news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Selects Second Recipient of Tucker Scholarship

From left, Lisa Tucker, representing the Tucker family, Mascot, Mack the Bulldog, Kyndal’s parents, Josh and Shannon Jackson, her brother, Wyatt; Kyndal Jackson; and GWU President Dr. William M. Downs..
From left, Lisa Tucker, representing the Tucker family; Mascot, Mack the Bulldog; Kyndal’s parents, Josh and Shannon Jackson, her brother, Wyatt; Kyndal Jackson; and GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. Photos by Ely Thompson / GWU Student Photo Team

Kyndal Jackson, of Gaffney, S.C., Presented the Prestigious Undergraduate Award

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A high school senior who excels academically and shares her faith enthusiastically is the second recipient of the Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength Scholarship at Gardner-Webb University. Kyndal Jackson, of Gaffney, S.C., was honored in a formal presentation of the award on Dec. 21 in the Tucker Student Center. This prestigious scholarship recognizes a student with exceptional academic achievement, who also exemplifies the commands of Jesus found in Mark 12:29-31—“Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jackson was chosen from a field of 118 applicants, and was one of 20 finalists interviewed by the Tucker Scholarship Selection Committee.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs welcomed everyone to the event and noted the significance of the occasion. “The Tucker Scholarship is a really, really big deal at Gardner-Webb,” Downs affirmed. “Each year, the recipient is not just a stellar classroom performer but is also a person of exceptional Christian character. Kyndal Jackson meets—and indeed exceeds—those high standards. We knew she was a perfect match for GWU from the moment we met her.”

Kyndal Jackson holds hands with her mom, dad and brother while Tracy Jessup says the closing prayer.

Carolyn and Robert Tucker, who gave the University $5.5 million in 2010 for the Tucker Student Center, established the Tucker Scholarship in March 2019 with a $4 million scholarship endowment. They are the founders and owners of Shoe Show Inc. in Concord, N.C. In the past, Mrs. Tucker explained that Mark 12:29-31 is her life prayer for her family. To remind her children and their spouses, her grandchildren and future Tucker generations of her request, Mrs. Tucker gave them plaques inscribed with the scripture. Replicas of the plaques also hang at entrances to every building on the GWU campus.

While presenting the scholarship, the Tuckers’ daughter, Lisa, gave Jackson her very own copy of the scripture plaque. “Kyndal has such a contagious smile and a welcoming positive attitude to go with her passion for her relationship with Christ,” observed Lisa, a 1989 alumna who is a member of the GWU Board of Trustees. “Her academic accomplishments put her at the top, but just as impressive are her accomplishments outside of the classroom through the many ways she gives of herself to help others.”

A collage of six photos from the scholarship presentation featuring Kyndal with her admissions counselor, standing with her parents after the presentation, talking to Lisa Tucker, receiving a plaque from Dr. Downs and receiving a plaque from Lisa Tucker. One frame shows the table decorations featuring red and black pom-poms and a small GWU bulldog stuffed animal with a sign congratulating Kyndal.

Jackson is a student at Gaffney Senior High School, where she is ranked in the top 10 of her class and has been awarded the highest GPA (Grade Point Average) on the Gaffney High School girls tennis team for two consecutive years. She plans to major in exercise science with the goal of attending a Physician Assistant (PA) program to become a pediatric PA.

“This scholarship means everything to me,” Jackson stated. “Gardner-Webb served as my instinct school. Meaning, it was the first school I heavily researched, toured, and applied to. Gardner-Webb promotes academic excellence, success, and growth in Christ. My values and GWU’s values are extremely compatible. Gardner-Webb just feels like home! I prayed over this scholarship since I decided to apply for it. My family, friends, and church family prayed over this scholarship as well. To me, winning this scholarship is living proof of God’s work in my life.”

At her high school, Jackson has served as an executive committee member of the Junior Ambassadors, which is a program that helps in events such as Pink Out for breast cancer awareness, Make A Wish, White Christmas, and Relay for Life. She has also participated in community service projects through Beta Club, such as blood drives and making cards for the school’s faculty. She serves as chaplain of the Sub Deb Club, where she helps with the grandparent project, which involves writing letters to nursing home residents, and with Christmas for kids, which helps a family in need buy Christmas presents. She has volunteered to help with Meals on Wheels and the Jerusalem Project, and participated in mission trips.

Jackson was nominated for the scholarship by her high school guidance counselor, Lawanda Moorer, who noted: “Kyndal is a joy to be around, she has a welcoming presence as well as an appetite to succeed and to be the best she can be in both her academics and personal growth. She is also very passionate about her walk and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She truly is a remarkable young woman. I believe and think you will agree that she is the epitome of what this scholarship stands for.”

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu. 

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