Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall Dedicated

Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall Dedicated

MOUNT OLIVE – On Sunday, February 15, the University of Mount Olive officially dedicated the newly renovated Assembly Hall located at 207 Wooten Street in Mount Olive as the Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall.  The naming opportunity was a result of a recent gift given to the University’s Realizing the Dream Securing the Future capital campaign by Mrs. Kornegay’ s family.

Jimmy Williams, UMO vice president for Institutional Advancement, said, “Today marks a beautiful and delightful day to honor Hazel and her family. We are coming together to celebrate a building that has so much history, and the funding made possible by the Dream Campaign to make all of these renovations and advancements possible. Thank goodness we were able to save this building and transform it into a venue that will be a tremendous asset to the University, enabling us to not only fulfill our mission to our students but to our entire region as well.  We are very grateful to the Kornegay family for helping make this all possible.”

Speaking on behalf of the Kornegay family, Deborah Kornegay, Hazel’s daughter, said, “I find it fitting that the Assembly Hall would be named after mamma. She has always upheld the values of family and integrity, and she has always shown endless care to others. I hope all of Mamma’s values of integrity and kindness can be spread throughout this institution, starting here in this assemble hall. We’d like to thank the University of Mount Olive for providing us with this wonderful opportunity.”

In commenting about the honor, Hazel Waters Kornegay said, “I am delighted that the University of Mount Olive made all of this possible. My family and I are committed to supporting the University, and I am honored to have the Assembly Hall named after me.”

Hazel Kornegay was born in the White Flash community of Duplin County. She is one of 10 children, and the oldest daughter, of Robert Glenn and Beulah Puckett Waters. She grew up on the small family farm during the depression, graduated from B. F. Grady High School in 1943 in the midst of World War II. Soon afterward, she married her high school sweetheart, Adolph Kornegay. The marriage lasted for more than 62 years, until his death in 2006.  The Kornegay’s produced four children: Jimmy Kornegay of Edgewater, MD; Billy Kornegay of Raleigh; Deborah Kornegay of Calypso; and Michael Kornegay of Clayton. The Kornegay family also includes nine grandsons and eight great-grandchildren.

The Kornegay family has many ties to the Assembly Hall and to the University of Mount Olive.  The Kornegay’ s two oldest sons, Jimmy and Billy, attended all four years of high school in Mount Olive in what is now the J. William and Marvis E. “Marcy” Byrd Apartment Complex and they actually received their diplomas in the Assembly Hall, which now bears their mother’s name. Daughter Deborah attended two years of high school in the facility before it consolidated with other area schools to become Southern Wayne High School.

As a young mother in the 1950’s, Hazel Kornegay took night classes in bookkeeping and typing at Mount Olive College. A younger sister attended the College for a year. She had a grandson to graduate from the College in 2007, and Deborah served as director of Health Services for many years at the College. Billy attended MOC in 1965 and 1966 and currently serves on the Foundation Board for the University.

“The Kornegay family is proud of the University of Mount Olive, its mission, and its many contributions to Eastern North Carolina,” said Billy. “The Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall will provide an appropriate venue for educational and cultural events that will enrich the University as well as the greater community. It’s a pleasure to help preserve such a historical building for future generations to enjoy and to honor the positive influence our mother and grandmother has had on all of our lives.”

In his closing remarks UMO President Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter said, “At the University of Mount Olive, we are helping create a vision for the future, and the Kornegay family’s generosity is helping create that vision. We are starting to see that everything is possible for our students, and we are committed to the expansion of the fine arts. The University is aiming to enable, empower, and enrich the fine arts and its students.  This Assembly Hall is one of many steps that will make that possible.”

An event to honor all donors to the Department of Music Complex, the Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall, and the J. William and Marvis E. “Marcy” Byrd Apartment Complex will be held in the spring.

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 old.umo.edu.


(L-R)   Hazel’s sister Sarah Smith; Hazel’s sister Betty Lou Kornegay; Hazel Waters Kornegay; Hazel’s sister Nellie Davis; Hazel’s youngest son, Michael Kornegay

Billy Kornegay and Hazel Waters Kornegay

(L-R) Hazel’s son, Billy Kornegay, and UMO Vice President for Institutional Advancement Jimmy Williams unveil the new sign at the Hazel Waters Kornegay Assembly Hall