UMO Recognizes Retirees with Over 90 Years of Service

UMO Recognizes Retirees with Over 90 Years of Service

April 24, 2024
Contact:  Rhonda Jessup, Director of Public Relations

MOUNT OLIVE –The University of Mount Olive recently held a dessert reception for two employees with a combined employment history of 91 years at the University.  Director of Library Services Ms. Pam Wood will retire on June 30, ending her 55-year career at UMO.  Dr. K. David Hines, Christian Studies Department Chair, will retire on May 15 after 36 years of service in a variety of roles.

In recognition of the many years of dedicated service by Hines and Wood, University of Mount Olive President Dr. H. Edward Croom presented the two with rocking chairs engraved with the University’s seal.  Friends, family, and coworkers gathered for the celebration and to wish them well on the next chapter in their lives.

Director of Library Services Ms. Pam Wood began her journey with UMO in 1966 when she enrolled as a student at Mount Olive Junior College.

“I first started working in Moye Library, as a cataloger, when I was a freshman,” Wood recalls.  “I enjoyed it so much that after obtaining my associate’s degree, I transferred to Appalachian State University to obtain my library science degree.”

With a love for books and a degree in hand, Wood returned to the college in 1970 to begin her duties as the Assistant Librarian.  She became Head Librarian in September 2003.  It is a position that has matched her skillset and her quiet and dependable nature.

One of her lifelong friends and coworkers, Sonya McCoy Obrien said, “Pam is a consummate professional and lifelong learner. She possesses intellectual curiosity and a willingness to assist students and faculty alike. Her legacy to UMO and to Moye Library is one of dedication and unwavering commitment.  We should all have a friend who is a librarian.”

Wood has been an integral part of the development of Moye Library from some 12,000 book volumes to a library with access to over half a million books, databases, and digital and electronic resources.  When she first started, the card catalog was just that, 3X5 cards in a cabinet with many drawers.  “The cards were filled alphabetically, by author, title, or subject,” she said.  “To check out a book students had to write their name on a card in the back.”  Much has changed since those early years, but one thing has remained…Wood’s steadfast presence.

“In all this change, Pam has made the transitions with the needed skills, knowledge, and absolute dedication to her work for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, and the greater community,” said Wood’s cousin and colleague Gary Barefoot.  “The story of her part in the growth and development of UMO, and especially Moye Library, will be an inspiration and challenge to her successor.”

“Through the years there have been many things I have enjoyed about the work,” Wood said.  “I have made many lifelong relationships that are very important to me.  I will miss building new relationships related to the University, and I will also miss assisting people, especially students, with their library needs.”

Now at age 75, Wood is ready for the next chapter.  “I want to do some volunteer work and become more involved with activities such as Bible study groups,” she said.  “I also look forward to spending more time with friends.”

Christian Studies Department Chair Dr. K. David Hines measures his life in terms of time before and after UMO.   His connection to the institution began during the summer of 1976. A self-professed math geek, Hines had mapped out a course for his future that included attending North Carolina State University to become an engineer.  However, a different directional pull began forming during the summer of his senior year in high school.  He was attending Cragmont Assembly, the Original Free Will Baptist (OFWB) retreat in Black Mountain, NC.

“It was a Tuesday night,” Hines recalled.  “We were gathered in the tabernacle when a group of friends and I started to sing an old Lanny Wolfe song, ‘Whatever it Takes.’  We belted out the lyrics, ‘Whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord that’s what I’ll be willing to do.’

In hearing that song, Hines felt a strong calling towards a career in ministry.  With a new vision, he enrolled at what was then Mount Olive College (MOC) to pursue that ambition.  He had great professors and “legends,” as he called them like Dr. Michael Pelt and Mrs. Lorrelle Martin.  Hines excelled in his studies.  He completed his first two years at MOC and then transferred to Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College, to complete his baccalaureate degree. During his last semester, a professor asked him where he saw himself in ten years.  Hines replied, “One day I am going to chair the MOC Religion Department.”

Every decision that Hines made as a seminary student, and later during his graduate studies, prepared him to become a teacher.  In the fall of 1985, Hines joined MOC as an adjunct professor.  Three years later he became Director of Education for Christian Ministries. In this role, he had the opportunity to meet many OFWB laypeople as he traveled around the State leading workshops, building programs, and attending conferences.  In 1995, Hines became a full-time professor.  “I just loved the classroom,” he said.  “Trying new things and teaching in ways that were a little different from what everybody else was doing has always been a passion of mine.”

“As an educator, you train people to do a skill, but you teach them to think.  Likewise, I have encouraged my students to wrestle with evidence and discern fact from fiction.  I don’t care what a student thinks; rather I care about how they got to that point in their thoughts.  In my classroom, students have to earn the right to an opinion.”

Being empathic is another gift that has served Hines well.  “I try to understand a struggling student and find a way to connect.” Being concerned over the spiritual formation of a student is a skill that he credits to former colleague Tyanna Yonkers.  “When I first started teaching, I wanted students to know how smart I was.  Now, as I finish out my career back in the

classroom, I am more interested in them knowing I seek to be a Godly person.”

Beyond his time as a professor, Hines’ 36-year career at UMO has included the roles of Chair of the Religion Department, Assistant to the President, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

“As an administrator, I think the most effective thing I was able to do was build a really strong Academic Affairs team of deans and directors,” he said.  “To me, the real strength of a leader is in building a team of complementary people who can challenge and push you to think. I can also figure out how to get things done.  Give me the raw material, let me know the outcome, and I will figure out a way to get there.”

Entering retirement Hines looks forward to spending more time with his family, skiing, reading, boating, traveling, using his God-given musical gifts, and serving the Gum Swamp OFWB Church Family.  Hines has been married to the love of his life, Teresa Kelly Hines, for 44 years this June.  The couple are the proud parents of a daughter, Ashley, who is married to their son-in-law, Orlando Rodriguez.  Their pride and joy is their six-year-old granddaughter, Elliott.

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