Gardner-Webb University’s (GWU) 12th president, Frank Bonner, announced his plans to retire in January 2019. At that time, he will have served Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs for more than three decades in total and as president for nearly 14 years.
Gardner-Webb Univeristy President Frank Bonner
“One year from now, it will be very difficult for me to cease doing what I love,” Bonner shared recently in a press release from the university. “However, my wife, Flossie, and I look forward to more time together, more travel and more time with six wonderful grandchildren who are growing up before our eyes.”
Bonner joined Gardner-Webb in 1987 as vice president for academic affairs. His role later evolved into vice president for academic and student affairs and then provost and senior vice president. In May 2005, he was named president and took office on July 1. Prior to GWU, he was a faculty member and associate dean for Special Programs at Anderson College (now university) in Anderson, S.C. A 1969 graduate of Furman University in Greenville, S.C., with a bachelor’s degree in English, Bonner earned his master’s degree from the University of Georgia in 1971 and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.
Some highlights of his tenure include leading the university’s largest-ever capital campaign raising $46 million, receiving gifts for 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.