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 Student Preparing for a Career in Global Ministry

Global Studies

Tessa Walsh (’19)

Tessa Walsh (’19) Values Opportunities for Service and Growth

“The classes I have taken have shown me how I can engage with the world on different levels, from a business standpoint, environmental, religious, etc. Each class has helped me to prepare for my career.”

Tessa Walsh (’19) of Blacksburg, Va., knows where she’s headed when she graduates from Gardner-Webb University. “I plan on being somewhere in the mountains of Asia in the Tibet region. I want to give my life to full-time missions,” Walsh shared. “I want to take what I’m learning at school to the hills and disciple people to live with dreams and hopes.”

To gain experience, Walsh has been to Cambodia twice. On the last trip she served two months as an intern at Lina’s Hope, a Christian non-profit organization that cares for children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. She learned the language, assisted with caring for the children, developed two videos, created a photo display and organized a playroom at the center. Her main project was to help the children at Lina’s Hope develop a business plan to provide additional income for the center. The children decided to plant a garden and sell the produce first to their cook and then sell drinks and whatever produce is left to the community. Walsh worked with her adviser at GWU to earn credit for the internship.

Recruited to GWU by the Gardner-Webb swim team, Walsh liked the University’s close-knit family atmosphere. “I couldn’t see myself anywhere else,” she affirmed. “The opportunities that are offered here are what I value the most. Networking on a small campus is easy, if you engage and get to know people. The faculty and staff really care about the students and want to see us grow in all areas of life.”

She chose to major in global studies and minor in business administration, because her goal is to be a full-time missionary. Rather than raise money for support, Walsh plans to have a job in another country that becomes her ministry. The concept is known as “tent-making,” named after the apostle Paul who supported himself by making tents as he preached and taught. “The classes I have taken have shown me how I can engage with the world on different levels, from a business standpoint, environmental, religious, etc.,” Walsh assessed. “Each class has helped me to prepare for my career.”

Classes outside her major have also had an impact. “For both of my Bible classes, I was graced with amazing professors who I can call my friends now,” Walsh stated. “Watching relationships build on the foundation of knowing and savoring a relationship with Christ has transformed the way I look at friendships. That happened a lot in those classes. We wrote exegesis papers and that was so much fun for me, to dig into the word and learn new contextual things. It’s something I’ll always be grateful for being able to do. Those papers are probably the thing I am most proud of thus far.”

While her future is in international missions, the Gardner-Webb community inspires her to serve wherever she lives. “There are opportunities to minister and show Christ like love to the students around me every day,” Walsh asserted. “From my teammates to my classmates, being Christ’s ambassador never stops. And the community I’ve found here at GWU encourages me to do that. From upperclassmen to staff here, I can call people to help me and listen to me any day.”

Her advice to other students is to take advantage of all that Gardner-Webb has to offer. “Gardner-Webb is truly a place to thrive. Take every opportunity you can to dig into its heart,” Walsh challenged. “This campus may be small, but its roots go deep. You’ll get so much more from your college experience if you take it by the reins and figure out what you want out of it. I was given the chance to do something I really wanted to do, go back to Cambodia, and get school credit for it, because my professors saw that I was serious about the plan I laid out for them. The world is at your fingertips, and Gardner Webb is a wonderful gateway to it.”