Strong and Steady Wins the Race

MOUNT OLIVE – If awards for patience and perseverance were going to be given out at University of Mount Olive’s August Commencement, Stephanie Marshburn of Greenville should be in line to receive one.  In 2004, Stephanie decided to enroll in the Heritage Program at University of Mount Olive at Washington to earn her associate’s degree.

“I knew that if I wanted to go anywhere in my career that I needed to finish what I had started,” she said. “I also knew that I would regret it if I didn’t complete this milestone.”

For a year, Marshburn sought her degree with full force.  In 2006, she and her husband, Tim, found out they were expecting their first child.  Due to complications, she had to drop out of school.  Their first child, Parker, a little boy, was born nine weeks early.  “For the first two years of his life, we focused solely on him, his development, his social skills, and everything else that comes with being new parents of a preemie.”  Three years later, their second child, Sianna, a little girl, was born–seven weeks early.  Amazingly, Marshburn and both children are doing well.  “And it’s only by God’s grace!” she admits.

Through all of this, in the back of her mind, she knew she wanted to finish her degree, but just didn’t have the time to focus or commit to the studies without sacrificing time with her children.  When she approached her husband about going back to school he was behind her 100 percent.

“We both knew it would be a struggle with two children and full-time jobs, but I was committed to finishing, and he was committed to helping me in whatever way he could to make it happen.”

University of Mount Olive’s Heritage Program appealed to Marshburn because it fit with her busy schedule and lifestyle. “I have been able to attend school one night a week, or online. Although the work was accelerated…it still gave me time to be home with my family and spend valuable time with them.”

She credits University of Mount Olive with giving her the foundation that she needs to succeed in any future avenues that she may pursue. “The education that I have received here has formed me into a stronger and more confident person. I know there is nothing that I can’t achieve.”  With ultimate plans to work in healthcare, she intends on enrolling in more classes after graduation.

University of Mount Olive will graduate approximately 250 students at its 58th commencement on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  Graduation exercises are scheduled for 2:00 PM. in the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena.  The commencement speaker will be the Honorable Louis Pate, North Carolina Senator.

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