news-category: Campus News

Gardner-Webb’s November Webb Connections Honors Military and Their Families

President Dr. William Downs Hosts Distinguished Panel of Veterans, an ROTC Student, and Military Family Member

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—As the nation honors its veterans during November, Gardner-Webb University’s Webb Connections program this month will focus on the contributions and sacrifices of military members and their families. Hosted by GWU President Dr. William Downs, “Gardner-Webb and The Military Experience,” will be held Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in Stewart Hall of Tucker Student Center. The program is open to the public.

“Gardner-Webb University can and should be an indispensable asset to those who have devoted themselves to keeping our families and our nation safe,” asserts Downs. “As we honor our veterans this November, I am eager to connect with this panel of experts to discuss educational opportunities and other priorities for military families in North Carolina and across the region.”

The panelists include:

  • Terry Eddinger, of Winston-Salem, N.C., was promoted to Rear Admiral in October 2020, becoming the highest-ranking Navy Reserve chaplain. Currently, he serves as the Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gardner-Webb, a Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Old Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He joined the US Navy Reserve Chaplain Corps in November 1995, as a lieutenant (junior grade). He has served in the Navy for 26 years, including eight years with US Marine Corps and four and one-half years with the US Coast Guard.
  • Brittany Sherrod, of Simpsonville, Ky., a sophomore homeland security major at GWU and ROTC cadet. She plays on the women’s lacrosse team at Gardner-Webb. In high school, she was a member of the 2018-2019 United States Women’s Lacrosse All-American and All-Academic Teams. She led the nation in goals scored during her junior season in high school, according to United States Women’s Lacrosse, and was a three-time selection to participate as a player for the Women’s Divisional National Team. Her high school team won back-to-back state championships during sophomore and junior seasons. She was also involved in the Beta Club, National Honor Society, and FCA during high school.
  • Joseph Hough is a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel. He served 32 years with the North Carolina National Guard as both combat and construction engineer. He has traveled the world supporting nations such as Moldova and the Marshall Islands with Humanitarian relief missions. He has responded to several state hurricane relief missions. And he has deployed three times in the wake of 911 with tours in the Military District of Washington D.C., Iraq and Afghanistan. He graduated from Gardner-Webb in 1991 with a social science degree and is a 2018 Distinguished Alumnus. He entered into public education as a social studies teacher and coach and is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Buncombe County Schools in Asheville, N.C. He played tennis and soccer for Gardner-Webb in his years at the Webb and met his wife, Karen, while completing his undergraduate degree. He has two sons Daniel and Andrew.  Lt. Col. Hough holds a master’s and education specialist degree. Of his notable military awards he received the Bronze Star for his Afghanistan service along with the Engineer Association’s DeFleury Medal. Upon his retirement, he was recognized federally with the Military Legion of Merit award and by the state with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
  • Darlene Johnson Gravett, of Boiling Springs. Born in Roanoke, Va., Gravett lived there for 10 years before moving from one state to another as well as to other countries as the daughter of an Army enlisted man, who retired as a master sergeant, and then as the wife of Ray, an Army officer, who retired as a lieutenant colonel. Along the way she managed to stay at Eastern (Ky.) University for all four years to earn a B.A. degree in English; she worked around her husband’s various Army assignments to attain her master’s degree in English education from the University of Miami while he was in Vietnam the first time; and finally she earned a doctorate in English literature from the University of Southern Mississippi while her husband had an ROTC assignment there and while he was in Vietnam a second time. Upon her husband’s retirement from the Army after 21 years of active duty service, she started her full-time teaching career, 10 years at one college and then 18 years at Gardner-Webb, where she was the University’s first female member of the senior staff and was honored as associate provost emerita. After retirement, she stayed in Boiling Springs, where she has lived for 30 years, longer than anywhere else in her life. She describes these different phases of her life in her autobiography “Army Brat, Army Bride, Civilian: A Life.”

The panel discussion will be recorded live and available for viewing later on Gardner-Webb’s YouTube channel.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours 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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