Former Marine is set for Graduation

Former Marine is set for Graduation

JACKSONVILLE- Courtney Gibson of Maple Hill is gearing up to graduate from the University of Mount Olive (UMO) on December 13. As her time at UMO at Jacksonville comes to a close, Gibson is thankful for the experiences and opportunities that the institution has provided her.

Prior to UMO, Gibson lived in Lansing, Michigan and studied at a private evening college for two years. However, Gibson decided to put her educational journey on pause as she enlisted into the United States Marine Corps in October of 2009. She left for boot camp at age 20, and she was relocated to a base in North Carolina.

Although Gibson felt her work in the military was rewarding, she desired to return to the classroom. “In the middle of my active duty service, I realized I missed college and decided to better myself by finishing a degree. I decided to take advantage of the tuition assistance program offered by the military,” said Gibson.

Gibson enrolled at UMO in the fall of 2012 at the Jacksonville location. During this time, she finished her four years of active duty as a Marine Corporal and was ready to fully commit to her education. “I decided to major in HRM. I was inspired by the role Human Resources have in working with employees and helping to administer their benefits,” said Gibson. “I take great joy in serving others, and I saw this degree as a door that would lead me to serve.”

Gibson’s academic advisor has also impacted her educational journey. “Leigh Shaffer has inspired me. She has motivated me to grow in my education, and she has shown me that anything is possible. She had more confidence in me than I had in myself, and she gave me the courage to set my goals higher,” said Gibson.

Gibson attributes her academic success to the flexible scheduling and modular programs that the University offers. “The modular style of programming works great with my schedule. I appreciate the availability of the accelerated program, as well as only having class one night a week,” noted Gibson.

While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, Gibson has also juggled numerous jobs. She worked for a local veterinary hospital and now is a support service coordinator at the UMO Jacksonville location. Her job entails serving the students and staff at the University location by providing administrative support.

At 25 years old, Gibson encourages adult learners to continue the pursuit of a degree and to never give up on education. “My life has been transformed by UMO because my education has opened doors for me. I feel like my opportunities are many, and I would not be where I am today without my college experience. It’s never too late for education!”

Following her graduation in December, Gibson plans to continue her education at UMO at Jacksonville by pursuing a degree in Leadership.  Next on her list is an MBA.

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