news-category: GWU Commencement

Gardner-Webb University to Hold Fall Commencement Ceremonies on Dec. 11

a graduation ceremony

Ceremony Planned to Celebrate Conferring of Over 360 Degrees

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University will award over 360 degrees during the 2021 Fall Commencement Exercises on Saturday, Dec. 11. The ceremony is set to begin at 9 a.m. in the Paul Porter Arena of the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center, located on the campus of Gardner-Webb University. The morning ceremony will be streamed on The University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

David Podgorski
Dr. David Podgorski

The event will commemorate the achievements of students in traditional undergraduate, degree completion, and graduate programs of study who completed their degrees in the 2021 Summer and Fall semesters. Doctoral candidates from the College of Education and the College of Health Sciences will receive their hoods. The Senior Scholastic Achievement Award and Degree Completion Program Academic Award will also be presented.

The commencement speaker is Dr. David Podgorski, a GWU alumnus, who is an assistant professor at the University of New Orleans. He grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Gardner-Webb University. He earned his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Florida State University. He accepted a research faculty position at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, where he eventually became the assistant director of the Florida State University Future Fuels Institute. He accepted the position in New Orleans in 2017. He has received numerous awards and fellowships during his career.

Most notably, these include the M.A. Moseley Chemistry Award (2007), Gardner-Webb University Young Alumnus of the Year (2013), Glenn Award from the Energy and Fuels Division of the American Chemical Society (2013), Louisiana Sea Grant Discovery, Integration and Application (LaDIA) Fellowship (2017), and the University of New Orleans Early Career Creativity, Research, and Scholarship Award (2021).

Outside of work, Podgorski enjoys traveling and fishing with his wife, Dr. Phoebe Zito, and their two children, Zeke (15) and Grant (12).

After the ceremony, recognition services will follow at 11:15 a.m. at five locations across campus for each of the four Colleges and the School of Divinity. The locations are:

  • School of Divinity: Dover Chapel.
  • College of Health Sciences: Blanton Auditorium.
  • Godbold College of Business: Dover Theater.
  • College of Education: Tucker Student Center (Faith, Hope, Stewart Halls).
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center.

The University encourages graduates and their supporters to use the hashtag #GWUGrad21 when sharing social posts.

Additional information on graduation is available here.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 days prior to the event. Please call (704) 406-2155 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, 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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