University of Mount Olive Celebrates Founding

MOUNT OLIVE- Today, University of Mount Olive (MOC) honored 39 employees and celebrated 61 years of providing Christian higher education at the College’s annual Founders Day Worship Service.
Alumnus Wesley Beddard, dean of instruction at Beaufort Community College, delivered the keynote address.  “So what did those pioneers of faith seek to do in 1951 for University of Mount Olive?” he asked.  “They wanted to transform the lives of students and transform the future of the OFWB Church by starting a college, even though they had little money, little expertise, and no campus; they had a vision—a vision of what a college could do in the lives of young people, a vision of what the College could do to prepare those called into the Christian ministry, and a vision of what a college could do for its denomination.  I don’t think the church leaders thought much about this in the early 1950’s, but some citizens in this area, like Dr. C.C. Henderson, also had a vision for what this College could do in this community. Today – 61 years later, we celebrate the vision of those pioneers and strive to keep building on the foundation they laid.”
During the event Magdiel Fuentes of Magnolia and Jennifer Floyd of Hope Mills were awarded the Founders Leadership Award, a scholarship awarded in memory of the late Dr. W. Burkette Raper, president of University of Mount Olive 1954-1995. The award was established in honor and memory of those who with vision and leadership initiated the founding of University of Mount Olive in 1951 and those who in subsequent years have provided extraordinary leadership through dedicated services, leadership, and support for the advancement of the College.
In one of the nominations for Magdiel Fuentes, the staff member wrote, “Mr. Magdiel has demonstrated excellence, maturity, service, and leadership in everything that he does.   He has been a role model for many other students, and people on campus know that they can rely on him to fulfill his commitments and responsibilities.  He has demonstrated initiative in reaching out and engaging the opportunities that are afforded students at University of Mount Olive.  Magdiel embodies that ideal of a fully engaged student who has made a difference.”
In the nominating Jennifer Floyd for the award, a faculty member wrote, “Jennifer is a student with remarkable aptitude, character, and work ethic.  Her ability to combine focused excellence with a broad range of interests sets her apart from her peers.  A member of the women’s varsity soccer team, Jennifer has been able to maintain a demanding athletic schedule while continuing to thrive in the classroom.  She is very popular among her peers and is deeply committed to maintaining strong interpersonal relationships. I am absolutely convinced that the combination of intelligence, intrinsic motivation, and character that have made her an exceptional student at University of Mount Olive will contribute to her success as a medical student.”
Also during the service Dan Sullivan, vice president for Student Affairs, presented the Community Service Project Award to Justin Roe’s ADV 100 class for putting forth the most impressive effort in the area of community service.  Sullivan indicated that this year all University of Mount Olive freshmen, through their ADV 100 first year seminar course, were required to work collaboratively in groups to identify, organize and implement a community service project.
During the past semester students combined their efforts to provide more than 500 hours of community service to various areas including: cards and letters to active duty service personnel, bingo and crafts with nursing homes, volunteering in middle schools, canned food drives, cleaning playgrounds, donations for the animal shelter, fundraisers for a church roof, golf tournament for Susan G. Komen Foundation, Operation Christmas Child, and packing 10,000 meals to combat world hunger.
 For the final portion of the service, President Philip P. Kerstetter recognized faculty and staff for their continued dedicated efforts.  He presented each service award recipient with a gift engraved with the College seal.
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, Jacksonville, and Washington.  For more information, visit