news-category: Awards

Gardner-Webb Students Receive Academic and Service Awards

A student is presented an award by two professors.
Photos by Samantha Holt / GWU Photo Staff

Honors Presented by the College of Arts and Sciences, Student Development, Athletics and Office of Christian Life and Service

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University recently recognized students for academic excellence and community service. Winners of these awards exemplify the University’s core values of faith, service and leadership in their classrooms and communities.

In honor of the award, each student may choose one book for purchase by Gardner-Webb’s Dover Memorial Library. The book will be inscribed with the student’s name and the date of the award recognition.

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Communication, Art and Design

  • The Art History Research Award – Katie Canipe of Shelby, N.C.
  • The Elizabeth Carlisle Jones Art Award – Chris Dover of Shelby, N.C. Given in honor of Jones—gifted artist, Bible teacher, wife and mother—by her daughter, Susan Carlisle Bell, professor of art emerita. The award is given to a student who exhibits exceptional creativity, productivity, craftmanship and presentation in the areas of painting, drawing and printmaking, or other two-dimensional work.
  • The Graphic Design Award – Camren Cheatham of Aiken, S.C.
  • The Journalism Award – Jordan Garrison of Buford, Ga.
  • The Photography Awards – Danielle Billups of Dacula, Ga.
  • The Professor James Rash Award – Micah Zehnder of Shelby, N.C. his award is presented to a student who exhibits outstanding creativity, productivity, craftsmanship and presentation in the areas of ceramics, art appreciation, drawing and painting for GWU.
  • The Public Relations Award – Sierra Talbert, of Indian Trail, N.C.
From left, Micah Zehnder, Chris Dover and Katie Canipe, won awards from the Department of Communication, Art and Design.

Department of Music

  • The First Year Music Award – Peter Moore of Rutherfordton, N.C.
  • The Music Achievement Award – Annabeth Reed of Wake Forest, N.C.                  
  • The Orchestra Award – Hannah Thurman of Shelby, N.C.
  • The Symphonic Band Award – J.D. Biggers of Shelby, N.C., and Payton Huffman of Bessemer City, N.C.
  • Donald (Sid) Haton, Jr. Marching Band Spirit Award – Raleigh Wallace of Lees Summit, Mo. Established in the 2008 Marching Band season, students from the Gardner-Webb University Band have voted for a student to receive a spirit award named for Haton, the Director of Athletic Bands from 2006–2008. The recipient demonstrates Sid’s spirit by giving encouragement to others and bringing a joyful energy to rehearsals and performances. As Sid would say, the award winner “stood tall like a cheetah” and “helped others go to their happy place.”           
From left, Emma Rayfield, Alissa Carpenter, Chelsea Sexton and Nicole Riha, won awards from the Department of Natural Sciences.

Department of Natural Sciences

  • Biology Service Award – Alissa Carpenter of Lenoir, N.C., and Nicole Riha of Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Chemistry Service Award – Chelsea Sexton of Goode, Va.
  • The Les Brown Environmental Science Award – Emma Rayfield of Bessemer City, N.C. This award was established in 2006 to honor Brown’s appreciation of nature, passion for teaching science, and involvement of students in research at GWU for nearly 40 years. The winner of this award exhibits commitment to academic excellence and research in the area of environmental sciences.
  • The Stefka Eddins Undergraduate Research Award – Nicole Riha of Knoxville, Tenn. This award recognizes a student in natural sciences who demonstrates a commitment to and excellence in undergraduate research by execution and completion of a collaborative student/faculty project.
  • Chemistry ETS Major Field Test Award – Chelsea Sexton of Goode, Va. To assess the chemistry program’s strengths, a cohort of junior and senior science majors is asked to take the Educational Testing Service’s Major Field Test in Chemistry. This award is presented to the student who achieved the highest score on the exam.

Department of Mathematical and Computer Science

  • First Year Mathematical Achievement Award – Crystal Aldridge of Gastonia, N.C.              

Department of Public Service

  • Criminal Justice Leadership Award – Adrianna Marie Barone of Pompano Beach, Fla, and Molly Anne Ensalaco of Mooresville, N.C.
  • Criminal Justice Administration Academic Leadership Award – Colby Brian Kirkland of Bryson City, N.C.
  • Homeland Security Academic Award – Brittany Ashton Sherrod of Simpsonville, Ky.
  • Homeland Security Leadership Award – Molly Anne Ensalaco of Mooresville, N.C.
  • Crime Scene Investigation CSI Award – Bailey Elaine Payne of Shelby, N.C. 
  • ROTC Academic Award – Brittany Ashton Sherrod of Simpsonville, Ky.
  • ROTC Leadership Award – Matthew Cloninger of Gastonia, N.C., and Parker Corwin of Carthage, N.C.
  • N.C. Sheriff’s Student Award – Colby Brian Kirkland of Bryson City, N.C.

Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy

  • Religious Studies Association Service Award – Rebecca Majorel of Clemmons, N.C.                                                                       

Department of Social Sciences

  • The J.O. Terrell History Award – Bethany Mace of Connelly Springs, N.C. This award was established in 1974 to honor the late Dr. J.O. Terrell, Dean Emeritus of Instruction and Professor of History at Gardner-Webb, and is awarded to an outstanding student of history.
  • International Affairs Award – Moryah Snype of North Charleston, S.C.
  • Gil Blackburn Excellence in Western Civilization Award – Kendall Smith of Shelby, N.C. Named for Dr. Gil Blackburn, who served as Professor of History and Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs from 1968–2004, this award is given to an outstanding freshman or sophomore student in the Western Civilization courses.
  • The Political Science Award – Elizabeth Bradley of Bessemer City, N.C., and Rebekah Vaughn of Kernersville, N.C. The award recognizes an outstanding senior in political science and is named in honor of the late William H. Withrow Sr., graduate of the United States Naval Academy, who retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander. After graduate studies at the University of North Carolina, Commander Withrow taught Political Science at Gardner-Webb for 14 years and served a term in the North Carolina House of Representatives.
  • The Sociology Award – Haley Baker of Wilkesboro, N.C
  • Public Spiritedness and Service Award – Blake Elizalde of Matthews, N.C., and Tori Weatherley of Flowery Branch, Ga. In the spirit of Gardner-Webb’s motto, For God and Humanity, the global studies major recognizes students who have made an exceptional commitment to serving others.       

Department of Theatre Arts

  • Excellence in Acting and Performance – Faith Augustine of Hendersonville, N.C.
  • Excellence in Technical Theatre – Jade Griffin of Huntersville, N.C.
  • Alpha Si Omega Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts – Elie Brinson of Salisbury, N.C. Alpha Psi Omega is the National Honor Society for students of Theatre. This award recognizes superior achievement in academic study in the theatre arts and superior contribution to theatrical production.

Department of World Languages, Literature, and Cultures

  • The American Sign Language Award – Jazmyn A. Hampton of Canton, N.C., and Hunter James Gowan of Forest City, N.C.
  • The French Award – Virginia L. Merrill of North Charleston, S.C.
  • The German Award – Aleksandar Simic of High Point, N.C.
  • The Spanish Award – Paula Elizabeth Harvie of Johnson City, Tenn.

Student Development Awards

  • Most School Spirited – Desmond Williams of Franklinton, N.C.
  • Outstanding Student Leadership Award – Jaimesha McKenzie of Darlington, S.C., and Laci Paul of Maiden, N.C.
  • Residential Service & Leadership Awards – Micah Moulder of Seneca, S.C., and Paula Beth Harvie of Johnson City, Tenn.

Other University Awards          

  • Student Recruitment Ambassadors Scholarship Award – Robert Osowski of Charlotte, N.C.          
  • Dover Memorial Library Service Award – Kelsi Weaver of Gastonia, N.C.

Athletic Service Awards

  • Pam Scruggs Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Leadership Award – Gabe Thompson of Spartanburg, S.C. This award is given in honor of Pam C. Scruggs who has set an unparalleled example of dedication, service and leadership for her co-workers, students, student-athletes and all those who have had the privilege of knowing her in over four decades of service to the University.                                                                   
  • Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Member of the Year Award – Bridgette Strobl of Littleton, Colo.                                                                 
Some of the winners of the Christian Life and Service Awards, from left, Ellen DeCoe, Michael Causey and Bailey Ashe, pose with Neal Payne, associate minister to University for Student Ministries.

Christian Life and Service Awards

  • Gardner-Webb Online Community Engagement Award – Linda Mosley. This award recognizes the Gardner-Webb Online student who has gone the extra mile in their commitment to being aware of and meeting specific needs in their communities.               
  • Community Engagement Award – Kayla Grigg of Bessemer City, N.C. Recognizes students in the Traditional Undergraduate Program who have gone the extra mile in their commitment to being aware of and meeting specific needs in the community.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes Character Award – Braden “Brady” Bower of Hilliard, Ohio
  • Pamela Darnell Christian Mission Award – Elle DeCoe of Hickory, N.C. This award is presented in memory of Pamela Darnell, who was actively involved in student ministries on campus as a small group leader, mission trip participant, and participant in the Women’s Ministry. Pam died in June of 2005 after courageously battling both Crohn’s disease and Lymphoma while still attending Gardner-Webb. The Pamela Darnell Christian Mission Award is given to the graduating senior who has most exemplified a passionate devotion to the global mission of God on our campus.
  • The Charles & Sybil Shelton Outstanding Christian Service Award – Michael Causey of Simpsonville, S.C., and Bailey Ashe of Orangeburg, S.C. This award is presented in memory of Charles Shelton and in honor of his wife, Sybil. Following his retirement from BellSouth, Charles followed the call of God upon his life and became a leader in volunteer mission service. His life and witness impacted many Gardner-Webb students as they traveled with him on various North American and international mission trips. The Charles and Sybil Shelton Outstanding Christian Service Award is presented to both a male and female senior who have provided outstanding servant leadership through opportunities offered by the Office of Christian Life and Service.

More photos available here.

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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