About Gardner-Webb University

The institution first opened its doors to students in 1907 as a boarding high school operated and supported by the Kings Mountain and Sandy Run Baptist Associations. As a high school, junior college, senior college, and beginning in 1993 as a university, the school has sought to provide quality education in a Christian environment.

A brief chronological history of Gardner-Webb leads to an understanding of the University as it is today and to an appreciation for all that has contributed to its growth and development.

1905Founded as Boiling Springs High School by the Kings Mountain and Sandy Run Baptist Associations.
1907Opened doors to students as Boiling Springs High School.
1928Became Boiling Springs Junior College.
1942Became Gardner-Webb Junior College; named for former Governor O. Max Gardner and the Webb family of Shelby.
1946Supported by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
1971Became a four year school.
1977Established programs for hearing and visually impaired.
1978Began night school program for adults, Degree Completion Program (formerly GOAL)
1980Began the Graduate Program.
1992Approved the School of Divinity.
1993Became a University (Newly formed Master of Business Administration Program begins)
1995Established School of Education, featuring national accreditation status for teacher program.
2001Began offering its first doctoral degree, the Doctor of Ministry.
2005Celebrated Centennial.

The Mission of Gardner Webb University

The mission of Gardner-Webb University is to prepare graduates for leadership and service in their professional careers and in their personal lives.  Rigorous and innovative degree programs, combined with distinctive experiential learning opportunities, shape students into thinkers, doers, and world- changers.  Forged within a supportive and diverse Christian community, our students emerge ready to impact their chosen professions, equipped with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspired to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others.

Gardner-Webb Traditions

Homecoming & GWU Online Student Barbeque

Homecoming is a distinctive event at Gardner-Webb. Each fall, on a home football game weekend, students, teachers, staff and friends return to catch up on the changes, renew friendships and check out the current group of students. Special events such as an exciting game of football, a dance, alumni reunions, banquets, and athletics galore (golf, tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball) all happen on this weekend. RSVP for the GWU Online student barbeque and bring your family. 

Senior Pinning

A yearly tradition each spring, Seniors invite their families to come and be part of this special ceremony. Students are encouraged to visit with their classmates, parents and professors.

Festival of Lights

During the Christmas season at Gardner-Webb, we call upon others in the community to join us in ushering in Advent and anticipating Christmas. Our traditional celebration, featuring the University choirs, is held in late November or early December and is called Festival of Lights.

Honor Society

Alpha Sigma Lamba

Alpha Sigma Lambdahttps://gardner-webb.edu/clubs/alpha-sigma-lambda/ is a national honor society devoted to the advancement of scholarship and to the recognition of nontraditional students continuing their higher education. GWU Online students who meet the following qualifications will be invited to join Gardner-Webb’s chapter: 

  • 3.5 grade point average (GPA) at Gardner-Webb as well as a 3.5 GPA overall including all colleges previously attended. 
  • Place in the top 10% of his/her class having earned a total of 88 credit hours. 
  • Have earned 24 credit hours from Gardner-Webb University. 
  • Have earned at least 12 of the total credit hours in the Liberal Arts/Sciences. 
  • Be enrolled for at least 12 hours in the semester of induction. 
  • Have excellent citizenship and character. 

University Alma Mater


At the foot of the mountain
Is our College; proud she stands, serving all who want her service,
Blessing all with outstretched hand
With our hands we will serve thee,
Gardner-Webb, our College fair; In our love we will uphold thee; Our wealth we’ll gladly share.


Alma Mater, Alma Mater,
We sing our love to thee,
We pledge our hearts in deep devotion, Our faith, eternally