UMO to Begin Academic Year with Largest Traditional Enrollment in its 66-Year History

UMO to Begin Academic Year with Largest Traditional Enrollment in its 66-Year History

The University of Mount Olive (UMO) is expected to welcome over 1,000 traditional students to campus when classes start Tuesday, August 23.  This will break traditional enrollment records for the institution both in terms of total number of students and in the number of new incoming students.


Director of Admissions Tim Woodard said, “We still have about a month to go, but right now we are looking at 380 new incoming students and 661 returning students.” Over the last 20 years, UMO’s traditional enrollment has grown by 108 percent.  In 1996 the headcount was 493 students.


While the majority of UMO students still hail from North Carolina, the number of out-of-state students has risen to account for 30 percent of the overall traditional student population and at least 25 new international students will call Mount Olive home this year.


At UMO, the cost of tuition and fees with room and board is $26,600 annually, compared to around $19,000 at state supported institutions.  However, 96.9 percent of UMO students receive some sort of financial aid.  This means that on average, UMO students will pay around the same, or even less than they would at a state-supported institution


“Our record enrollment is proof positive that students and their families see the value of a UMO education,” Woodard said.  “By attending UMO, students can get the experience and personal attention of a private college, while paying state-supported prices.”


Another factor responsible for the rise in enrollment is the increased popularity of the University’s Ag-related curriculum. The UMO Agricultural Division has added five bachelor of science degree options, as well as an associate of science degree in agriculture. The new degrees will complement UMO’s existing agricultural education degree program, which prepares students to become agriculture educators and FFA advisors, and the University’s existing Agribusiness degree program.  As a result of the increased offerings and the overall interest in Ag, nearly15 percent of the new incoming students are Ag majors.


“Ag is our fastest growing degree area,” stated Vice President for Enrollment Dr. Barbara Kornegay.  “It is followed closely by education, biology, recreation and leisure studies, and business.”


The new track and field/lacrosse complex is attracting a large number of student athletes.  The University expects to have about 425 student-athletes for the coming year, with approximately 105 of those participating in track & field.  This can be attributed in large measure to the addition of the Ray McDonald, Sr. Track & Field/Lacrosse Complex which will be completed in September.


In addition to the track, new and returning students will find a campus that has undergone significant capital and personnel investment since the spring, including:


·      A completely renovated serving and seating area in cafeteria located in the Holmes and Lois K. Murphy Center

·      A renovated snack bar in Deacon Jones Student Lounge located in W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall

·      Renovations to Laughinghouse Hall to expand the Art Department; this will include the addition of a kiln and several pottery wheels for the Department’s new ceramics offerings

·      Ten new faculty members have been hired across several academic departments

“There is a lot happening at UMO,” said President Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter.  “I continue to be impressed by the way that our various offices have been collaborating and working together on so many important projects and exciting plans for the future.   Our outstanding academic programs, faculty, and student body continue to attract record numbers of prospective students to our campus. As we look to the future, we will continue to look at making investments in new student-centered facilities, especially housing, to accommodate our expanding residential population.  Students want to engage fully in campus life and be part of community, because it’s integral to their education and to their growth as citizens.”


In addition to its traditional program, the University continues to expand its educational opportunities at its other locations throughout the region for nontraditional students using its one-night-a-week degree program format. The University also has seen significant growth in its online degree programs for nontraditional and graduate students.


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