Dalley Reaches Educational Goals and Inspires Others

Dalley Reaches Educational Goals and Inspires Others

MOUNT OLIVE –Fifty-year-old Peggy Dalley of Castle Hayne is doing something many would consider intimidating.  After being out of school for over three decades, Dalley has returned to the classroom to obtain her bachelor’s degree.

Family first – has always been Dalley’s motto.  She and her husband of 22 years, Jerry, are the proud parents of three sons, Cole-21, Matthews-18, and Tommy-16. Coming from a broken home, Dalley wanted better for her own family.  After high school, she obtained her associates degree and entered the workforce as a telecommunicator and animal control officer for the Roanoke Rapids Police Department.  She later moved to Raleigh, where she met and married Jerry.  Once the boys came along, Peggy made the decision to homeschool her sons.  Any thoughts of career or educational advancement were placed on a back burner.

“My family is the most important thing to me. No matter what I might accomplish professionaly, giving my sons the tools to succeed in life will always be my greatest achivement.”

In the fall of 2014, with her sons well on their way to adulthood, Dalley decided it was time to focus on her own dreams. With Jerry preparing to retire, she concentrated on what she would need to re-enter the workforce.  At the top of the list was earning her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology.

“Ever since my very first job, I have always loved law and admired the criminal justice profession,” Dalley said.

Living in New Hanover County, Dalley had many educational options from which to choose.  However, knowing she would need to re-enter the workforce after tweny years, she needed a flexible program that would accommodate her busy work schedule.  She found that flexibility at the University of Mount Olive at Wilmington.

Dailey works 12-hour shifts with the New Hanover County 911, from 7 PM to 7 AM.  She started as a Telecommunicator in December of 2015, and has been a Chief Training Officer since August of 2017.


“A typical shift,” she says, “entails dispatching Law Enforcement Officers, EMTS, or Fire personnel to calls for service and answering incoming phone calls for service. It is fast-paced, exciting, and stressful at times.”


Being accustomed to high anxiety situations Dalley was anticipating that returning to school after so many years out of the classroom, would also be very stressful.  However, she soon discovered that the faculty and staff at UMO at Wilmington were accustomed to helping adult students transition back into the world of academia.


“Nontraditional students like Dalley are attracted by options that provide them with alternative ways to do traditional things,” said Dr. Marna McMurry, Director of UMO at Wilmington.  “It’s all about packaging our programs to meet the needs of our students.  At the University of Mount Olive at Wilmington, we’ve been successful by working strategically to offer an exceptional student experience, being flexible to their needs, and providing more diverse program options.”


Not only were the faculty at UMO at Wilmington extremely helpful, Dailey found them to be a source of inspiration.


“Professor John H. Ward challenged me to always do my best, and he believed I was capable of reaching my goals,” she said.


This May Dalley will reach the first rung on her goal sheet.  She will obtain her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology.  Next on the horizon, she plans to pursue her master’s degree in public administration with the hopes of one day teaching others like herself.


“I am so thankful for my UMO experience,” she said.  “My life has been transformed by the realization that I am still able to perform academically at a high level, and that I can reach my life long goals.”


The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit www.umo.edu.