From the Students: Christian University at Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb's Christian foundation is important to students
in unique ways. Hear from current students about what it means to them.




Jonathon Rhyne, Freshman Marketing/Journalism

“I know that on my bad days, I am loved by a bunch of people who I don’t even know… Here, people do care about you, and they don’t even have to know your name.” (More)


 

 

Hannah Ray, Sophomore English

“Everything falls under that umbrella of 'Why are we doing this?' and a Christian University has the responsibility to do it because they’re trying to glorify God in all that they’re doing.” (More)



 

Jeremiah Hamby, Senior Psychology

“It’s more than going to Church on Sunday; it’s living in a community of Christian believers in everyday life and being intentional, being vulnerable with them, and the atmosphere at Gardner-Webb has really shown me that…” (More)

 

Caitlyn Brotherton, Senior ASL

“That’s what college is all about: figuring out what you want to do and who you want to be, and when everyone around you is pointing you towards Christ, it’s a lot easier to be focused on him.” (More)

GWU Alumna’s Education Prepared Her for the Most Important Job of Motherhood

Religious Studies

Jill Mayo Forbes ’03

Jill Mayo Forbes ’03 religious education major, interdisciplinary (French and art) minor

“I use what I gained in the classroom every day as a mom. Every day. I’m teaching my kids the truth about Jesus and teaching them to critically think about their faith. Helping them to reconcile the world and their faith system. In my professional life, I teach chapel and art at school and spiritual nuggets to 4-year-olds. And, I rely on the basis of my education every time I write or speak.”

Since she left Gardner-Webb University in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in religious education, Jill Mayo Forbes of Hanahan, S.C., has worked in a variety of ministries and jobs from retail sales and wedding planning to student ministry, missions and teaching children and adults. Her studies prepared her for each of those roles, as well as her most important job of being a mother. “I use what I gained in the classroom every day as a mom. Every day,” she emphasized. “I’m teaching my kids the truth about Jesus and teaching them to critically think about their faith. Helping them to reconcile the world and their faith system. In my professional life, I rely on the basis of my education every time I write or speak.”

She’s also thankful for the learning that takes place outside of the classroom at Gardner-Webb. The small community creates opportunities for students to get to know their professors and each other. “Cultivating these relationships, away from the security of my home, was such a valuable life lesson for me,” she reflected. “The third week of my freshman year, I began to meet the girls on my hall and we are still close. We still have girls’ weekends and send each other flowers for our birthdays and text often. They are priceless to me. And the relationships with professors and staff and their families were important.”

While she valued the influence of all her professors, a few made a special impact on her life and their advice is still relevant in her life. Professor Emerita of Religion Dr. Alice Cullinan helped her when she was going through a dark time. Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and Philosophy Dr. Ron Williams challenged her in class and wouldn’t settle for mediocre. He also led pre-marital counseling for her and her husband, Heath (also a GWU alum). “We rely on that daily, even after 15 years of marriage,” she affirmed. Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Tim Zhender made science interesting and he and his wife invited Forbes and her husband over to their home. Professor of Art Susan Bell taught Christianity and Art, which was one of her favorite classes. “Ms. Bell mentored me outside of the classroom,” Forbes offered. “My parents have her art hanging in their house; she spoke at our wedding; and my kids call her ‘Meme Susan.’”

She also learned how to lead mission trips by participating on teams led by the Office of Christian Life and Service. “A man named Charles Shelton used to take us college kids on mission trips with him,” she explained. “I've led 10-12 trips since leaving GWU. I learned about leadership and the purpose of ministry—how we need to be intentional in why we do what we do—not just doing what's expected, but who we are reaching.”