Dr. Frank Bonner Awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine

GWU President Receives North Carolina’s Highest Civilian Honor

Dr. Frank Bonner Awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine

In a surprise presentation at Gardner-Webb University on Oct. 19, GWU President Dr. Frank Bonner was awarded The Order of the Long Leaf Pine—North Carolina’s highest civilian honor. Conferred by Gov. Roy Cooper, this prestigious award recognizes exemplary service that has made a significant impact and strengthened the state.

A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, presented the award at a gathering of the GWU Board of Trustees, senior staff and guests. “It was my great honor as a member of the Governor’s Education Cabinet, and on behalf of the state of North Carolina, to present the Order of the Long Leaf Pine to Gardner-Webb University President, Dr. Frank Bonner, for his outstanding career in higher education, which exemplifies the impact that innovative leadership can have on a university, faculty, and students," Williams said.

Bonner, who is retiring in January 2019, has served the University for more than three decades in total and as president for nearly 14 years. The award presentation took him completely by surprise. “I am overwhelmed and more appreciative that I can possibly say," he reflected. “I am deeply grateful for all those who had a role in planning this event and were here to be a part of this special honor.”

Some highlights of his Gardner-Webb tenure include leading the University’s largest-ever capital campaign raising $46 million, receiving gifts to name the Hunt School of Nursing and Godbold School of Business, starting new doctoral programs in education and nursing, launching a Physician Assistant Studies Program, building the 110,000-square-foot Tucker Student Center, purchasing and renovating the former Crawley Hospital for the College of Health Sciences, adding a science lab annex facility and joining the Big South Conference as a full member for athletics. Bonner was also instrumental in developing several programs of academic enhancement and building state-of-the-art athletic facilities.

Among the most sought after and valued awards conferred by the governor of the State of North Carolina, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to outstanding North Carolinians who have a proven record of service to the state.