news-category: Advancement

Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Inc. Continues Generous Support of Gardner-Webb Students

A collage featuring two students who have received Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarships
Two of the many students who have received financial assistance from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation are Alivia Lo, left, and Emily Cox.

Since 2004, Donations of Nearly $4 Million Provide Scholarships to Undergraduates in Nursing and Other Majors

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb continually seeks scholarship opportunities for its students. A major partner in this endeavor is the Lettie Pate Whitehead (LPW) Foundation Inc. For nearly three decades, LPW has supported Christian higher education at GWU with a donation history reaching close to $4 million.

“Our relationship with the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation truly is a special one, and it has been sustained over the years such that the impact on GWU students is both profound and indelible,” shared Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “Not long ago we were privileged to host Carrie Conway (Senior Program Officer) and Lyons Gray (Trustee for the LPW Foundation) on our campus, and I am grateful for their subsequent decision to continue supporting our students. Because Gardner-Webb’s student- and faith-centric mission aligns so nicely with the Foundation’s, this is a natural partnership that we value very highly.”

Alivia Lo

The LPW Foundation was chartered in 1946 and devotes most of its resources to the scholarship program, which provides scholarship grants with the intent of educating Christian women with demonstrated financial need, at nearly 200 higher education institutions across the southeast.

In fiscal years 2023-2024 and 2024-2025, LPW’s trustees presented Gardner-Webb with grants totaling $290,000 for each year. These gifts, along with other University aid, provide scholarships in financial aid packages to students in nursing and other undergraduate programs.

Gardner-Webb graduate Alivia Lo received her degree in elementary education on May 2, 2024. She expressed her gratitude for the financial assistance from LPW. “As a woman and a first-generation Hmong college student, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship has helped me put financial needs at ease, so I could focus on achieving a life-long goal of graduating with my degree,” Lo affirmed. “Without the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship, paying my way through college would have been nearly impossible; it has been a huge blessing in my life.”

On the College of Arts and Sciences Awards day,
Emily Cox, right, was recognized by Dr. Elizabeth
Amato for her achievements in the study of
international affairs.

Emily Cox, also a May 2024 graduate with a degree in political science and public relations, reflected on what the funds have meant to her. In addition to her studies, she has served as parliamentarian for the Student Government Association and is a student advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences. “The Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation has enabled me to continue my studies at Gardner-Webb, allowing me to thrive in my education,” Cox asserted. “The support I have received allowed me to take more classes geared toward my future career and learn and grow in a supportive environment. I would not have been able to continue my education with my GWU family without the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation.”

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans was a generous philanthropist and accomplished businesswoman. She was the wife of Joseph B. Whitehead, one of the original bottlers of Coca-Cola. At his death, she assumed management of his business affairs, establishing the Whitehead Holding Company and the Whitehead Realty Company and leading the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Atlanta. She also became one of the first female directors of any major U.S. corporation when she was appointed to the board of The Coca-Cola Company in 1934, a position she held for nearly 20 years.

Whitehead felt a keen sense of duty to those in need. Grieving the loss of her first husband and two sons, she devoted herself to faith and philanthropy. A quote she lived by is tucked inside the pages of her personal scrapbook. The inspirational words are attributed to Stephen Grellet, a French-American missionary from the 18th/19th centuries: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Besides providing scholarships, the Foundation also supports select elderly care facilities in Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia. A video with more information on the Whitehead family can be found here.

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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