Finding Love and Knowledge at MOC

bassili, derosa, commencementMOUNT OLIVE – Joseph Bassili and Kristy DeRosa originally met through an online class at University of Mount Olive. Their relationship bloomed as they got to know each other in person. The couple recently wed on April 24, and on May 4th, they walked across the stage to get their bachelor degrees.

Bassili is a 38 year old psychology major from Louisville, Kentucky who began attending classes at MOC while serving his country. “I was in the Air Force, and they offered online classes and classes on base that I could attend while off-duty,” said Bassili. “After retiring from the Air Force last summer, I decided to transfer to the main campus to complete the final year of my degree.”

DeRosa is a 40 year old psychology major from Goldsboro who knew she needed a higher quality education. “I was attending another university, but I was not happy with their academic standards,” DeRosa explained. “I was not sure it would adequately prepare me for graduate school. I also needed a curriculum which would allow me to work full time plus take care of my son. University of Mount Olive offered all that I needed.”

In recalling their first interaction De Rosa said, “We had an online psychology course together with Dr. Patricia Prunty, associate professor of psychology. The next class was seated and also taught by Dr. Prunty. When she called the roll, she asked if he was ‘online Joe’. So, I also was able to put a face with the Joe on discussion boards. Sometimes we still joke about ‘online Joe’.”

DeRosa and Bassili had an instant bond. “We had a number of things in common,” DeRosa said. “He treated my son well, and with his training in psychology, understood my son’s needs.” They worked together on class projects and encouraged each other to do better. “When we paired up for class assignments, we both brought strengths in different ways. We made a good team.”

“We have had many discussions revolving around course material,” Bassili commented. “I have been very fortunate to have Kristy as a sounding board as we complement each other very well”

The time they spent at the College has prepared them for the next step in their careers. “University of Mount Olive has transformed my life by providing me a direction for my second career,” said Bassili. “The psychology courses I have completed at MOC have prepared me for many of the courses I will take at the graduate level.”

“My appreciation for psychology has grown,” DeRosa explained. “On a personal level, I am better able to analyze my son’s educational evaluations, which helps me be a better advocate.  I have grown both personally and professionally through my studies at University of Mount Olive.”

The couple has received many offers from prestigious graduate schools, but they will take their time choosing. “We have been accepted to several institutions, and we are trying to decide which programs will be optimal,” explained DeRosa.  “Some of the programs have offered assistantships and tuition waivers, so this will have an influence on our decisions. Also, I have come to appreciate the small, private college environment because of the individualized attention I received at University of Mount Olive. A couple of the institutions that I applied to are small or private, and this also will likely influence my decision.”

To celebrate their graduation and their wedding, the couple is planning a trip to Maggie Valley for some much needed down time.

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit