news-category: Admissions

Student who Embodies ‘Sacrifice’ and ‘Leadership’ Named Third Tucker Scholar at Gardner-Webb University

Three photos of Kylee Morris, the third Tucker Scholar, in her band uniform, a portrait photo and in her basketball uniform
Kylee Morris, a student-athlete and marching band member, has been named the third Tucker Scholar at Gardner-Webb University.

Kylee Morris, of Newport, N.C., Plans to Major in Biology to Prepare for Medical Field

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A high school senior from Newport, N.C., known for her heart of service, has been named the third Tucker Scholar at Gardner-Webb University. Established in 2019 by Carolyn and Robert Tucker, longtime University benefactors, The Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength Scholarship is GWU’s most prestigious. This year’s winner, Kylee Morris, is a student-athlete at West Carteret High School, who gave up her own athletic goals to help those of her younger basketball teammates come true.

“Kylee emerged atop a really strong pool of scholarship finalists,” shared GWU President William Downs.  “She has impressed us all with her confidence, with her conviction, and with her authenticity. There is every reason to believe that Kylee will embrace her new Gardner-Webb home, that she will flourish as a student and as a person, and that she will set a high standard for others to follow. We are eager to have her join our campus family this fall!”

Morris receives an eight-semester full-tuition, room and board scholarship. The Tuckers are the founders and owners of Shoe Show Inc. in Concord, N.C. In 2010, they donated $5.5 million to build the Tucker Student Center. In the past, Mrs. Tucker explained that Mark 12:29-31 is her life prayer for her family. In these verses, Jesus gives the two most important commandments: “Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Morris’ coach and a history teacher, Lindsey Howell, explained in her recommendation that because of COVID, only six players tried out for the Junior Varsity (JV) basketball team. With the pandemic and quarantines, the coach needed more players and asked for juniors to remain on the JV team. Howell saved Morris’ response: “Even though I would love with all my heart to be on the varsity team, I would feel guilty for the rest of my life if I didn’t give the freshmen a chance to experience high school basketball (a lot has been taken from them already).”

Kylie Morris stayed on the Junior Varsity team for a year so that her younger teammates could have an opportunity to play basketball.

Because of this story and others, Morris stood out among the 20 finalists who interviewed for the scholarship. According to Julie Fleming, assistant vice president for Undergraduate Admissions, 237 students were nominated for the award this year, which represents an increase of 29.5 percent over last year. Fleming said the number of students (155) who completed the application process also increased this year by 53.5 percent.

The Tuckers’ daughter, Lisa, is a GWU Trustee and member of the Tucker Scholarship Committee. She was immediately impressed with Morris’ level of maturity, her drive, and her love of God and education. “She emphasized in her interview that ‘to love God with the entirety of your mind is to give way to heavenly thoughts and use knowledge as an object for good,’” Tucker reflected. “She shows so much joy and kindness when you meet her. One of her teachers said the attributes that she most embodies are sacrifice and leadership. Kylee demonstrates what it means to be a Tucker Scholar.”

Morris also has an exemplary academic record, receiving several awards and honors. She plays softball and is an award-winning member and leader in the Marching Patriots band. She also plays with the Carteret Collective Sound, a local community band. She is an active member of Community Baptist Church in Newport.

Morris plans to major in biology at GWU and her goal is to enter the medical field. She chose Gardner-Webb, because the University had everything she wanted in a school. “I desired a place that prioritized personal relationships, academic studies, and religious faith,” she explained. “I also wanted a place that I could pursue my love for music without having to minor in courses. Gardner-Webb has all of those things.”

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, 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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