Gary Barefoot Recognized for 50-Years at UMO

Gary Barefoot Recognized for 50-Years at UMO

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive Moye Library staff recently honored Gary Fenton Barefoot with a reception acknowledging his 50-year association with the University.  Many of his current and former co-workers were on hand to reminisce.

A native of Spivey’s Corner, Barefoot earned an associate’s degree from Mount Olive College in 1959.  During his time at MOC, Barefoot actually had the privilege of helping to begin the FWB Historical Collection. After graduation, Barefoot continued his education, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill.  After working as a public school librarian, Barefoot came back to MOC in 1965.  During the next 34 years, Barefoot served as director of Moye Library.  He oversaw the transition of the library from two rooms on the original campus to Moye Library on the new campus.  He saw the expansion from 7,000 volumes of books to more than 60,000.  He helped convert the library from its original manual operations to a more modern technology based system.  Barefoot “officially” retired from Mount Olive College in May 1999, but continued as director through the fall semester of that year.  Upon retirement he was named by the Board of Trustees as director emeritus of Library Services.

It did not take Barefoot long to get bored with retirement.  His passion for Mount Olive College and for the Free Will Baptist denomination led him to do voluntary work on completing the organization and cataloging of the Free Will Baptist Historical Collection and the College Archives.  It was a job that he had envisioned being able to do in retirement, since there never seemed to be neither enough time nor enough staff to devote to the Collection during his tenure as library director.  After a year or two of working a day or two a week, he was named the curator of the Free Will Baptist Historical Collection/College Archives and assumed a working schedule of three days a week.  With the expansion of the library building in the second floor of the new Communications Building in 2006, the FWB Historical College/College Archives was moved to new and expanded quarters.   Due in great measure to Barefoot’s good work, the FWB Historical Collection at the University of Mount Olive has become the most comprehensive collection of materials on the Original Free Will Baptists in existence today.

At the recent celebration held in his honor, Barefoot said, “I am ready to retire again and am waiting for someone to come along and pick up the work of the Collection/Archives that has been my passion since the late 1950’s.”

Looking back over his 50 year career with the institution, Barefoot said, “Probably the best decision I ever made was to come to Mount Olive Junior College as a freshman in 1957, for here I met some of the finest people (faculty, students, and towns people) who have shaped my life.  Of course another good decision was to return to my alma mater to work.  Obviously I have enjoyed my association with the University and I hope that, both in my professional career and in my retirement work, I have done something to help better the lives of others and to preserve and perpetuate the history, faith and work of the Free Will Baptist denomination.”

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

Past and present Moye Library Staff members gathered to celebrate Gary Barefoot’s 50 years with the UMO.  Pictured (l-r) back row:  Gary Barefoot, Wes Warren, Annie Albertson, and Nathan Stancil.  Front row:  Susan Ryberg, Pam Wood, Jackie Hill, Katherine Wolfe and Kristie Norton.

Barbara Kornegay (right) looks over Gary Barefoot’s original contract for employment at which time he was making $5,000 per year.

Former  longtime employee of Mount Olive College Nelda Smith shares memories with Gary Barefoot during a reception held in Barefoot’s honor.