#PrepareAtPeace: WPU Alumna Deja Barber Crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina

Sep 13, 2017

It is safe to say that WPU Alumna Deja Barber is North Carolina royalty – she even has the crown to prove it. As the 2017 winner of the Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina Pageant, Barber has been busy traveling and speaking at various events across the state. She speaks primarily about living a fulfilled life with a disability and her topics can range from self-advocacy to employment, but each subject has the same underlying theme of empowerment.

Since winning her North Carolina title, Barber wears her crown with pride and enjoys the adventure of getting to share her message with people across her home state – something she’s thought about doing for years.

“I got to meet 24 other strong women in wheelchairs that are doing great things all over our country for those in the disability community.”

Deja first heard about the Miss Wheelchair North Carolina program when she was 14 years old, but at the time she was too young to compete. After waiting seven long years to be eligible, Barber entered the pageant soon after graduating from WPU in 2016. She has since gone on to compete on the national stage in the Miss Wheelchair America Pageant, an experience that she looks back on proudly.

WPU Alumna Deja Barber wins Ms. Wheelchair NC.

WPU Alumna Deja Barber is crowned as Ms. Wheelchair NC. (photo courtesy of Deja Barber)

“I got to meet 24 other strong women in wheelchairs that are doing great things all over our country for those in the disability community,” Barber said. “If I had won the [national] title my main focus would have been to understand the needs of our country when it comes to being disabled and to help in the best way I can.”

Barber is also a strong believer in the importance of secondary education. She received her degree in Education and her minor in Psychology from WPU and she encourages members of the disabled community to pursue degrees whenever she speaks.

“Peace gave me the skills to be confident in myself and push me to speak out on the things that make me different,” Barber said.

She carries what she learned at Peace so she can go out into the world and speak about things that need to change, especially for those with disabilities.

“I believe the support I gained pushed me to want to speak out on different things that needed to change,” Barber said. “That is the main thing I do as my duty for Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina.”

“She brings such positive energy to everyone she meets and I know she’ll continue to represent North Carolina and WPU well.”

Barber looks back at her time at Peace happily and says that she misses the close-knit connections she made as a student, where the campus became like a second home. This explains why she can almost always be found at WPU Alumni events supporting her Alma Mater, or on campus visiting with faculty and staff like the Wellness Center Director, Nicole Davis.

“There’s no one more suited for the title of Miss Wheelchair NC than Deja,” Davis said. “She brings such positive energy to everyone she meets and I know she’ll continue to represent North Carolina and WPU well. Everyone at Peace is so proud of Deja and all of her hard work.”

For more news and feature stories, search #PrepareAtPeace on social media, or visit www.peace.edu/news.


Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 


Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.


Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.


Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.


Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.


Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.


Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students


If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 


Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.


WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting


Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.


William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU


Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.


WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 


Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.