GWU holds fall commencement
BOILING SPRINGS — Over 300 Gardner-Webb University students received their college degrees during fall commencement Monday.
GWU also awarded three honorary doctorates to Randy Marion, Harvey Rogers, and Jack Hunt.
The ceremony for 311 graduates featured commencement speeches by Elisabeth Ann Edmonson of Mooresboro, N.C. (Master of Divinity in Christian Education) and Gary Hudson Smith, IV of Aiken, S.C. (Bachelor of Science in Business Administration). Melinda Lauren McNeely of Charlotte, N.C. (Bachelor of Arts in Missiology) offered the traditional scripture reading.
Edmonson shared memories from her work within the School of Divinity and related the experience to a baptism.
“Going from one degree to the next is much like this,” she said. “You feel as though the water is about to clear and you will be able to breathe again when suddenly you are plummeted to the bottom without notice.
“No matter where we came from or where we are going, all of us will experience the baptism of hardship more than once. Every time that I have felt overwhelmed and suffocated in life, I have learned more about who I am and who the Lord is.”
As a freshman three and a half years ago, Smith said he didn’t know what to expect when he first arrived at Gardner-Webb.
“I never believed this moment would come,” he said in his commencement address. “Now that I am graduating, I can look back and realize that I’ve learned so much. I have made many friends and created many memories in my time here at Gardner-Webb.”
Two students were honored for academic excellence during the ceremony. Crystal Dawn Miller Anderson of Millers Creek (Bachelor of Science in Human Services) received the GOAL Senior Scholastic Award. Miriam Elaina Downing of Zachary, La. (Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and American Sign Language) was honored with the Senior Scholastic Award.
The Most Outstanding Male Graduate Award was given to James Martin Withrow of Ellenboro (Bachelor of Arts in Music and Biology). Jessica Marie Greer of Boiling Springs (Bachelor of Science in Marketing) was honored with the Most Outstanding Female Graduate Award.
Receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters was John Jackson “Jack” Hunt of Lattimore and Randall “Randy” L. Marion of Mooresville, Emmett Harvey Rogers of Mooresville, received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity.
Gardner-Webb media relations contributed to this report