news-category: Black History Month

Gardner-Webb Hosts Panel Discussion on Black Health and Wellness for Black History Month

GWU Black History Month Varied Perspectives on Black Healthy and Wellness Event

Guests Include GWU Student, Alumni and Faculty

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The final two programs of Gardner-Webb University’s Black History Month celebration will be held this week. The first event is a panel discussion centered on the 2022 National Theme: Black Health and Wellness. Sponsored by The College of Health Sciences and the School of Graduate Studies, Varied Perspectives on Black Health and Wellness, featuring GWU alumni and faculty, will be held on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the College of Health Sciences, Room 261.

The panelists include a student, alumni, and faculty:

  • Kimberly Williams-Thompson is an instructor with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program in the GWU School of Psychological Sciences and Counselor Education. She joined the Gardner-Webb University community as a student and continued to serve in the roles of adjunct professor, counseling services staff, and now as a full-time instructor. Kimberly has also worked as a professional mental health counselor in various settings for over 10 years. She continues to reside in Cleveland County where she enjoys being able to spend time with her family and friends.
  • Juan L. Cherry completed his undergraduate work at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., and his graduate work at Gardner-Webb. He is employed with Cleveland County Schools as a high school counselor. Cherry has traveled the country facilitating workshops that encourage and empower people to be the best versions of themselves. He is the creator of BowTime, weekly empowerment videos designed to motivate people to go after the life God intended. Cherry and his wife, Annette, live in Shelby. They have two children, a daughter-in-law and three granddaughters.
  • Dr. DeAndre Howard, Dean of Community Wellness, Spartanburg Methodist College. In his role, he sits on the President’s Cabinet and provides oversight the following areas of campus: Community Life (Residence Life & Student Conduct), Campus Health & Wellness, Counseling Services, Accessibility Resources, Campus Safety & Security, Title IX & Equal Opportunity and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Howard also serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Criminal Justice at the College. He is a first-generation college student and earned his Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from GWU in 2018.
  • Takeysha Foster, Assistant Nurse Manager for Pavilion 4 at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Her nursing background includes pediatrics, cardiac and critical care. Foster is also a clinical nursing instructor for GWU. She is married and the mother of four children, ages 14, 10, 5, and 2.
  • LaDonna Clark is assistant professor, principal faculty in the GWU Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program. Most recently, she was employed as a PA with CaroMont Endocrinology Associates in Gastonia, N.C. From 2011 to 2014, she was a PA with Shelby Family Practice in Boiling Springs. She received her Doctor of Medical Science from the University of Lynchburg (Va.) in January 2021. She earned her Master of Health Science and PA Certification from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and received her Bachelor of Arts in Exercise and Sport Science with honors from UNC-Chapel Hill.
  • Chavonne Good, a student in Hunt School of Nursing, currently teaches as faculty for the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. As a registered nurse for over 20 years with most of her early nursing career in neonatal and obstetrical nursing, Good also has an intense passion for education surrounding women’s health. She is currently completing a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Leadership degree at Gardner-Webb in the Hunt School of Nursing with her project topic focusing on the at-risk population of Black women and their health disparities related to stress.
Donnie Thurman

The final program for Black History Month is also on Thursday at 8 p.m.—an Open Mic Night hosted by GWU alumnus Donnie Thurman, vice president of Human Resources of Holy Angels Inc. This event is sponsored by Student Engagement and the Student Government Association. A native of Shelby, Thurman earned a bachelor’s degree in human services. A four-year letterman in GWU football, he was part of two Big-South Conference Championship teams. He is an ordained minister and serves as the Youth and Assistant Pastor at Palmer Grove Baptist Church, where he is also the Praise and Worship leader. In 2013, he became the youngest person in Cleveland County history to be elected to the Cleveland County School Board, and he is one of the youngest elected officials to have served in N.C. history. He completed his tenure on the school board in 2017.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 days prior to event. Please call (704) 406-4253 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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