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)

Gardner-Webb—‘The Place to be for Music’

Music Composition

Nathaniel Parks (’17)

Nathaniel Parks (’17) music composition major

“My music classes are all taught by dedicated professors who are invested in me and my success, and who don't accept anything but my best. I've been pushed and encouraged by them to work hard and absorb the information.”

Nathaniel Parks (’17) of Greensboro, N.C., came to Gardner-Webb University as a music performance major, but soon realized that he would rather write music than perform. “About halfway through my first semester, I realized I really didn't like to practice, and if I didn't like to practice, then performance was probably not for me,” he disclosed. “I still loved music and enjoyed writing music, so I thought I would attempt to pursue a composition degree. I fell in love with the process of composing.”

Parks has been surrounded by music all his life. His mother was a trumpet player and amateur musician who encouraged him to sing in school choirs and play in the band. “With every beginning band book comes a very limited version of Finale (a music writing program),” he related. “I would get on our computer and play around with it, trying to find sounds I liked, but I didn't do too much with writing until my junior year of high school when I wrote a song for my church.”

With support and guidance from his Gardner-Webb professors, Parks has developed his compositional talent. A song he wrote was chosen from 700 entries to be performed at the Society of Composers Inc. (SCI) National Conference. “My music classes are all taught by dedicated professors who are invested in me and my success, and who don't accept anything but my best,” he assessed. “I've been pushed and encouraged by them to work hard and absorb the information that without, I would not have been able to write the piece that was selected.”

Two professors who have worked closely with him are Dr. Bruce Moser and Dr. Paul Etter. “Dr. Moser has always willingly engaged with me on any question I've had and has been an inspiration for me to continue on in music, and to purse my passions with unrelenting desire,” Parks reflected. “Every class I've taken with Dr. Etter has been excellent and his insight on what choirs can and cannot successfully do was paramount to my success when writing for choir. He has also expressed a great amount of willingness to perform the music I write, and for that I can't thank him enough.”

Parks was drawn to Gardner-Webb because of the caliber of the University’s representatives. “My high school choir teacher was a fantastic choir director and teacher, as well as an alumna of Gardner-Webb,” he affirmed. “I figured that if a school could turn out a quality teacher and musician like her, then it would be a great place to study music.”

His admissions counselor was helpful throughout the process, and he was also impressed with the student accompanist who played at his Gardner-Webb audition. “When I was applying for schools, I narrowed down my choices between Gardner-Webb and another school, and auditioned for the music programs at both schools,” Parks related. “During my audition there, the accompanist provided for me, while good, struggled a bit with my music, and made some pretty hefty errors during my audition. The accompanist at Gardner-Webb, on the other hand, handled the same music with ease, making no errors, and required half the warm up time that I had with the other accompanist. This really stuck with me, and convinced me yet again that Gardner-Webb was the place to be for music.”

He believes the growth he has achieved is a result of Gardner-Webb’s close-knit community. “It's hard to choose one specific thing I've valued most about this experience, as both the professors and students here have been wonderful,” he stated. “I guess it's the relationships I've forged here. The people I interact with only want to see me succeed, and I want the same for them. I've had many great friends and professors who have pushed me to succeed and have worked to create an environment of excellence that encourages academic and personal growth.”