Gardner-Webb University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Gardner-Webb University
At Gardner-Webb University, students are prepared broadly and deeply to ignite their passions within...

Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Gardner-Webb University, located just 50 miles outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, fosters an all-inclusive campus community that values its Christian roots, diversity, and academic excellence. From the on-campus bell tower that overlooks Lake Hollifield to the surrounding community of Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb surrounds students with a rich and abundant culture, all while providing a quality education and invaluable experiences.


Gardner-Webb is dedicated to higher education that engages scholarship in conjunction with Christian life, fostering intellectual development, critical reflection, and spiritual formation. Because GWU is concerned about the needs of others in order to grow in knowledge and wisdom, the University enthusiastically affirms active participation in influential and impactful initiatives.



Student Profile

Fall 2016 Enrollment
2,362 undergraduate students
81% of undergrad students are full time
39% male — 61% female
23.7% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2016-2017 Academic Year
167 full-time faculty
196 part-time faculty
13 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2016
85% of first year students live on campus
83% of all students live on campus

School Location

Gardner-Webb University is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains within the quaint community of Boiling Springs, N.C. Just down the street from campus, one can check out open-mic night at the Broad River Bakery or take a hike along the river at the Greenway. Nearby uptown Shelby is home to dozens of local restaurants, businesses, and historical sites.
An abundance of activities beckon from a slew of surrounding areas, all less than an hour’s drive away. Students can enjoy paddleboarding at the National Whitewater Center, catching a Carolina Panthers NFL football game in Charlotte, relaxing in Falls Park on the Reedy, or seeing an off-Broadway production in Greenville, S.C. They can even check out the food scene or take a hike in charming and scenic Asheville. Whatever the interest, there’s always something new to explore.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


66.38% of students began in Fall 2015 and returned in Fall 2016 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2016

70.12% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 1%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 15%
White 66%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 1%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 13%


The Dawg Pound student cheering section at Gardner-Webb has a front-row seat to 22 NCAA Division I sports programs in which the Runnin’ Bulldogs compete on a national level within the Big South Conference.

Other Information

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders, and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong, student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

More Distinctions

  • National University Status

  • Gardner-Webb University is positioned among the top 20 percent of higher education institutions in the nation.

  • GWU is one of just six National Universities in the country that reported no classes with more than 50 students in 2015.

  • GWU achieved Doctoral University status with The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, moving from a pool of some 750 institutions in the U.S. to an elite list of just 334 in the nation.

  • “Like the move to NCAA Division I athletics over a decade ago, Gardner-Webb University’s new classification is simply one more indicator of the remarkable growth the University has experienced in recent years,” shared GWU Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Ben Leslie. “The most rapid growth has been in the area of graduate degrees, particularly in education, nursing, and our new physician assistant program.”

  • In 2015, Gardner-Webb was in the Regional University-South category. Now, due to its doctoral program growth, GWU is listed as a first-tier, National University. “This new classification,” Leslie affirmed, “is simply one measure of the success that the University has been blessed with as we continue to expand the kinds of educational opportunities available both on the Gardner-Webb campus and through our distance education programs.”

Prepared for Everything

The world-class academic programs at Gardner-Webb University are rooted in the liberal arts and purposed to help students achieve their post-graduation goals. GWU provides the resources necessary for success in the classroom, including LEAP peer tutoring, the Writing Center, and the Center for Personal and Professional Development. These services offer students a chance to seek additional one-on-one attention, receive edits on written work, and participate in mock interviews and résumé-development workshops.

Whether through leadership experience in ROTC, a national Honors conference presentation, or a trip to Costa Rica to earn a Spanish minor, Gardner-Webb emphasizes the tangible experiences that enhance one’s academic, professional, and personal pursuits.

Study Abroad

Gardner-Webb University’s study abroad program provides students with numerous opportunities to explore the world and receive class credit. With programs offered in countries like Sweden, Canada, Spain, and China, the cultural possibilities are endless! Students have the choice to study abroad in a week- or month-long trip or throughout an entire academic semester, remaining flexible to suit their academic goals and adventurous desires. With the help of faculty, they can even customize their program to take advantage of their once-in-a-lifetime journey. A trip abroad opens up a unique medium for learning, enriching students’ minds with extraordinary environments and complete immersion into a new culture.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band X
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization X
Jazz band X
Literary magazine  
Marching band X
Model UN  
Music ensembles X
Musical theater X
Pep band X
Radio station X
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra X
Television station  
Yearbook X

First-Year Seminars and Experiences

The goal of the First-Year Program is to ensure that students make a successful transition into college-level life by exposing them to the University’s available services, encouraging them to become leaders, and promoting student success in every possible opportunity.

