University of Mount Olive Celebrates Founding

University of Mount Olive Celebrates Founding


MOUNT OLIVE- The University of Mount Olive celebrated 64 years of providing Christian higher education at the University’s annual Founders Day Worship Service on Tuesday.  The event featured a conversation between Rose M. Raper, former first lady of Mount Olive College from 1954 to 1995, and Jean F. Ackiss, director of Church Relations, an employee of UMO for the past 50 years.  The conversation was moderated by Gary F. Barefoot, curator of the Free Will Baptist Historical Collection/University Archives about their recollections of the University through the past several decades.


Each year during the Founders Day celebration, the University awards one student with the Founders Leadership Award, a scholarship awarded in memory of the late Dr. W. Burkette Raper, president of Mount Olive College 1954-1995. Payable on future educational expenses at the University of Mount Olive, the scholarship is presented to a senior in the traditional program who has distinguished him/herself as an individual of character and initiative and who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities toward making UMO the institution of Christian higher education envisioned by its founders. The recipient is selected by a committee of faculty, student and staff representatives.


This year’s Founders Leadership Award was presented to Emily Shaw, a senior English major from Arizona.  Shaw is involved in numerous ways around campus. She is a writing coach, supplemental instruction leader for online and seated sessions, and the Public Relations student intern. Shaw is also the co-president for Sigma Tau Delta and the vice president for the Honors leadership council. She has made a great impact athletically representing the University on the cross country and track and field teams. Shaw is the team captain for the women’s cross country team and distance squad during the track season. After graduation in May of 2016, Shaw hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s degree in communication.


For the final portion of the Founder’s Day service, President Philip P. Kerstetter recognized 32 faculty and staff members for their continued dedicated efforts.  He presented each service award recipient with a gift and a certificate.


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

(L-R)  Jean F. Ackiss, Gary F. Barefoot, and Rose M. Raper shared their recollections of the University over the past several decades.

This year’s Founders Leadership Award was presented to Emily Shaw, a senior English major from Arizona.

UMO Service Award Recipients  (L-R)  Back Row:  Jeff Eisen 10 years, Jason Sherrer 5 years, Phil Carden 10 years, Neal Cox 5 years, Chris Skinner 5 years, and Robert Watson 5 years.  Middle Row:  Cheryl Hooks 20 years, Nancy Westfall 20 years, Lenard Moore 10 years, Carol Carrere 15 years, Jaime Myers 10 years, Carmen Oates 5 years, Amanda Holland 5 years, Lisa Nuesell 5 years, Lita Ward 10 years, and Paul Cwik 10 years.  Front Row:  Tyanna Yonkers 20 years, Bob Murray 10 years, Annette Harper 5 years, Jean Ackiss 50 years, Khalid Dubas, Guy Bradbury 5 years, and Kevin Coghill 5 years.  Not pictured:  Aaron Carver 5 years, Glenn Coffey 5 years, Ken Eubanks 5 years, Twana Scott 5 years, Dan Sullivan 5 years, Terri Grice 15 years, Wendy Lee 15 years, David Bourgeois 20 years, and Pam Wood 45 years.