Meet the First Tucker Scholar

Leah Carpenter Presented the University’s Most Prestigious Undergraduate Award

Meet the First Tucker Scholar

Leah Carpenter, of Stanley, N.C., a high school senior described as a “ray of sunshine,” is the first recipient of the Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength Scholarship, the most prestigious award at Gardner-Webb. The honor is given to 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.”

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs welcomed everyone and thanked Robert and Carolyn Tucker and their daughter, Lisa, for their continued support of the University. The Tuckers, 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. Before presenting the scholarship to Carpenter, Mrs. Tucker explained what Mark 12:29-31 means to her. “Many years ago, I asked God for one thing,” she shared. “My life prayer for all of my seed and their spouses is that they would love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, and their neighbor as themselves.”

To remind her children, 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. Before presenting the scholarship to Carpenter, Mrs. Tucker gave her one of the plaques.

The formal scholarship presentation was made by Lisa, a 1989 alumna. “I was so impressed with you from the moment we met,” she told Carpenter. “Everything you stand for, it beams from you immediately.”

Carpenter, who plans to major in nursing, attends Highland School of Technology in Gastonia, N.C. She was one of 90 individuals recommended for the scholarship, and among 15 finalists. “I am extremely overjoyed and grateful to the Tucker family,” Carpenter stated. “It’s amazing to be selected for this scholarship. I wanted to come to Gardner-Webb, because of the nursing 100 percent passing rate (on the licensing exam). Also, whenever I came to campus here, I felt at home.”

Learn more about the Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength Scholarship