news-category: GWU Commencement

Gardner-Webb Spring Commencement Programs on May 6-7 will Recognize Over 500 Graduates

a family poses for a selfie after graduation in May 2021.
A family takes a selfie after last year's Commencement celebration. Photo by Ely Thompson / GWU Photo Staff

Power 5 Basketball Coach Chris Holtmann is Speaker for All University Program on May 6

College or School Recognition Events Held at Various Times on May 7

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University academic officials are pleased to announce over 500 students will receive degrees during spring commencement exercises held on May 6 and 7. Students will earn associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from a variety of university programs.

The All University Commencement on May 6 will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Spangler Stadium. The program will include speeches from Gardner-Webb University President William M. Downs and President of the Student Government Association, Jada Newton. Greetings will be offered by Board of Trustees Chair Gary Smith.

The commencement speaker is Chris Holtmann, former GWU head basketball coach, who is in his 25th year of collegiate coaching and just completed his fifth year as head basketball coach of The Ohio State University. He has led his teams to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last seven years and is one of just three Power 5 coaches to win at least 20 games in eight consecutive seasons.

Chris Holtmann
Chris Holtmann

Holtmann is a three-time Naismith National Coach of the Year Finalist and has been named the Coach of the Year in all three conferences that he has coached—that includes the Big South Conference after leading Gardner-Webb University to a school Division I record 21 victories in 2012–13. Holtmann spent three seasons in Boiling Springs where he won 44 games, turning around a program that had won just eight games the season before he arrived.

As a player, Holtmann was an All-American at Taylor University where he led the Trojans to a No. 1 ranking in the NAIA rankings. Holtmann earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Taylor in 1994 and a master’s degree in athletic administration from Ball State in 2000. He and his wife, Lori, have a beautiful daughter, Nora Jane.

During the ceremony, awards will be presented to recognize students’ achievements: the Degree Completion Program Academic Award, the Darlene J. Gravett Award to a graduate student, the senior scholastic achievement award, and the most outstanding graduate award. Doctoral graduates will receive their hoods. The ceremony will end with a fireworks display.

On May 7, College or School Recognition events will be held at various locations around campus. Graduates will be recognized individually and walk across the stage at their recognition events. Closed Captioning will be provided for every ceremony.

The schedule follows:

  • School of Divinity – 9 a.m., Tucker Student Center.
  • College of Business – 9 a.m., Spangler Stadium.
  • College of Health Sciences – 9 a.m., Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center.
  • College of Arts & Sciences – 11 a.m., Spangler Stadium.
  • College of Education – 11 a.m., Tucker Student Center.

The University encourages attendees to use the hashtag “#GWUGrad22” for social media posts including photos, tweets, and Facebook status updates. The commencement ceremonies will be live streamed on The University Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 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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