Cherokee Storyteller to Give Distinguished Lecture at Gardner-Webb University

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Freeman Owle, GWU Alumnus, to share the story of “The Cherokee of Yesterday and Today”

The Joyce Compton Brown Lecture Series at Gardner-Webb University is proud to present GWU Distinguished Alumnus and accomplished Cherokee educator Freeman Owle, who will share the story of “The Cherokee of Yesterday and Today” on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Gardner-Webb’s Ritch Banquet Hall, located inside the Dover Campus Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Owle will intersperse traditional Cherokee myths and children’s fables into his greater lecture about the Cherokee heritage in the region.  He will also field audience questions after the lecture.

Born in 1946 on the Qualla Indian Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, Owle attended then Gardner Webb Junior College before earning a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in education from Western Carolina University.  He then worked for 12 years as an elementary school teacher in the Cherokee School System.  Since 1990, he has earned acclaim as a lecturer, historian, educator, storyteller, and champion of the Cherokee heritage.

Among his many honors, Owle was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1990 and the North Carolina Folklorist of the Year award 2001. He has contributed to several books on the Cherokee heritage, and received the White House’s Preserve America Presidential Award in 2004 for his contributions to the Cherokee Heritage Trail Guide.  Most recently, he was asked to sit as a member of the elders of the Cherokee people, and was inducted into Gardner-Webb’s Gallery of Distinguished Alumni. For more information, visit

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request ten working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4259 to make a request.

The scholarly lecture series is named for Dr. Joyce Compton Brown, professor emerita of English at Gardner-Webb, who retired in 2005 after almost 40 years of service as an English Professor.  Among her many accomplishments, Brown formed a lecture series as part of the University’s Life of the Scholar Program in the early 1990s, to introduce students to the challenging and dynamic world of professional scholarship.  After her retirement, her family, friends and colleagues established a fund to provide continued support for the series she nurtured.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University seeks a higher ground in higher education – one that embraces faith and intellectual freedom, balances conviction with compassion, and inspires in students a love of learning, service, and leadership.