The main entrances to every building on the Gardner-Webb University (GWU) campus recently received plaques that serve as visual reminders of the university’s calling. An initiative of the GWU President’s Council on Christian Mission and Identity, the signs are engraved with Mark 12:29-31 – “Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these’” (New Kings James Version).
According to Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian Life and Service, senior minister to the university and a member of the President’s Council, these verses were chosen because of the example set by GWU supporters, Robert and Carolyn Tucker.
In 2010, the Tuckers, owners of Shoe Show, Inc. in Kannapolis, N.C., donated $5.5 million for the new student center.
“At the request of the Tucker Family, such a plaque has adorned the entrance of the Tucker Student Center since its dedication,” Jessup related.
“The Tuckers have given a similar plaque to all their children and grandchildren to place at the entrance of their homes. These words express the greatest commandments according to Jesus – love of God and love of neighbor. Furthermore, these words are central to the motto of Gardner-Webb University – ‘For God and Humanity.’”
Recently, the family gave a $4 million scholarship endowment – also based on Mark 12:29-31 – to establish the “Tucker Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength Scholarship.”
More than 70 plaques were installed on campus. Every building has at least one plaque, with some buildings getting two or three – based on main entrances used by staff/faculty, students, and guests.
In addition to the new signs, the council has enhanced the presentation of the University’s Christian mission and identity on the GWU website (gardner-webb.edu).