news-category: Christian Life and Service

Billy Graham’s Grandson, Will Graham, to Speak at Gardner-Webb Dimensions on March 26

a collage featuring a historic photo of Billy Graham on the left and a photo of his grandson, Will, on the right
At left is a photo from a yearbook of Billy Graham speaking at Gardner-Webb on Feb. 23, 1971. His grandson, Will Graham, at right, speaks at an event hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The Program is Open to the Public and Celebrates 1971 Event Featuring Billy Graham

Will Graham

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb’s Office of Christian Life and Service welcomes guest speaker Will Graham, the grandson of Billy Graham and oldest son of Franklin Graham, on March 26 at 9:30 a.m. The program, which is open to the public, is part of the University’s Dimensions series and will be held in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center. Will’s visit comes more than five decades after Billy Graham visited Gardner-Webb’s campus on Feb. 23, 1971.

“We are excited to have Will Graham coming to campus, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing the message he shares with our community,” stated Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “The Graham family has meant so much to this region and to evangelical Christians everywhere for such a long time, and we are indeed pleased that—just as his grandfather did 53 years earlier—Will has chosen Gardner-Webb as a place to come and share the good news.”

An ordained minister, Will has previously spoken for Dimensions at Gardner-Webb, as has his cousin, Jonathan Lotz, son of Anne Graham Lotz. Will has shared the hope of Jesus with more than 1 million people across six continents since beginning his evangelistic ministry in 2006. He serves as the executive vice president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), providing leadership to all aspects of the organization that his grandfather founded in 1950.

A photo from the 1971 Gardner-Webb yearbook of Billy Graham, right, speaking with Pat Spangler and his wife, Eloise.

When the elder Graham visited in 1971, he led a dedication service for R. Patrick Spangler Hall and a consecration service in the chapel. According to “Dreaming, Daring, Doing: The Story of Gardner-Webb University,” Billy Graham addressed a crowd of 3,000 at one service. During his comments, the evangelist spoke of his admiration for Gardner-Webb and said he had recommended the school to several students.

Spangler was recognized that day for his many years as a faithful supporter of the University. He served as chairman for the Board of Trustees and led two successful capital campaigns. He and his brother, Bud, were lead donors for the construction of Spangler Stadium, which is named for their father, Ernest Webb Spangler.

As the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel under the BGEA banner, Will has said, “I’m not trying to be the next Billy Graham; I’m just Will Graham. I have a burden in my heart to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If that’s to an arena full of people or one person on the street, I will do whatever God is calling me to do.”

In 2018, Will portrayed his grandfather in the Universal Studios biopic “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (about Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini). Also in 2018, Will’s first book — a devotional titled “Redeemed: Devotions for a Longing Soul”— was published by Thomas Nelson, featuring stories centered on the life-changing power of a relationship with God. A DVD Bible study curriculum (and accompanying book) based on “Redeemed” was released in May 2019.

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’s Dimensions program seeks to enhance the spiritual, intellectual and cultural life at the University and to promote a sense of community. Learn more about Dimensions.

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 Gardner-Webb.edu.

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