news-category: Campus News

New York Times Ranks Gardner-Webb No. 1 in N.C. for Campus Safety

University Police Chief Ron Newcomb
Photo by Danielle Billups / GWU Photo Staff

The University Also Ranks No. 10 in Safety for Schools in the South and No. 46 Nationally

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A new interactive tool created by the editors of The New York Times ranks Gardner-Webb University No. 1 for campus safety on its list of 26 public and private colleges in North Carolina. The Times chose 883 U.S. colleges for its rating scale, selecting only those schools that graduate more than 50 percent of their students.

“Those of us who live, work, and study here know just how dedicated our safety personnel are to freeing GWU from the concerns that so many other campuses have,” praised President Dr. William M. Downs.  “We are grateful each day for our University Police, for our public partners in and around the Town of Boiling Springs, and to everyone who deploys both vigilance and common sense to keep our community safe. The #1 ranking for campus safety makes Gardner-Webb that much more attractive to prospective students and their families, and we will strive to maintain this important standard.”

With The New York Times’ tool, students can see how schools rank in 10 categories, such as campus safety, affordability, post-graduation income earnings and others. Students select the characteristics that are important to them and assign values to each one. The result is a list that is tailored to each individual.

When a student selects Campus Safety as their priority, Gardner-Webb ranks:

  • No. 1 when compared to 26 N.C. public and private schools.
  • No. 1 when compared to 16 N.C. private schools.
  • No. 1 when compared to 10 N.C. schools with less than 3,000 students.
  • No. 10 compared to 110 schools in the South.
  • No. 46 on the national list of 883 colleges and universities.

University Chief of Police Ron Newcomb said his department is committed to serving and protecting the campus community. “At Gardner-Webb University Campus Police Department, our vision is to keep our students, faculty, staff and visitors safe,” Newcomb affirmed. “I don’t just work here. My family has called Boiling Springs home for many years. I want parents of prospective students to recognize that Gardner-Webb is an institution where their kids will feel safe, respected and part of a great community.”

He continued, “We accomplish this by building stronger professional relationships within the Gardner-Webb community. Our officers are committed to the highest standards of professionalism and seek to provide honest, fair and efficient law enforcement to all people within our jurisdiction.”

Additionally, when compared to the other private schools in North Carolina, Gardner-Webb placed in the top 10 in multiple categories:

  • No. 1 in Campus Safety.
  • No. 2 in Low Price (Listed price of tuition, fees and housing).
  • No. 7 in Economic Mobility (Data from Opportunity Insights focused on students improving their economic standing from enrollment to post graduation career).
  • No. 8 in Racial Diversity (Data researched from the Department of Education).
  • No. 10 in Academic (Graduation rate, SAT/ACT scores and student-faculty ratio).
  • No. 10 in Athletic Profile (Student surveys, team performance and revenue).

To our readers:

The information in this report is from The New York Times article published on March 27, 2023, “Build Your Own College Rankings.” The interactive tool includes 883 U.S. Colleges, 26 in North Carolina. The colleges are ranked on 10 criteria: high earnings, low sticker price, academic profile, party scene, racially diverse, economic mobility, low net price, athletics, campus safety and economically diverse. The Times used data from these public sources: the National Center for Education Statistics, the College Scorecard, and Opportunity Insights. The North Carolina Schools included on the NYT list (in alphabetical order)

  • Appalachian State University
  • UNC-Asheville
  • Barton College
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • UNC-Charlotte
  • Davidson College
  • Duke University
  • East Carolina University
  • Elon University
  • Gardner-Webb University
  • UNC-Greensboro
  • High Point University
  • Johnson and Wales University
  • Lees-McRae College
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University
  • Meredith College
  • N.C. State University
  • N.C. Wesleyan University
  • Pfeiffer University
  • Queens University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Warren Wilson College
  • Western Carolina University
  • UNC-Wilmington
  • Wingate University
  • Winston-Salem State University   

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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