news-category: Admissions

Gardner-Webb Creates Welcome Page for Spanish-Speaking Families

a screen shot of the hispanic admissions pageheri

Bilingual Admissions Counselor Available to Answer Questions and Guide Students

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—¡Bienvenidos! from Gardner-Webb University—Spanish-speaking families have a new resource on the GWU website to introduce them to the campus. This new page welcomes and provides access to admission and visit information for the growing number of Hispanic families living in North Carolina.

According to Census data, North Carolina’s Hispanic/Latino population is more than 1 million, an increase of 40% over the last decade. Also, a growing number of Hispanic high school graduates are first generation college students, the first in their family to attend college.

“Here at Gardner-Webb University, we want to give every student an opportunity to have a valuable student experience by providing access to education, assure it’s affordable for them, and make sure every student has the support necessary to become successful,” stated Interim Vice President for Enrollment Management Mavia Lee.

Eloisa Sofia Puello Cabeza, right, holds a Loteria card, a game
similar to Bingo, that students played at a Hispanic Heritage
Celebration. Instead of a number, you match images and say
“Loteria,” when you win.

Eloisa Sofia Puello Cabeza, the new bilingual admissions representative, is available to answer any questions Hispanic students and their families have. “Gardner-Webb se ha convertido en mi segundo hogar (GWU has become my second home),” she affirmed.

Puello Cabeza came to Gardner-Webb in 2021 as a Fulbright Scholar Foreign Language Teacher Assistant (FLTA) and worked as a Spanish TA. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s largest and most prestigious international educational and cultural exchange program, creating connections in 160 countries worldwide. She was one of three Colombians selected for the specific grant she received. At the end of her Fulbright year, Puello Cabeza decided to return to Gardner-Webb because of the friends she made on campus. She’s also enrolled as a graduate student in the School of Psychological Science and Counselor Education.

Blake Elizalde, right, a first generation Hispanic student, received
the 2022 Community Engagement Award from the Office of
Christian Life and Service, presented by Robbie Gaines, associate
minister to the University for Community Engagement & Athletic

Student Body President Blake Elizalde, of Matthews, N.C., is a first generation Hispanic college student. He said from his first visit to the GWU campus, he sensed the community atmosphere and felt at home. “Once I got here, the small class sizes and the intentional relationships with my professors and peers really helped me to flourish,” Elizalde reflected.

A double major in political science and Spanish, Elizalde graduates in May 2023. During his four years on campus, he participated in many activities and also held several jobs, including Campus Dining marketing coordinator, Student Recruitment Ambassador (SRA), Resident Advisor (RA) and Campus Recreation staffer.

Elizalde encourages other Hispanic students to visit Gardner-Webb and take advantage of every opportunity. He noted, “¡No te vas a arrepentir! Antes de venir a la universidad, no sabía qué esperar. Pero apenas llegué me involucré en diferentes grupos y empecé a crear muy buenas relaciones. Siéntete tranquilo al salir de tu zona de confort porque valdrá la pena. (You will not regret it! I had no idea what to expect when coming to college. I immediately got involved and made so many great relationships. Be okay with stepping out of your comfort zone because it will so worth it.)”

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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