news-category: Academics

Gardner-Webb Hires Director of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives

JeNai Davis Brings Experience in Higher Education and Non-Profit Leadership to the Position

JeNai DavisBOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—JeNai Davis, of Greensboro, N.C., has been hired as director of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives at Gardner-Webb University. This office was created in 2018 by GWU to serve the needs of the various ethnic groups within the student body through programs designed to promote intercultural understanding, awareness, and collaboration. Davis begins on July 13 to prepare for the fall semester.

“I am thrilled to welcome JeNai to Gardner-Webb,” shared Dr. Sarah Currie, vice president of Student Development and dean of students. “She brings experience, education, and professionalism to this position, which will make her a valuable addition to the University and for our students. She worked for the multicultural program at Wingate (N.C.) University and is within weeks of completing her master’s in higher education, with a focus on student affairs. I am excited to see how JeNai continues the expansion of Gardner-Webb’s diversity programs and how she connects with our students.”

Davis, who grew up in Rockingham County, N.C., currently serves as the primary assistant to the director of Lyceum and Multicultural Programs at Wingate. The Lyceum Series is comprised of cultural and scholarly events students attend during their time at Wingate. She helps coordinate the events and provides support in various ways.

“I love the small college environment; along with this, I want to empower Gardner-Webb students and hear their ideas and concerns regarding diversity and inclusion on their campus and aide and help them in the process of seeing these visions come to light,” Davis affirmed. “My goal is to bring light to topics that are often avoided or swept under the rug. Today, society is showing us that for far too long we have ignored issues that need to be discussed. College students are one of the greatest resources and voices for changes regarding the future. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the Gardner Webb community and bring a new perspective not only to the campus, but the community as well.”

Davis graduated from Wingate in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Services and a minor in sociology. She receives her master’s degree this month from Purdue University Global. At Wingate, she has also served as a Gateway Instructor for newly-enrolled students and a housing assistant for the Office of Residence Life and Involvement.

“I am delighted to add JeNai Davis to our leadership team here at Gardner-Webb,” noted GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. “She brings with her valuable experience, and we’re eager to have her join us. When I interviewed JeNai, I told her that we couldn’t expect her to be an ‘Army of One’; instead, she is going to lead campus-wide efforts that bring many people together to help us live up to our commitments in support of diversity. Gardner-Webb really can be a model for how students from all backgrounds succeed at high levels in their academics and in their preparation for life, and JeNai Davis will be one of many helping build that model.”

In addition to her background in higher education, Davis has worked at Camp Carefree in Stokesdale, N.C., for seven years. The non-profit camp provides a free one-week camping experience for kids with chronic illnesses and disabilities. She began as a volunteer when she was in high school. The opportunity to serve the children became her passion. Since 2017, she has served as a program director, managing staff and volunteers to ensure campers have fun and their medical needs are met.

Davis feels her combined experiences provide a foundation for her new position. “Wingate University has very similar dynamics to Gardner-Webb, and being a part of the Lyceum & Multicultural department there helped me grow in my passion to spread knowledge regarding how important it is to be inclusive and open others’ eyes to how diversity is more than just skin color or gender,” Davis observed. “Along with this, I’m very passionate about the importance of having tough conversations with others. Camp Carefree gave me a true understanding of how those with disabilities are oftentimes excluded from society, and it’s important to incorporate programming to expose others to their community and allow their voices to be heard as well.”

Learn more about GWU Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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