UMO Appoints Four New Board of Trustees Members

UMO Appoints Four New Board of Trustees Members

October 3, 2023 

Contact: Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations 

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive has appointed four new members to the Board of Trustees: Robert “Bob” Johnson, Shane Smith, Jody Tyson, and The Reverend Dr. Josh Whitfield.  Johnson will fill an unexpired term ending in 2025, while Smith, Tyson, and Whitfield will serve six-year terms ending in 2029.   

Robert C. “Bob” Johnson of Rose Hill, NC, is the son of House of Raeford Farms’ founder Marvin Johnson.  He now serves as President and CEO of the company.  Under Johnson’s leadership, House of Raeford has consistently been one of the nation’s ten largest chicken producers and ranks as one of the leading revenue-producing companies in North Carolina. 

Johnson strongly believes in giving back to the communities where House of Raeford operates through monetary and product donations, as well as personal involvement.  As part of this outreach, a 2009 vision of Johnson’s has led to the founding of FLOCK (Faithful Love Offering for Christ’s Kingdom), a non-profit charitable organization focused on youth development, feeding the hungry, and supporting mental health and addiction recovery programs. 

Johnson is a graduate of Louisburg College.  He and his wife, Luanne, a 2005 alumna of Mount Olive College, have three children all of whom are active in the family business.  The Johnsons are active members of First Baptist Church in Rose Hill, NC. 

Shane S. Smith is President and Chief Executive Officer for Smithfield Foods.   

In this role, he guides the leading protein company’s vision and strategic direction across operations in the United States, Europe and Mexico with a special focus on unlocking the value in its vertically integrated business model.  

Since joining the company in 2003, Smith has held a variety of leadership roles in Smithfield’s U.S. and international operations. He most recently served as chief strategy officer, leading the company’s organic and M&A growth initiatives. In that role, Smith was also directly responsible for the company’s Hog Production business; Smithfield Renewables, the platform that unifies its carbon reduction and clean energy ventures; and Smithfield’s European and Mexican operations. He was promoted to director of financial reporting in 2008 and to international controller for Smithfield’s international business in 2010. In this role, Mr. Smith managed Smithfield’s financial operations in Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Spain. From 2012 until 2018, he served as vice president and chief financial officer, Smithfield Europe, and as president, Smithfield Romania. In 2019, Mr. Smith became executive vice president of European operations. 

A North Carolina native, Smith is a graduate of Mount Olive College and the College of William & Mary. He and his wife, Kimberly, live in Virginia. 

Jody C. Tyson of Arba, NC, is the co-owner of Taylor-Tyson Funeral Service.  He has worked with the business since high school and acquired principal ownership at the young age of 23. Tyson is a member of the NC Funeral Directors Association and has served on its Board of Directors.  In 2005, he was a Gubernatorial Appointee to the NC Board of Funeral Service in and was elected Secretary of the Board. 

Outside of his profession, Tyson has served in many civic capacities, including as a member of the Greene County Board of Elections, Greene County Chamber of Commerce, and Greene County Board of Health, where he currently serves as Vice-Chairman.  Notably, Tyson was appointed to the NC Lottery Commission and served from 2012-2022, where he was Chairman of the Operations and Personnel Committee.  Tyson was the first member of the Commission to serve two complete terms and achieved the benchmark of the longest-serving Commissioner since the inception of the NC Education Lottery. 

Tyson is a graduate of Fayetteville Technical Community College and Mount Olive College.  He is a lifelong member of Hull Road Original Free Will Baptist Church in Snow Hill, NC, having served as a Deacon and Assistant Clerk.  He currently attends LaGrange First OFWB Church in LaGrange, NC. 

The Reverend Dr. Joshua M. Whitfield was born and raised in Southern Wayne County, just outside of Mount Olive in the Indian Springs Township. He is a graduate of Wayne Community College, North Carolina State University, and Campbell University Divinity School. He completed a Clinical Pastoral Education chaplain residency program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in 2018.   

Whitfield has served the Original Free Will Baptist denomination on the Convention Executive committee and on the Executive Committee for the Ministerial Association. Prior to becoming the Senior Pastor at Stoney Creek, he served three other churches in Eastern North Carolina in pastoral and interim roles. He married his Cragmont sweetheart Allison in 2003 and they have two children, Jack and Abby. As an Eagle Scout, Whitfield volunteers with the Boy Scouts of America and spends time camping with his son. He loves watching his daughter dance and play the piano and watching his son run track and cross country for South Lenoir High School. In his spare time, he enjoys a good book, yardwork, and playing golf. 

“The University is pleased to welcome such distinguished members to its Board of Trustees,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom.  “Their professional expertise, community involvement, and unwavering service to others will be an asset to the University for years to come.”    

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values.  The University is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.  For more information, visit  

Josh Whitfield

Shane Smith

Jody Tyson

Robert Johnson