news-category: GWU Commencement

Gardner-Webb to Recognize 2023 Summer and Fall Graduates

Nearly 500 Graduates to be Honored at Commencement Ceremony on Dec. 15

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University will celebrate the achievements of nearly 500 graduates on Dec. 15. The commencement ceremony, which honors graduates who completed their degrees in the 2023 Summer and Fall semesters, will be at 9 a.m. in Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center.

“We are all eagerly looking forward to this special day when we can gather to confer degrees and to recognize the successes of the Class of 2023,” shared Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “One of the privileges of my office is that I get to preside over the ceremony from the best seat in the house … up on the podium where I can see the joy, pride, and excitement lighting up every face. These students have worked incredibly hard to arrive at this moment in their lives, and we are blessed to join with them in celebration.”

Scholastic awards will be presented to students in the online and traditional undergraduate programs. Doctoral candidates will receive their hoods, and Downs will confer undergraduate and graduate degrees on all graduates.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Karen Aubrey also offered congratulations to the graduates and their guests. “Commencement is, indeed, a proud day when families, friends, mentors, and students celebrate the successful culmination of years of hard work. It is a joy to see our students poised to pursue the future that they have imagined for themselves. And it’s impossible not to smile in the midst of that energy and excitement.”  

Chris Peek

The speaker is President and Chief Executive Officer of CaroMont Health Chris Peek. In this role, Peek leads a regional healthcare system comprised of CaroMont Regional Medical Center, a 476-bed acute care hospital; CaroMont Medical Group, a network of more than 55 primary and specialty care physician offices; Courtland Terrace, a 96-bed skilled nursing facility; and Gaston Hospice, a robust hospice and palliative care organization.

With more than 25 years of experience in leading national and regional nonprofit and public administration organizations, Peek joined CaroMont Health in 2017 to reinforce the 75-year-old health system’s role as a regional healthcare partner with deep roots in the communities it serves. Under Peek’s leadership, CaroMont Regional Medical Center was named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by IBM Watson Health and has earned more Leapfrog Group grade “A” ratings for patient safety than any other hospital in the Charlotte region.

A 30-year resident of Gaston County, Peek is an honors graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Belk College of Business and holds a Master of Business Administration from Amberton University. Peek also holds a strategic executive designation from Cornell University. His innovate leadership has been recognized with multiple awards from Business North Carolina and the Charlotte Business Journal. He is also recognized nationally as one of the Top 100 Community Hospital CEOs To Know by Becker’s Healthcare. Peek serves on several community nonprofit boards, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Gaston, the Gaston Business Association and the Community Foundation of Gaston County, and is a member of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Healthcare Association.

The 9 a.m. ceremony is also available for live streaming on The University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Commencement will be followed by recognition services as follows:

  • 11 a.m. – College of Health Sciences, Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center
  • 11 a.m. – School of Divinity, Dover Chapel
  • 1 p.m. – Godbold College of Business, Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center
  • 3 p.m. – College of Arts & Sciences, Dover Theatre
  • 5 p.m. – College of Education, Dover Theatre

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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