First Graduates to Have the University of Mount Olive Diploma

First Graduates to Have the University of Mount Olive Diploma

The University of Mount Olive will graduate approximately 320 students at the 60th Spring commencement service on Saturday, May 3rd. The graduation service is set to begin at 2:00 PM in the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena. These will be the first graduates to have their diploma from the University.  UMO officially changed its name from College to University at the start of the spring 2014 semester.

The commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony will be Congressman G. K. Butterfield, who is the representative for the 1stdistrict of North Carolina.

Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina. Raised in Wilson, Congressman Butterfield spent his formative years attending Charles H. Darden High School and worked tirelessly in the civil rights movement as a youth.  His parents were Dr. and Mrs. G. K. Butterfield, Sr.  His father practiced dentistry for 50 years and served as the first black elected official in Wilson since reconstruction.  His mother was a teacher for 48 years.

Congressman Butterfield graduated from college and law school at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.  After earning his law degree, Congressman Butterfield founded a law practice in Wilson and served the community in that capacity for 14 years.  He is best known for his successful litigation of voting rights cases that resulted in the election of African-American elected officials.

In 1988, Congressman Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge.  In this role, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina.  For two years, he served on the North Carolina Supreme Court by appointment of the governor.  Butterfield retired from the judiciary after 15 years of service and successfully ran for Congress.  He was elected to serve the First District of North Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on July 20, 2004, where he continues to serve today.

In Congress, Butterfield is a champion of affordable medical care, education, investments in rural communities, veterans, renewable energies, and federal programs that support low-income and middle-class Americans.

Butterfield serves in the Democratic leadership as chief deputy whip and as first vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.  He sits on the influential Committee on Energy & Commerce as the 8th most senior Democrat on the Health Subcommittee.  In addition, he serves as a member of the subcommittees of Communications and Technology, and Oversight and Investigations.

Congressman Butterfield is a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a proud father and grandfather.

Serving as the baccalaureate speaker is the Reverend Aubrey Baxter Williamson. Williamson is a Wayne County native, and the husband of Campus Chaplain Carla Williamson. The two have been married for 35 years and have three adult sons.

Williamson attended Southern Wayne Senior High School, before his college career at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the University of Mount Olive (formerly Mount Olive College), and Campbell University Divinity School.

Williamson has been an ordained Original Free Will Baptist Minister for 31 years, and has served as pastor for six different OFWB churches. As well as his pastoral work, he has served on several ordaining boards including that of the Albemarle Conference and, currently, the Cape Fear Conference Ordaining Board. He also spent two years working as a church planter in Georgia and Florida, and as a director pastor of a mission church in Florida.

As well as his work with the church, Williamson has also held the position of president in the Johnston County ARC, and worked as a Special Olympics coach for golf and bowling.

Williamson currently serves as the Pastor of Kenly Original Free Will Baptist Church in Kenly, NC.

The baccalaureate service is scheduled for 10:30 AM in Southern Bank Auditorium.

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