Lake Waccamaw Police Chief Earns Degree at UMO

Lake Waccamaw Police Chief Earns Degree at UMO

WILMINGTON- Obtaining a college degree can be an extensive process of writing papers, completing assignments, and taking exams.  Former military police officer Scott Hyatt knows firsthand that college can be a process filled with unexpected twists and turns. However, at age 40, Hyatt is proud to say that he is a graduate of the University of Mount Olive.

Hyatt, a Lake Waccamaw resident, entered Southeastern Community College directly after high school. He worked 60 hours a week at a family restaurant, along with maintaining his course work. When the schedule became too much, he enlisted in the Army.

“I joined the Army to get away from school and work. I served for five action-packed years as a military policeman,” he said.

Once he returned from the military, Hyatt resumed his studies at SCC and graduated with an associate’s degree in criminal justice technology. Soon after, Hyatt attended the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) and accepted a law enforcement job with the Town of Lake Waccamaw in 1999.  Four years later he was promoted to chief of police.

Wanting to further his education Hyatt, starting looking around for a college that would fit both his academic needs and his busy schedule.  A friend recommended the University of Mount Olive. After researching the University and its program offerings, Hyatt enrolled at the Wilmington location of UMO in 2004.  Not long afterwards, Hyatt and his wife, Katherine, found out they were expecting their first child.

“I had to make time for my family, so I once again stopped my studies,” said Hyatt.

Two children later, Hyatt realized that he needed to finish what he started and complete his degree.  “I wanted to be a good role model for my children and show them the importance of higher education,” he said.

Hyatt re-enrolled at UMO, and thanks to the friendly faculty and modular style of courses he experienced a smooth transition back to college. He graduated in August of 2014 with a BS in criminal justice administration.  As chief of police with the Lake Waccamaw Police Department Hyatt often uses the knowledge he gained at UMO whether in the area of patrols or administrative duties, with things such as budgeting and policy making.

“It’s never too late for finishing education,” he said. “The feeling of accomplishment at the end of the college journey is absolutely worth it.”

With college behind him Hyatt hopes to spend his free time enjoying his fly fishing hobby.   “In our little family, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, we have New Year’s themes. Mine for this year is ‘gone fishing.’ We will see how it pans out,” Hyatt smiled.

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