First-year students must take both Dimensions of University Life (UNIV 111) and First-Year Experience (UNIV 101) courses. These courses encompass academic, personal, and social development; a first-year common read; and service learning.

Honors Program

Gardner-Webb’s unique Honors Program consists of a refined niche of dedicated students. This program encourages students to thrive in an active learning environment that fosters lively, engaging discussions in challenging, stimulating classes. The Honors Program, which has grown impressively since its founding in 1988, integrates students into their surrounding community through community service and aids their personal development through such out-of-classroom activities as dinners, exclusive trips, and conferences. Instructors of Honors courses are constantly reevaluating their teaching methods and improving their courses to best accommodate the accelerated, in-depth approach set by the high standard of the program. Students at Gardner-Webb say that their Honors classes are incredibly rewarding in the way they push them to grow as confident communicators and active learners.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts X
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages X
History X
Humanities X
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical) X
Social science  

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 246 271 174 31 0 0 0 722


Each Tuesday morning within the walls of the University’s Student Center, guest speakers invite students to listen to their proclamations of faith and their commitment to strong ethics. These weekly speeches allow a range of thought leaders to emphasize the importance and relevance of the Christian and Baptist values that are upheld within the campus community. Referred to as “Dimensions,” the unique lectures promote religious growth, worship, and a strong intent of service to God. Gardner-Webb instills a strong sense of Christian community within its student body, allowing them to grow in spirit, intellect, and culture all throughout their college career.

Top-5 Favorite Student Activities

The legendary finals week Pancake Bingo Night is the highest-attended activity on campus each semester, but there are several other close contenders. Free movies, bowling, and laser tag night at a local entertainment complex is a student favorite, along with the Spring formal, Last Blast Year-End Celebration, and Movies on the Quad.


The NCAA Division I Bulldogs compete on a national level, with recent basketball program victories over Nebraska, Clemson, and Purdue. Student athletes at GWU show their #GWUPride not only in competition, but also in the classroom. The women’s swim team recently ranked No. 6 nationally among NCAA Division I programs for their GPA and earned National Scholar All-America honors for the 18th consecutive season.

Visit Campus

Students can catch a game in Paul Porter Arena, take a tour of the 225-acre campus, see residence hall options, eat in the Caf, get to know current students, picnic on the Quad, enjoy a latte at Broad River Coffee, and experience an unforgettable day with the community of Gardner-Webb University. Visiting campus is the best way to know if Gardner-Webb is the right fit. Visits can be scheduled at

Campus Housing for Undergraduates

Coed dorms  
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students X
Special housing for disabled students X
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing  
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  


Gardner-Webb encourages students to gain real-world experience, providing them ample assistance and guidance toward rewarding internships. By working side-by-side with professionals, students are able both to enrich their coursework at school and prepare them with invaluable skills for their future career. Students can participate in internships through Gardner-Webb to gain invaluable experience in their prospective fields.  The Career Center for Development and Internships stands as a helpful resource that gives students a plan for integrating internship experience into their four-year plan, advising them to choose one of three categories that best suits their goals. Students can choose from internships through an academic department, internships through the University’s certified program, or external internships. Regardless of their plan of action, students are supported with résumé and cover letter help and other resources for nailing the interview process.



4,846 Total Applicants
1,294 Total Admissions
562 Total Freshmen Enrollment

26.70% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2017-18 Admission

Rolling admission? Yes

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Class rank

Freshmen Profile Fall 2016

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 430 550
SAT Math 440 560
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 18 24
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $30,310
Fees $430
Total $30,740
Room and Board (on campus) $10,080
Estimated Total On Campus $40,820


Average Financial Aid Packages 2016-2017 Estimated

$24,926 First year students
$7,571 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2016-2017 Estimated

75% on average, the percentage of need that was met
20% of financial need students that had need fully met

$7,571 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,367 Average need-based loan