Antelope Intros: Paige Gruner, Holly Saunders, Walter Peoples Jr.
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
Job title: Alumni communications specialist
Job location: Main campus
What attracted you to GCU? The fact that it is growing so rapidly and being so innovative. The fact that it started so small and struggled through some hard times and is so stable now. GCU has come a long way and we are only going to continue to improve and grow. I love that I get to be part of such a great company. I can feel the great energy around me every day I come in!
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to be outdoors, even in the Arizona heat. I stay pretty active riding my bike, hiking and hanging out with my fiancé and our fur babies (our dogs).
What are you passionate about? Gosh, so many things! I’m always trying to improve myself and my skills. Within the last few years I’ve grown to love yoga and am pretty passionate about that!
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love food. I will try just about any local restaurant. I love Postino’s – the bruschetta is so good! The Valley has so many great places to visit and things to do. I live in the East Valley, so now that I’m working in Phoenix, I’m looking forward to going to events out here and experiencing what the West Valley has to offer.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I live on a farm and eat fresh eggs from our chickens every day.
What are you most proud of? Moving out here by myself when I went to college and creating a life for myself out here in Arizona!
Job title: Internal auditor
Job location: 27th Avenue Office Center
What attracted you to GCU? I was attracted to GCU because of its glowing reputation as a university – the fact that a Christian-centered university can be so widely known and be able to inspire so many people to make a change in their lives, whether for their education, faith or both. When my 11-year-old niece found out that I was hired here, she said, “Aunt Holly, you know why Grand Canyon University is so good?” I said, “Why?” She said, “Because it is a Christian school and it’s a private school.” I had no idea that my niece knew anything about the University because she is so young. It just shows you how far the school reaches into the community.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I love to sing! Every chance I get, I’m singing – in the car, at home, humming to music at my desk. At any given moment, I have a song running through my head. I also love to do interior design and create new design ideas with my husband. I also love to bake and sew.
What are you passionate about? Well, what am I not passionate about? I have a passion for life! Everything that I do, I wear a smile and look for a positive in any obstacle that I face. I absolutely love animals, with an emphasis on dogs. If I could handle the heartbreak that comes with being a veterinarian, I would do it in a heartbeat. I have picked up many dogs off the street and brought them home for a bath and a meal before beginning the search for their owner or their future home.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I love to travel around Arizona. When I first moved here in 2008, I thought there wasn’t much to see or do, but then my parents introduced my husband and me to northern Arizona. My favorite place to visit would probably be Jerome. I love history and smaller towns since I am originally from a town of 5,000 where Jell-O was invented (LeRoy, N.Y.). On our way back home from Jerome, we always go through Cottonwood and eat at Nic’s Italian Steak and Crab House. They have the best New England clam chowder, and their ambience is amazing.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I have a Starbucks collection that reaches almost 100 mugs! My husband and I have built shelves for them to display in our kitchen. When you come to my house and step into the kitchen, you feel as if you’re in a Starbucks.
What are you most proud of? I guess I would have to say that I am most proud of my strong work ethic. My parents raised me to push through anything that comes my way, and in doing so I have grown a lot professionally. From purchasing our second home to becoming a manager at my previous employer, once I set my mind to something, I am determined to finish it. I am excited to apply that here at GCU and see where this next chapter of my career takes me!
WALTER PEOPLES JR.
Job title: Enrollment counselor
Job location: Peoria
What attracted you to GCU? I was attracted to GCU by the growth and community inspiration and the possibility to attain multiple master’s degrees.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Being an ex-college and pro athlete (Southeast Missouri State University, then professionally in Italy and in the Arena Football League), I like to stay pretty active, ranging from bowling and billiards to hiking and swimming. But I love coaching the youth, whether it is in camps or a team format.
What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about life – a healthy and joyful life. There are so many wonderful things that this life can provide us as long as we apply ourselves a little. When we do, the sky’s the limit.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? My favorite place in the Valley would be Camelback Mountain. Through high school I played at so many different schools and fields throughout the Valley, and to reach the top of Camelback and see the entire Valley in a 360-degree view brings me chills to know that this is the place that created all the unforgettable journeys that I have been able to experience.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I can go to sleep on command and I’m the “jack of all trades” – pick me for any of your extracurricular activities and we will be successful.
What are you most proud of? I’m most proud of converting my life of a physical, vulgar jock to a peaceful family man.