identify particular chemicals. Department Chair Dr. David Campbell related, “The XRF specifically detects different elements, while the mass spectrometer is more used for molecules. We can use the XRF to identify elements in a rock or mineral specimen, or building materials, or anything that we want to study.  The XRF can just be pointed at the object of interest. The mass spectrometer needs a small sample to feed into the device.”

On behalf of the College of Health Sciences, Dean and Professor Dr. Nicole Waters expressed deep gratitude for the continuous support from The Cannon Foundation, which enables the College to procure essential equipment. Waters explained, “This equipment enriches the experiential learning of our students, facilitating realistic skills development within a safe learning environment. Ultimately, this support ensures our graduates are well-prepared to enter healthcare settings and deliver care.”

nursing student

The funds were used to upgrade simulation recording abilities to provide more opportunities to record and review simulations, allowing students to reflect on their performance, identify areas for improvement, and enhance their skills. The College also purchased Task Trainers for Wound Care and Lumbar Puncture, a crucial investment in developing practical skills for students. By using the task trainers, students practice these procedures repeatedly, ensuring they are well-prepared for clinical settings.

The last piece of equipment bought by the College of Health Sciences is a low-fidelity simulator, which allows students to practice various clinical scenarios in a safe environment, from fundamental nursing skills to advanced cardiac life support. Low-fidelity simulators help bridge the gap between theory and practice, ensuring Gardner-Webb graduates are fully-equipped and confident as they enter the healthcare workforce.

About The Cannon Foundation

The Cannon Foundation was established in 1943 by Charles A. Cannon, President and CEO of Cannon Mills Company. The Foundation continues his philanthropic legacy by funding capital and equipment projects for organizations across Mr. Cannon’s home state of North Carolina. The foundation focuses its work on higher education, human services, healthcare and community.

About Gardner-Webb

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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