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University of Mount Olive

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The University of Mount Olive is a private liberal arts institution located in Mount Olive, North Carolina. Chartered in 1951, the University is sponsored by the Original Free Will Baptist Convention.[4] The University's roots and educational philosophy can be traced as early as 1897 when Free Will Baptists in Pitt County, North Carolina, citing a growing need for education in the community, led a discourse on education within the church. These efforts ultimately resulted in the founding of the FWB Theological Seminary and its successor institution, Eureka College, both in Ayden, North Carolina, to educate ministers and provide a liberal arts education to the local constituency. After a catastrophic fire destroyed the administration building in 1931, Eureka College ceased operations, and the Free Will Baptist church’s efforts to fulfill its educational vision were reinvested in the founding of Mount Olive Junior College. The name was changed to Mount Olive College in 1970 and later developed into a senior college granting its first baccalaureate degrees in 1986.[5][6] In January 2014 the name was changed to the University of Mount Olive, and the university began offering its first master-level graduate degrees.

University of Mount Olive
University of Mount Olive Seal 2017.png
Official Seal of University of Mount Olive
Former names

Mount Allen Junior College (1951–1956)
Mount Olive Junior College (1956–1970)

Mount Olive College (1970–2013)
Motto Collegium Christianum Pro Homnibus et Mulieribus (Latin)[1]
Motto in English
A Christian College for Men and Women
Type Private
Established 1951
Affiliation Original Free Will Baptists[2]
Endowment US$26.29million (2017)[3]
President Dr. David L. Poole
Academic staff
348 (full time and adjunct)
Undergraduates 3,250
Location Mount Olive, North Carolina, USA
Colors Green and White
Athletics 21 Varsity Teams
Conference Carolinas
NCAA NCAA Division 2
Nickname Trojans
University of Mount Olive Official Logo

Mount Olive is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. A member of the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas, its sports teams compete as the Mount Olive Trojans.




Cragmont Assembly, Black Mountain, North Carolina, location of the college's campus from 1952-53.

From its inception as a junior college, the University of Mount Olive has been sponsored by the Original Free Will Baptist Convention. The institution was chartered in 1951 and opened in 1952 at Cragmont Assembly, the Free Will Baptist summer retreat grounds near Black Mountain, North Carolina, under the direction of the Reverend Lloyd Vernon. The school was originally called Mount Allen Junior College, taking its name from the mountain near Cragmont.


In September 1953, the College moved to Mount Olive, North Carolina, nearer the center of denominational strength in the eastern section of the state. Under the leadership of the Reverend David W. Hansley, Chairman of the Board of Directors, plans were made to develop a junior college offering programs in arts and sciences and in business. The Reverend W. Burkette Raper was elected president in the summer of 1954, and in September the college began its first collegiate year with an enrollment of twenty-two students.

First campus building in Mount Olive, North Carolina.

In 1956, the name "Mount Allen Junior College" was changed to "Mount Olive Junior College". In that same year, plans were launched for an enlarged campus which today consists of 250 acres. In September 1970, the college's name was officially changed to "Mount Olive College."


In 1977, the Original Free Will Baptist Convention requested that the Board of Trustees of Mount Olive College work aggressively toward making the college a four-year institution. The 1979 session of the convention endorsed the projected timetable set by the college's Board of Trustees to add the junior year in 1984 and the senior year in 1985.

In 1975, the college began an educational program in Goldsboro, North Carolina at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

In 1986, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges officially accredited Mount Olive College as a four-year institution to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

Aerial view comparisons of the main campus (Top to Bottom: circa 1980, 2012)


Since its founding, the University of Mount Olive has expanded into the following areas: Goldsboro at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (1975), New Bern (1993), Wilmington (1995), Research Triangle Park (1997), Washington (2005), Jacksonville (2009), in Smithfield at Johnston Community College (2006), and online (2012).

In the fall of 1994, the transfer of all operations to the Mount Olive campus was completed, and the original downtown campus was sold.

In January 1995, the Board of Trustees selected J. William Byrd as the third president. Dr. Byrd assumed the duties of office on January 31 and was inaugurated on September 30.

In April 2009, the Board of Trustees selected Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter as the fourth president. Dr. Kerstetter assumed the duties of office on July 1.

