GWYou: Dean Cantrell

GWU Senior Plans for Future Military Career

Dean Cantrell

A Gardner-Webb senior is preparing for active duty in the U.S. Army, and believes the University experience has provided him with all the tools he needs for future success. Dean Cantrell (’18), an ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) cadet at GWU who will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation in May, is majoring in Computer Science and plans to use his skills as an officer in the military. The Williamston, N.C., native has taken full advantage of opportunities at Gardner-Webb, and encourages fellow students to do the same.

“Take every opportunity that you can. I have learned how to better manage my time so I can give my best effort to those I am leading,” Cantrell reflected. “The most significant thing I have learned how to do in leadership is to delegate, which incorporates time management and utilizing people’s strengths.”

As a member of the JROTC in high school, Cantrell knew he wanted to attend a college that offered the ROTC program, which prepares young adults to become military officers. During the college application process, he learned about Gardner-Webb and applied. Once he learned that the University offered an ROTC program, he made the decision to attend. When he graduates, he will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and will serve four years in active duty.

“The sense of community at Gardner-Webb is amazing because it is so easy to make friends here,” he shared. “The professors and instructors take a lot of care with the classes and make it worth my time to be present. The ROTC cadets that I have sweat with—and, in some cases, bled with—will always be my brothers and sisters in arms.”

Cantrell acknowledges a range of people who offered individualized support through classes, programs, and campus activities. “Captain Michael Meissner has put so much of his time and effort into this ROTC program and it shows. In the course of a year, he has tripled the size of our program and given us facilities and opportunities to keep improving ourselves,” he said. “I’m also grateful for Dr. Paula Qualls. She is one of the most understanding and caring professors I have ever met. Even after finishing her class, she still welcomes me back to pray or to discuss the Bible.”

As he prepares to embark on his life journey, he believes he has been well prepared for all his future may hold. “I really have enjoyed my time at Gardner-Webb,” he affirmed. “It has opened doors to so many different things, and I have gained lifelong friends.”

Learn more about the ROTC program at Gardner-Webb