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 of the Year Has Spent Career Advocating for the Deaf

American Sign Language / Interpreting

Virginia ‘Ginny’ Petrea Moorefield, (’01)

Virginia ‘Ginny’ Petrea Moorefield, (’01) American Sign Language major; interpreting minor

“The relationships are what I valued then and what I value now. The fact that my professors each knew me by name was important. My professors taught me to be an advocate for the Deaf and that ASL was a language all its own. I left Gardner-Webb with a strong knowledge and use of the language and with their names behind me.”

When Virginia “Ginny” Petrea Moorefield graduated from high school in the ’90s, she wasn’t aware that she could get a degree in American Sign Language (ASL). “I wanted to be an interior designer, but God reminded me that I had no artistic talent and that he was in charge,” she recalled. “He spoke to me and told me that he wanted me to pursue sign language. I told him that if he showed me where I could get a full bachelor's degree in sign language, I would look into it. I went to the library to look up colleges.”

In 1996, Gardner-Webb University was the only program listed in the U.S. Mainland, and it was located in her home state. “I figured that I had argued enough and that it was, unmistakably, his will that I become a sign language interpreter,” Moorefield declared. Since graduating from GWU with her degree in 2001, she has worked as an interpreter, but more importantly, she has advocated for the Deaf community across North Carolina. For her accomplishments in the field of education and advocacy, Moorefield was named the Gardner-Webb Alumna of the year during 2016 homecoming activities. She was shocked and humbled by the recognition. “Gardner-Webb is a huge part of who I am,” Moorefield reflected. “I learned to be independent there. I learned who God wanted me to be and what he wanted me to be. I learned what my passion was.”

She did freelance interpreting until she was hired by an interpreting agency in Raleigh, N.C., and was placed in a school as an ASL teacher. She found that having a Gardner-Webb background opened doors. “There have been several job interviews, Deaf clients and interpreting colleagues who have said, ‘Oh, you went to Gardner Webb? Okay,’” she observed. “The tone in their voice or the expression on their face was of complete trust in my skills. When I mention Gardner-Webb, those feelings of trepidation at having another hearing person who is there to help are alleviated. They know that I come with strong skills and a strong respect for the Deaf.”

She relied on those skills when she was informed that she could no longer teach because North Carolina did not have a teaching license for ASL. She joined members of the Deaf community and other advocacy groups around the state to write a bill that would recognize ASL as meeting graduation requirements for high school students entering college in the North Carolina University system. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Mike Easley in June 2007. While working with these groups to pass the ASL legislation, Moorefield earned a certification from the national American Sign Language Teacher’s Association in 2009.

In addition to teaching at East Wake Academy in Zebulon, N.C., Moorefield has delivered and presented workshops through the North Carolina American Sign Language Teacher’s Association to share knowledge with colleagues. She is currently working with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction on creating a series of workshops to help ASL teachers apply state World Language Instructional Standards to the K-12 ASL classroom.

Several of her former students are also graduates of Gardner-Webb. She recommends her alma mater and the ASL program wholeheartedly. “The relationships are what I valued then and what I value now. The fact that each of my professors knew me by name was important,” she praised. “My professors taught me to be an advocate for the Deaf and that ASL was a language all its own. I left Gardner-Webb with a strong knowledge and use of the language and with their names behind me. The other classes I took at Gardner-Webb prepared me to think for myself and to make sure I have all the facts before formulating an opinion or belief in something. I learned to listen to others and respect their views and experiences. I learned there will always be those stronger than me and those weaker than me.”