news-category: Alumni

Gardner-Webb Names 2022 Distinguished Alumni

Patrick Woody on left, and Kitty Hoyle

Patrick Woody, ’03, and Kitty Hoyle, ’15, Honored during Homecoming

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb honored two outstanding members of the University family with induction into the GWU Gallery of Distinguished Alumni during 2022 Homecoming activities Oct. 28-30.

Since 1957, the Gallery of Distinguished Alumni has recognized and honored Gardner-Webb alumni, who have made significant contributions in their fields of service and the communities in which they serve.

The new members of the prestigious gallery are Kitty Hamrick Hoyle, ’15, of Lawndale, N.C., and Patrick Woody, ’03, of the Washington, D.C., area.

Patrick Woody

A former U.S. Intelligence Community officer with over 17 years of experience, Woody is employed with Twitter as public policy and strategy development program manager. His responsibilities include addressing internet-based terrorism.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in history and political science from Gardner-Webb University. Out of college, Woody worked with a tech nonprofit and civic education nonprofit. He was recommended for a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and soon accepted an analyst role. After some time with DHS, he transferred to the National Counterterrorism Center as part of a team that covered online and internet-based terrorism. One particular assessment he wrote caught the attention of The White House, which resulted in a six-month project working under President Barak Obama’s Administration.

This experience opened up a wide range of other duties for Woody. In the ensuing months and years, he frequently traveled across the country and overseas to brief government officials on numerous issues. “Because I was briefing so much, it became like second-nature to me,” Woody said. Through these networks, Woody became the interim briefer for the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly with President Donald J. Trump’s administration, as well.

After Kelly was named White House Chief of Staff, Woody became his full-time briefer in November 2017. This role was usually on a one-year rotation, but Woody was continually asked to return. He essentially became President Donald Trump’s backup briefer during this time period as well. Woody remained the full-time briefer for several White House Chiefs of Staff until January 2021.

At Gardner-Webb, Woody worked as a student tour guide and admissions associate, and was elected SGA President. He co-hosted a political TV show which was recorded on campus and aired on local cable that allowed for a free space of expressing opinions, called “Politics in Black and White.” Students and faculty members with viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum made appearances on the show, which sparked engaging conversations and dialogue.

“Looking back on that now, 20 years removed from Gardner-Webb, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I would’ve hated going anywhere else,’” Woody said. “I had incredible friendships that came out of my time at Gardner-Webb. I learned the importance of service. I knew it coming into Gardner-Webb, but it deepened in me, that I was going to work toward something that contributed more to others than just myself.”

Kitty Hoyle

Retired as president of Wellington Hamrick Inc. in Boiling Springs, Hoyle is the youngest daughter of Wellington “Wellie” and Margie McCluney Hamrick. She took over her father’s company in 1989. In an industry dominated by men, she had to prove herself and gain the respect of customers and leaders in the field. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2015 from Gardner-Webb through the Degree Completion Program.

Having grown up near the Gardner-Webb, Hoyle thought of the campus as her backyard. “I care about Gardner-Webb,” she affirmed. “It is very much like home to me.”

Hoyle is thankful for her parents and others in her life who guided her and gave her a chance to develop her skills and strengths. After high school, she went to college to pursue her interest in art, but at the end of her second year felt she wasn’t on the right path. She withdrew from college in the 1970s and came back home. Her cousin, Gerald Lipscomb of Lipscomb Signs in Forest City, N.C., offered her a job, but more importantly, he was a mentor who shared common sense advice about networking and making an impression.

Eventually, she came to work for her father. “I enjoyed being outside, and my mind and my dad’s mind worked in a similar fashion,” she reflected. “What was a good strength for him also turned out to be good for me. Dad was a welder and built everything from scratch. He had friends who were very resourceful—electricians and plumbers and all of these guys who were part of that greatest generation.”

She was recognized in 2005 with The ATHENA Leadership Award®, which is presented to a woman or man for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. She was honored and humbled to be included in this group of Cleveland County leaders.

Hoyle is also honored to serve on the GWU Board of Trustees, and through the years, she has served on several boards in the community: Cleveland County Arts Council, Broad River Greenway, Life Enrichment Center, Cleveland Community College (Gov. Beverly Purdue’s appointee), Isothermal Community Block Grant Board, and Carolinas Ready Mix Concrete Association Board.

She has established three scholarships for Gardner-Webb students in memory of her parents and cousin. Each one is presented to a Cleveland County student. The Elizabeth Ann Lancaster Scholarship, named for her cousin, goes to a student who intends to pursue a career as a teacher in the public school system. The Margie McCluney Hamrick Nursing Scholarship salutes Hoyle’s mother, an R.N. The Wellington Hamrick Scholarship is awarded to a first-year female student, who plans to study math and science, engineering, architecture, construction-related or construction trades, or technical programs related to construction materials.

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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 Gardner-Webb.edu.

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