UMO Student Pursues Education after Military Career

UMO Student Pursues Education after Military Career

JACKSONVILLE- At 54 years old, Jose Quesada is gearing up to graduate from the University of Mount Olive (UMO) with a degree in criminal justice in May of 2015. Despite his age and busy schedule, Quesada, a Jacksonville resident from Ponce, Puerto Rico, is reaching educational achievements that he never thought possible.


Prior to his college career, Quesada was a Marine and was stationed at New River Air Station for five years. During his time in the Marines, he achieved numerous honors as a wrestler, including the All Marine Wrestler Award.


After his time in the military, Quesada’s educational journey began at Coastal Carolina Community College, where he earned an A.A.S. in criminal justice. His passion for the criminal justice field then led him to the University of Mount Olive in 1998. However, life happened, as it often does, and Quesada had to put a hold on his educational pursuit while he continued to work.


Now, 15 years after first enrolling at UMO, Quesada is once again pursuing his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  “I decided returned to school, because I wanted to get a strong education and to be able to compete with the younger generation out in the work force,” explained Quesada. “Criminal justice is a field that will always be needed and UMO is noted for having a great Criminal Justice Department.”


During his time at UMO at Jacksonville, Quesada has enjoyed the educational process and variety of course options. “I have had both online and seated courses,” he said. “Online courses have been great with my heavy work schedule, but I enjoy seated classes because of the inspiring instruction and great adult interaction.”


Apart from the classroom, Quesada juggles working at AT&T. He also uses his wrestling expertise by teaching boxing and mix martial arts at Combat Club Fitness Center.


After graduating from UMO Quesada plans to pursue his master’s degree in human services counseling and criminal justice from Liberty University. He would then like to teach at the collegiate level.  Quesada is excited for his future and attributes his educational success to UMO. “The degree that I am soon to achieve has made me more marketable, and I am excited for what my future holds,” said Quesada.


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