UMO Honors Longtime Employee Kathy Gardner

UMO Honors Longtime Employee Kathy Gardner

MOUNT OLIVE- The University of Mount Olive (UMO) recently held a retirement reception honoring long-time employee Kathy Gardner. She was presented with a rocking chair, a resolution, and a placard containing signatures and well wishes from her fellow employees.

Gardner was hired on June 1, 1987 to work as an office manager for the Admission’s Department. She held that positon for 15 years, and was promoted in 2002 to Assistant to the President.

Known for her quiet humbleness, positive attitude, and quick wittedness, Gardner’s daily responsibilities ranged from providing support to the President and Executive Council, to answering emails and scheduling interviews. In addition, she served as assistant secretary to the UMO Board of Trustees, keeping official records and coordinating meetings. However, her greatest joy as a UMO employee has been watching students and staff achieve their goals.

“I have loved seeing how excited and proud the graduates are of their achievements,” expressed Gardner. “I have also enjoyed working with faculty, staff, and administrators who truly care about the students and provide their knowledge and expertise to help UMO grow and be successful.”

One of her co-workers, Vice President for Enrollment Tim Woodard, echoed the sentiment. “I have had the pleasure of working with Kathy for almost 30 years,” he said. “I have never met a more well-rounded person.  Kathy is intelligent, funny, neat, spiritual, and most of all a good friend.”

Gardner plans to fill her retirement days with family, friends, and relaxation at the beach. She hopes to volunteer, read, and spoil her grandchildren. She also plans to stay in touch with her UMO work family. A member of First Baptist Church in Mount Olive for 55 years, Gardner will surely remain active in their ministry, where she has served as Associate Director of Sunday school, Deacon, and Church Clerk.

Gardner and her husband, Wayne, have two children, Allison and Jonathan, and his wife, Lisa, and two sons, Nathan and Collin.

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, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online. For more information, visit


Kathy Gardner, seated, is surrounded by family, friends, and current and former coworkers at a reception held in her honor. Gardner retired from UMO on June 30, having worked at the institution for 32 years.