Mount Olive College President Encourages Students to get Involved

MOUNT OLIVE – Making light of the rainy weekend weather, Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter, soothed the uneasiness of parents and freshmen students on Saturday during Freshmen Move-In Day, by joking that the rain would allow University of Mount Olive to now have a swim team.  Laughter erupted as parents and students settled into their seats to listen to what the President of University of Mount Olive had to say to incoming students.

Extending a warm welcome, Kerstetter assured the audience that it is the intention of everyone at University of Mount Olive to give students the opportunities to succeed.  He encouraged the students to be a part of the college community and to get involved with campus life: sports, student government, religious activities, and community service.  “Take the time to discover your interests and your particular skill set,” he advised.

On Monday, students had their first opportunity to get involved through the traditional service learning project.  Students were divided into teams sanded, painted, mulched, and provided general maintenance to two local parks in Mount Olive- Westbrook Park, Nelson Street Park.  The students provided over 675 man-hours of service to the town of Mount Olive.

“It feels good being able to help out the community,” said Cody Williams of Nashville, NC.

“This is a really awesome project to get the freshmen involved,” said Peer Mentor Lindsey Merryfield of Dudley.  “I remember doing it my freshmen year. Looking back, it was really rewarding. I hope that these guys will look back on it and feel rewarded for being part of the community and helping out.”

Tanner Tolston of Swansboro commented, “It feels really good to get out in the park and do something for the community.”

Kerstetter said, “We want to foster a spirit of service with our students and help them understand their place in the College and the community, while at the same time build friendships and strengthen community ties.”

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit

pictured top left: Michaela Stewart

pictured middle right: Greg Locklear and Matt Bunn

pictured bottom left: Kassie Lowe, Bastian Steppin, and Charlie Watts