UMO Student Ryne Beddard is Looking Ahead to Graduate School

UMO Student Ryne Beddard is Looking Ahead to Graduate School

MOUNT OLIVE- Ryne Beddard of Washington, North Carolina has exceeded all of his academic expectations at the University of Mount Olive (UMO). A religion major, he has started his final semester and is expected to graduate in May. Now, Beddard is already looking to the future and making plans for graduate school.

Prior to UMO, Beddard completed his associate’s degree at Beaufort County Community College. Afterwards, he searched for a school that would fulfill his passion for religious studies.  He found that institution at the University of Mount Olive, which was also his father, Wesley Beddard’s, alma mater.

“My father really enjoyed his time at Mount Olive, and he helped me in my decision to apply to UMO. However, the most important factor in my decision to attend the University was meeting some of the faculty in the Religion Department,” explained Beddard. “After meeting Dr. Skinner, Dr. Phelps, and later Dr. Yonkers, I knew that Mount Olive was the best fit for me.”

Beddard noted that UMO has been a perfect choice for him. “I’ve always been fascinated by religion, particularly the intersection between religion and philosophy. I have always simply wanted to devote my time to studying what I am passionate about. My experience at UMO has allowed me to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of,” said Beddard.

Last year, Beddard was honored to present at his first academic conference as an undergraduate at the North American Undergraduate Conference at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA. He is already making plans to present at the conference again this year.  Beddard said, “My proposal for the 2015 March Mid-Atlantic regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion at Loyola University in Columbia, MD has been accepted. These conference experiences have prepared me for graduate studies and have given me the confidence to apply to some of the top programs in my field.”

Now, Beddard is looking towards the future and graduate school with the assurance he has gained through his religion courses and conference presentations. Luckily, Beddard has received plenty of help from his Religion Department peers and professors to help him with the process.

“Dr. Phelps, my advisor, has been very helpful in working through the sometimes tedious process of graduate school applications and figuring out which graduate programs would be a good fit for me. I have also been helped tremendously by the support of my fellow religion students, who have become a second family,” said Beddard.

Beddard has already been accepted to the University of Nottingham in England for graduate school next year and applied to seven other graduate programs, including Boston College, the University of Denver, and the University of Toronto to name a few.

In the future, Beddard desires to pursue a career as a college professor and work for a non-profit organization. “My education from UMO is helping to prepare me for a career in the academic world.  I also hope to get involved in some form of non-profit work that focuses on religion, peace, or economic injustice. I am thankful that my studies at Mount Olive have given me both the tools and the confidence to think critically about these kinds of issues.”

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