Maria Zimmer Receives Morris Award for Academic Excellence at UMO

Maria Zimmer Receives Morris Award for Academic Excellence at UMO

MOUNT OLIVE- University of Mount Olive elementary education major Maria “Mia” Zimmer recently received the distinguished Dr. Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence.  The award was presented to Zimmer for having the highest Grade Point Average (GPA) of the May graduating class.  The award is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Thomas R. Morris and includes a $3,000 check. 

Director of Teacher Education Dr. Ruby Bell said, “Maria is an amazing student who is self-motivated, focused, punctual, responsible, and has excelled academically.  She is purpose driven with a keen focus on student success as seen in her lesson plans.”

Assistant Dean for Education Amanda Bullard-Maxwell said, “It has been said that teaching is a calling.  Without a doubt, Maria Zimmer has been called to teach.  Ms. Zimmer possesses all the qualities that make an effective teacher including compassion, creativity, enthusiasm, and a passion for her chosen profession.”

“As the recipient of both the Louise Edgerton Teacher Education Student of the Year Award and the Thomas R Morris Award for Academic Excellence, Mia has been recognized for her passion for learning as well as her passion for teaching,” said Dr. Brenda Cates, Professor of Mathematics and Director of the UMO Honors Program.  “She has an insatiable thirst for knowledge, fueled by her desire to improve the lives of children through education. Mia epitomizes academic excellence and the core values articulated in the UMO Covenant, having earned the respect of students and faculty alike for her genuine kindness and compassion. Mia sets the standard for UMO graduates who aspire to serve, achieve and lead in their chosen professions.”

Zimmer was born in Mayfield Heights, Ohio to Anthony and Evelyn Zimmer.  She currently resides in Beulaville, NC with her husband, Max Kravchuk.

Benefactor of the Morris Award is retired Goldsboro optometrist, Dr. Thomas R. Morris. A native of Nahunta in Wayne County, Dr. Morris was raised in the Union Grove OFWB Church. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he now resides in Wilmington.

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 education service centers in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit