news-category: School of Divinity

Gardner-Webb School of Divinity Recognizes Charles B. Keesee Fund Leaders at Convocation

The Gardner-Webb School of Divinity Fall Convocation welcomed leaders of the Charles B. Keesee Fund. The Keesee Fund has supported the divinity school since 2006 in various ways, including providing scholarships to students. This photo includes winners of the Vernie W. Lewis Scholarship, which was established in 2021. Front row, from left, are Joy Axelsson, 2022 recipient; Lindsay Karback, this year’s recipient; and Avery Woods Young, 2021 recipient. The Keesee representatives on the back row, from left, are Trustee Martha Medley, Executive Director Sandra Prilliman, Trustee John Fulcher, Vice President and Trustee Douglas Ramsey, and President Ryan Hutchinson.
The Gardner-Webb School of Divinity Fall Convocation welcomed leaders of the Charles B. Keesee Fund. The Keesee Fund has supported the divinity school since 2006 in various ways, including providing scholarships to students. This photo includes winners of the Vernie W. Lewis Scholarship, which was established in 2021. Front row, from left, are Joy Axelsson, 2022 recipient; Lindsay Karback, this year’s recipient; and Avery Woods Young, 2021 recipient. The Keesee representatives on the back row, from left, are Trustee Martha Medley, Executive Director Sandra Prilliman, Trustee John Fulcher, Vice President and Trustee Douglas Ramsey, and President Ryan Hutchinson.

Program Also Introduces 2023 Recipient of The Fund’s Vernie W. Lewis Scholarship, Lindsay M. Karbach

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity faculty and staff and GWU President Dr. William M. Downs welcomed representatives of the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund Inc. to Convocation on Sept. 12 in Dover Chapel. The Fund’s Trustee and Vice President Douglas T. Ramsey was guest speaker for the program.

Charels B. Keesee Educational Fund Inc. Trustee and Vice President Douglass T. Ramsey was guest speaker for the program.

Since the fall of 2006, the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund Inc. has been a valued and committed partner to the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb. In addition to providing various scholarships to numerous individual students who are preparing for church-related ministry, the Foundation has presented grants to the divinity school for hands-on programs, technology, and academic enrichment opportunities, such as Bible land travel.

Ramsey spoke about hearing and accepting God’s call and used the biblical character of Moses from the book of Exodus as an example. God chose Moses to lead his people out of bondage in Egypt to the promised land. “Moses went from being a reluctant servant to a faithful servant, but not a perfect servant,” Ramsey observed. “Aren’t you glad today that God does not require from his servants perfection. All he asks of us is our willingness, our faithfulness and our commitment. Sometimes we mess up, but God is faithful to clean up the mess and carry on with his promise and his plan.”

Before Ramsey’s speech, Divinity School Dean Dr. Robert Canoy announced the 2023 recipient of the Keesee Foundation’s Vernie W. Lewis Scholarship. This scholarship, established in 2021, is the largest individual grant awarded by the organization each year to a student at Gardner-Webb, Campbell Divinity School and the Baptist House at Duke Divinity. The three schools were chosen because Lewis, who served the Keesee Foundation for 50 years, had a close working relationship with them and their financial aid staff.

During the program, Dean of the School of Divinity Dr. Robert Canoy, above left, recognized members of the Keesee Foundation attending the convocation. (Photo by Samantha Holt / GWU Photo Staff)

“Mrs. Lewis’ 50 years of service to the Foundation as secretary-treasurer to the Board and as grant administrator touched thousands of ministerial students and churches whose work will be influential for years to come,” Canoy shared. “This year’s student meets the rigorous standards established by the Foundation’s board of directors including someone Vernie would have wanted to receive this award. She had qualities that she looked for and appreciated in all Keesee recipients. For example, she was always enthusiastic about the role women played in life in church and in ministry. She looked for students with a passion for ministry. Vernie also valued someone who had a high GPA.”     

Canoy then recognized Lindsay M. Karbach as the 2023 recipient. She lives in Kannapolis, N.C., with her husband, Jay. Karbach currently serves McGill Baptist Church as director of Youth and Children’s Ministries and Music. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2012 and is in her second year at Gardner-Webb School of Divinity studying Christian education.

After the presentation, the past winners, Avery Woods Young (2021) and Joy Axelsson (2022), joined Karbach at the front along with Ramsey and the representatives of the Keesee Fund: Executive Director Sandra Prilliman, President Ryan Hutchinson, and Trustees John Fulcher and Martha Medley.

About the Keesee Foundation

Established in 1941 by Charles B. Keesee, the foundation has assisted thousands of qualified students going into the Baptist ministry or religious work in the Baptist denomination at 11 seminaries or divinity schools. Keesee and his wife, Olivia Helms Simmons, had no children of their own and desired to help worthy young men and women obtain an education at Baptist institutions. Charles provided in his will for the establishment of an educational fund, and when Olivia died in 1944, she left the major part of her estate to the fund.

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 Gardner-Webb.edu.

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