Hall of Honor

The Hall of Honor has been created to pay special tribute to the faculty, staff and leaders who have rendered distinguished service to the School of Business at Gardner-Webb University. The standards are high for induction into this great hall. The individuals honored have been innovators over their entire careers or made major contributions to the structure and processes of the School of Business. The impact of these "life-changers" is still being felt by those they have touched.

Dr. Franklin Keith Griggs - 2006

Keith Griggs was born and raised in Alamance County, North Carolina.  Having lost his father early in life, Keith was not afforded many of the opportunities that many equate with success.  Rather than regarding his circumstances a hindrance, Keith was motivated to overcome the difficulties and succeed.  Keith earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Appalachian State University, a second Master's degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a Doctorate of Education from Virginia Polytechnic University.  To Keith, learning was a life-long process.

Keith devoted 34 years of his life to the success of Gardner-Webb - both to the institution and to the people involved.  He was a man who was happiest when teaching.  Keith's academic passion was the area of entrepreneurship.  Helping students develop ideas for small businesses was always at the forefront of Keith's thoughts and actions.

A devout family man of strong Christian faith, Keith Griggs exemplified all the virtues and qualities that Gardner-Webb University holds so dear.

Dr. Earl Leininger - 2006

A native of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Earl Leininger worked with the senior administration from 2002-2006. Leininger was responsible for supervising academic affairs and handling such vital issues as faculty personnel concerns - including recruitment, promotion and tenure; budget requests and needs; and academic programming initiatives. The Provost's Office also supports the efforts of the faculty to ensure that the mission of the University's academic excellence is achieved.

Leininger has undergraduate degrees in Speech, Theatre and Psychology from Oklahoma Baptist University as well as an undergraduate degree in Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. He also holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Theology from Southern Baptist.

He has traveled extensively to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, studying, leading student groups, and teaching. His publications and presentations cover a broad range of topics, including: theology, philosophy, pedagogy, educational objectives, and the role of the liberal arts education. He has a long history in repertory theater, and is known to play a very competent game of racquetball.

Prior to coming to Gardner-Webb, Leininger served at Mars Hill College for over 30 years. At Mars Hill, he was a faculty member, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. Leininger makes his home in Weaverville, NC with his wife Cathy. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Dr. Darlene Gravett, Associate Provost for Schools, stated "I was delighted that Dr. Leininger was our Provost. In the time we have worked together, I have found him to be a person of integrity who makes wise decisions and who has a great sense of humor."

He will be missed throughout the University, but especially in the School of Business. He has been a constant source of help and inspiration for the mission of the school, and a friend to the faculty and staff alike. 

Professor Robert Mellbye - 2006

When Robert Mellbye enters the School of Business on one of his many trips to Hamrick Hall on the Boiling Springs Campus, he greets everyone warmly with his cheerful smile. Beginning in May, that smile and pleasant demeanor will be missed as he begins the next phase in his career path. After a challenging and rewarding career in health management and college teaching, Robert Mellbye has decided to begin his well-deserved retirement. Here is a glimpse of his life in the fast lane.

Professor Mellbye has definitely achieved success by almost any measuring stick you would choose to use. His humble beginnings instilled in him religious values and an appreciation for education, both of which are high priorities for him today. He is proud of his heritage, especially the fact that his parents were first-generation Americans, born to Norwegian/Swedish immigrants. His early years were spent in a small mid-western town in Iowa. His father owned a hardware store, which provided the Mellbye family with the first television in the neighborhood. One of his fondest memories is watching the Lone Ranger with his playmates on the then state-of-the-art, nine-inch, black-and-white Philco television.

At the age of nine, the Mellbye family moved to Colorado. During his junior year in high school, Robert Mellbye was working as a dishwasher in a hospital. It was at that time, that he set his eyes on his first career goal; he wanted to be a hospital administrator. Seven years later, he achieved that goal. By this time, he had a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado (1966) and was enrolled in the University of Minnesota Program in Hospital Administration working toward his Masters in Health Administration. Being a hospital administrator was the first of many exciting positions he would hold. Possibly the most interesting position was a two-year assignment in China.

Toward the end of his residency year in hospital administration, a former pastor asked him to consider becoming administrator of a small missionary hospital in Hong Kong for a two-year period. Working half-way around the world presented quite a challenge to Robert Mellbye. He accepted the assignment to this 50-bed hospital with four full-time physicians. His leadership skills and his many other capabilities had surfaced, allowing him to move the hospital from a money-losing condition to a break-even situation.

After returning to the states, Robert Mellbye had several positions that involved hospital administration and consulting. To enhance his qualifications, he completed an MBA from Wake Forest University. His education and his experience taught him that he thrived on challenge and accomplished goals through his participative style of management. He not only used his capabilities in his career, but he also used them as he became involved with his church.

Robert Mellbye had a strong religious connection and has had an active role in his church, serving in several offices which included youth sponsor and Sunday school class teacher. His religious convictions have been with him since he was a child. Possibly this religious connection prompted his interest in Gardner-Webb University.

After reading an advertisement for a professor in health care management at Gardner-Webb, he applied for the position and was offered a contract to teach. Needless to say, the rest is history. Professor Mellbye has taught for the University since 1998 and is revered by students and faculty. His personal characteristics have contributed to his success.

Robert Mellbye has three anchor points in his life: religion, education, and career. He feels that hard work is a necessary investment when seeking success in any endeavor. He defines excellence as an attitude of constant attention to the little things that do not seem terribly important at the time. When these little things are put together as a whole, they take on significance beyond the individual component. He wants to share the spotlight and even step out of it completely, letting others enjoy their own public time of triumph. He states that he has never taken a job simply for the money; there must be a personal and professional challenge to hold his interest.

The School of Business extends its best wishes to a friend and colleague as he retires. It is our hope that he will enjoy his cruises and other travel adventures as he reflects on his many challenges and successes and ponders those yet to come.