news-category: Student Engagement

Gardner-Webb Welcomes Over 500 New Students for 2023 Fall Semester

a group of students dancing in the parking lot during the welcome celebration

Orientation Events Prepare Students for Campus Life 

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Gardner-Webb University Office of Student Development, along with other volunteers, welcomed more than 500 new students to campus with orientation activities on Aug. 12-15 for the 2023 Fall Semester. These new Runnin’ Bulldogs include first-year residential freshmen, commuters and over 100 transfer students.  

“Those of us who have chosen to spend our careers on college campuses absolutely love the month of August!” shared GWU President Dr. William M. Downs. “We’ve been waiting all summer for this newest cohort of students to arrive, and their presence has already enlivened our community and energized us for the academic year ahead. Kim and I greatly enjoyed meeting all the families and welcoming everyone to what we believe will be the most rewarding four years of their lives.”  

On move-in day, a group of 80 volunteer students, staff and faculty provided a friendly face and extra muscles to carry boxes and other belongings to the students’ rooms, noted Neal Payne, associate minister to the University for Student Ministries. These Bulldog Movers are coordinated each year by the Offices of Christian Life and Service and Housing and Residence Education.

“I love orientation and move-in every year,” asserted Brian Arnold, assistant dean of Students, director of Student Engagement and New Student Orientation. “It’s exciting, because (for parents) it’s that next phase of life happening for their kids. Parents are helping them along this journey into adulthood, and we get to be a part of that. We watch families love on each other and embrace this moment. We get to be a small part of that, and we get to embrace it with them.”  

Classes for the Fall Semester began on Aug. 16. New students will continue learning about campus life in their orientation groups and University Life (UNIV 111) courses, which are designed to promote personal and academic development.  

Orientation Leaders introduce themselves during the Official Welcome Session for new students.

Other welcome back events in August:

Aug. 18

  • 7 to 9 p.m., Welcome Back Celebration for all students, Bost Gym Parking Lot.

Aug. 24

  • 7 p.m., Healing Our Racial Divide with Derwin Gray and Clayton King.
  • 7:30 p.m., Men’s Soccer vs. Wofford, Greene-Harbison Stadium.

Aug. 25

  • 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Paint-a-Palooza, Bost Gym Parking Lot.
  • 7 p.m., Women’s Soccer vs. Allen, Greene-Harbison Stadium.

Aug. 27

  • 6 p.m., Women’s Soccer vs. ETSU, Greene-Harbison Stadium.

Aug. 28

  • 7 to 8 p.m., Paws Awhile with therapy dogs, Tucker Student Center.

Aug. 29

  • 3 to 5 p.m., Together Tuesday DIY Door Sign, Tucker Student Center.

Aug. 30

  • 8 to 10 p.m., Open Mic & Karaoke, Tucker Student Center

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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