news-category: Academics

Searight PACE Ambassadors Among First to Enroll in GWU Leadership Certificate Program

The Searight PACE Ambassadors and instructors, include: First row, from left, Dr. Shiela Person-Scott, Executive VP for Wells Fargo Bank, Tuyet (Snow) Nguyen, Sarah McLean, Caitlyn Hamrick, Lauren Shelton, Jade Griffin and Peter Moore; second row, Trevor Wester, Ethan Gephardt, Caleb Milkey, Mr. Rick Blume, Vice President, Nucor Steel Industries, Sydney Hudson, Laci Paul, Samantha Holt, Caleb Johnston, Gabrielle Doss, Lys Ishiari and Joseph Jordan.
The Searight PACE Ambassadors and instructors include: First row, from left, Dr. Sheila Person-Scott, Senior VP for Wells Fargo Bank, Tuyet (Snow) Nguyen, Sarah McLean, Caitlyn Hamrick, Lauren Shelton, Jade Griffin and Peter Moore; second row, Trevor Wester, Ethan Gephardt, Caleb Milkey, Mr. Rick Blume, Vice President, Nucor Steel Industries, Sydney Hudson, Laci Paul, Samantha Holt, Caleb Johnston, Gabrielle Doss, Lys Ishiari and Joseph Jordan. Not pictured: Devin Pressley and Raequan Ousley.

Students Learn From Faculty and Corporate Executives and Sponsor Project to Collect Food for Homeless

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The first group of Gardner-Webb students enrolled in the Searight Leadership Certificate Program (SLC) are sponsoring their first community service project. From now through Nov. 18, they are collecting canned food for the homeless shelters in Cleveland County. Open to all students from any academic department, the first SLC class includes majors in music, education, religion, business, social sciences, math and computer science. Through this new credential opportunity, these students will receive advanced instruction from GWU faculty and corporate executives.

Known as Searight PACE Ambassadors, the students elected Ethan Gephardt, a junior business management major, as president. Other officers are Vice President Caleb Milkey, Secretary Laci Paul and Council Members: Gabby Doss, Trevor Wester, and Devin Pressley.

The SLC and the Searight Multicultural Leadership Award (SMLA) were established in 2021 with a gift from the University’s longtime supporters, the Rev. Johnny L. and Shirley P. Searight. The SMLA is a scholarship available to first-generation college students who are pursuing the Leadership Certificate. The first recipients of the award are Caitlyn Hamrick from Shelby, N.C., majoring in elementary education, and Lys Ishiari from Charlotte, N.C., majoring in computer science.

The SLC curriculum begins with a Summer Courage Bootcamp that challenges the mind of each participant and introduces them to bold thinking, innovation, and the servant leadership model. Next, students attend four-hour modules every two weeks for five months. These sessions give students access to veteran corporate leaders, and they learn about the knowledge and skills required in executive-level positions.

The Searight Leadership class hears from a corporate executive.

To earn the SLC on their transcript, students must complete 10 modules before graduation. They are also required to participate in community service projects. Their first project is collecting canned food for homeless shelters in Cleveland County. Gephardt joined the program because its curriculum and mission appealed to him. “The biggest change we can make is right here in our community, and we look forward to continuing in that aspect,” Gephardt said. “It is a blessing to be able to help mold this new program…and I look forward to the impact that we will make both now and in the future.”

Milkey, a business administration major minoring in economics/finance, is interested in learning more about the daily operations of managing a business. In the first two sessions, he’s learned about the different types of followers and the best ways to lead them. He’s proud to be in the inaugural SLC program. “We want the PACE Program to be a status symbol of leaders on campus, and we wanted our first act as a club to be something that helped other people rather than ourselves,” Milkey stated. “We thought (collecting food) would be a great way to give back to our community and help out those who are in need before the winter comes.”  

Paul, a junior economics and finance major, likes math and received her interest in investing from her grandfather. “I believe that money should not be something that people have to worry about, and I want to help others be financially free,” she explained. “I wanted to join the Searight PACE Program because the leadership courses allow me to hear from successful people who were once in my place. These people have experiences and advice that may help me in my professional career in and after college. This is also a great way for us to hear from Christian leaders in today’s world and how the Lord has helped and allowed them to succeed.”

Canned Food for the Homeless

Searight Pace Ambassadors are collecting canned food for the homeless until Nov. 18. Place donations in the yellow collection bins located at Tucker Student Center and the Clubhouse. Contact Gabby Doss for more information.

Register for the Searight PACE Leadership Certificate Program

Registration for the 2022 Fall Semester program will be accepted until Oct. 19. The deadline to apply for the 2023 Spring Semester is Feb. 1.

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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