Higher Education Lifts a Cloud for UMO Alumnus

Higher Education Lifts a Cloud for UMO Alumnus

WILMINGTON- Henry Edmund of Lake Waccamaw spent 27 years working in the banking industry, but he always felt like something was missing. Without a college degree, Edmund found it hard to advance, so he enrolled at the University of Mount Olive at Wilmington in 1999. After graduating, Edmund started climbing the corporate ladder.  He attributes his tremendous success to UMO.

Edmund grew up on a farm in Columbus County and attended Southeastern Community College for two years after graduating high school. However, he never completed his degree.  Instead he decided to pursue a job in the banking industry.

“I worked for 27 years with a cloud over my head,” revealed Edmund. “All those years most people assumed that I was a college graduate and that really bothered me. The cloud that I endured was the stigma of not finishing college.”

Edmund was determined to eliminate that cloud.

“Over those years I lived in Raleigh, New Bern , and Mt Airy and never found a program that would work with my schedule,” he said.  “After moving to Whiteville I heard about the nontraditional program at UMO at Wilmington and decided to check it out.  It was perfect for me. So, I enrolled.”

The day Edmund arrived for his first class, he got cold feet and decided not to go.

“The University called me that evening and persuaded me to come on and give it a chance.  They promised to help me along the way,” Edmund recalled. “The decision to enroll and start the program was certainly one of the best decisions I have made in my career.”

The caring and support from the faculty and staff at UMO influenced Edmund to commit to his college education and achieve a degree in business management and organizational development.  He graduated with cum laude honors in 2001.

Edmund had spent the majority of his banking career with First Citizens Bank starting as a loan collector and eventually working his way up to a senior vice president. Three years after receiving his degree from UMO, an opportunity came along to join Security Savings Bank as a senior vice president and become part of their senior management team. There were five members on that team and all were college graduates, including Edmund.

“With the educational cloud gone, I was able to focus on my future and work hard to achieve higher positions of responsibility,” he said.  “Three years later, I was promoted to executive vice president. Within two more years, I was appointed president and CEO of the bank.”

Two years ago, Security Savings Bank and NewBridge Bank merged, and Edmund is now an executive vice president with the organization and happy to be in banking without all the stresses of the past.

Reflecting on the phone call he received on the day of his first class at UMO, Edmund said, “None of this would have happened if Mount Olive had not called and encouraged me that day.”

Edmund was invited to share his educational and career success story at UMO at Wilmington’s 20th anniversary celebration.  He said, “I’m sure that I speak for the almost 1500 students who have graduated from UMO at Wilmington. The University is the happy beginning to many success stories.  Because UMO made their educational programs available to working adults like me, my life was definitely transformed, which in turn affected many others lives that I have had the pleasure to work with over the years.”

Edmund has been married to his wife, Diane, for 45 years, and they have two daughters, Jennifer and Mary Beth and seven grandchildren.

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.