University of Mount Olive to Celebrate 60th Anniversary

MOUNT OLIVE – The 2011-2012 academic year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of University of Mount Olive.  The College is celebrating with a year of events aimed at drawing attention to the institution’s history and heritage.  The theme for the anniversary celebration is “A Broadening Vision,” derived from President Philip P. Kerstetter’s inauguration speech in 2010.

“Our 60th anniversary is an exciting and important milestone; we invite alumni, supporters, family, and friends to join our events honoring our past and celebrating our present and future,” Kerstetter commented.

On November 3, the College will hold its Founders Day Anniversary celebration in Kornegay Arena starting at 10 AM with a reception, followed by the program at 11 AM.  Dr. A. Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, will give the keynote address.

On November 4, at 7:30 PM in Southern Bank Auditorium the University of Mount Olive Music Department will deliver a 60th Anniversary Concert.  The event will feature the University of Mount Olive Concert Choir performing a newly commissioned work in observance of the College’s founding.  Composer Kurt Erickson has written three choral settings of poems by David Rigsbee, award-winning poet and MOC professor. The songs will be performed with piano and cello accompaniment.

The University of Mount Olive Symphonic Band will perform works by Sigfrid Karg-Elert, James Curnow, Jack End and John Zdechlik.

The College plans to end the two-day celebration in a grand way.  At the close of the Friday night concert Hale Artificer Fireworks Display will light up the night on the campus.

“We wanted to plan something that the University of Mount Olive family and the community could remember,” said Dan Sullivan, vice president for Student Development.  “And, who doesn’t love fireworks?”

Events on November 3-4 are free and the public is invited to attend.  Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair for the fireworks.  Cocoa and s’mores will be served.

Other events for the year-long celebration include, among other activities, a community Christmas Candlelight Celebration on November 29, a Homecoming celebration on November 18-19, music performances, art displays, lectures and much more scheduled throughout the fall 2011 and spring 2012 semesters.

Also, throughout the year, the College will have a variety of displays around campus depicting various elements of the institution’s history.  A presentation of College catalogs and a display highlighting the four presidents who have served the institution are currently on exhibition in the Communications Building.  Yearbooks dating back to the early years of the College are on display in Henderson Building.

“This will be a year of celebration not only for the University of Mount Olive family but also for eastern North Carolina, as we celebrate the mission and longevity of this incredible institution,” said Kerstetter.

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville.  For more information, visit