In 2011, Mount Olive College celebrated its 60th anniversary.

In December 2013, Mount Olive College announced an official name change to the University of Mount Olive as of January 1, 2014.

In April 2018, the Board of Trustees selected Dr. David L. Poole as the fifth president. Dr. Poole assumed the duties of office on July 1.


The University has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, in Fayetteville at the Partnership for Children, and Online.

Main CampusEdit

250 acres


Fourth of July fireworks over University of Mount Olive Rodgers Chapel.
  • Rodgers Chapel, located in the center of the campus, serves as the primary facility for the university's religious and cultural activities.
  • Communications Building, completed in 2006, is home to the information technology infrastructure and delivery systems that link all of the university's locations together.
  • Alumni Cross Walk, completed in 2000, the cross walk was constructed using bricks from the original campus building in downtown Mount Olive. In the center of the cross walk is the Nido and Mariana Qubein Garden House. The garden house shelters the cornerstone and bell from the original campus.
    Nido and Mariana Qubein Garden House.
  • Henderson Hall, completed in 1965, is the oldest building on what is now the main campus. It is home to faculty offices and classrooms.
  • Laughinghouse Hall, houses the Department of Fine Arts.
  • J. William and Marvis E. "Marcy" Byrd Building, formerly Mount Olive High School until 1965. Houses the Department of Music, Hazel Waters Kornegay Historic Assembly Hall, and Byrd Apartments.
  • Moye Library, completed in 1968.
  • W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall (Raper Hall), completed in 2006, houses the Tillman School of Business, the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, and the Department of Science and Mathematics. Included in this building are the Mount Olive Pickle Conference Center and Southern Bank Auditorium.
  • Poole Administration Building, houses the offices of the President, Admissions and Financial Aid, and Bookstore.
  • Waylin Centre, houses the Registrar's Office, the Evening College, and Business Office.
  • Kornegay Arena, contains classrooms for physical education and athletics facilities for the campus and community.
  • Holmes and Lois K. Murphy Center, houses the dining hall, meeting facilities, and Student Development.
  • Pope Wellness Center, is an expansion to the University's athletics and fitness facilities.
  • Criminal Justice and Nursing Faculty Offices
  • Greenhouse
  • Goodson and Wells Building, houses facilities maintenance and agricultural mechanics shop
  • Golf Practice Facility
  • Lacrosse Practice Field
  • Ray McDonald, Sr. Track and Field/Lacrosse Complex
  • Big Rock Tournament Field House
  • Dr. H. Don Scott Outdoor Classroom
  • Academic Affairs Building
  • Campus Safety
  • Softball Fieldhouse and Nancy Chapman Cassell Field
  • Scarborough Field
  • Moore-Williams Fieldhouse
  • Fitness by Design Fitness Garden
  • Arboretum
  • Ray and Chris Amon Field
  • John Neal Walker Tennis Center
  • The George R. Kornegay, Jr. Student Farm
  • Donnie and Linda Lassiter Agricultural Campus

Residence HallsEdit

Juniors and seniors can choose to live off campus or in the residence halls designated for upperclassmen, but all freshman and sophomores in the University's traditional program must live in campus housing. The university's residence facilities can accommodate up to 650 students.

J. William and Marvis E. "Marcy" Byrd Apartment Complex
  • Annie Mae Whitfield Hall and Everett Edwin Herring Hall, completed in 2009, the complex provides apartment accommodations for mostly upperclassmen.
  • College Apartments, housing provided to upperclassmen who meet specified criteria, accommodates 56 residents.
  • King-Hart-Griffin Residence Halls Complex, the women's residence halls complex, houses 130 students.
  • Grantham Hall, the men's residence hall, houses 126 students.
  • The Inn Residence Hall houses 137 residents and offers housing for males and females.
  • J. William and Marvis E. "Marcy" Byrd Apartment Complex, provides accommodations to students in both one- and two-bedroom apartments. Originally built in 1925, the facility is listed under the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The Station Street Commons was completed in 2015 and features apartment style housing with full kitchen amenities. The first stage of this project opened with two buildings, A & B, with plans the complete the last three apartment buildings for a fall 2018 opening date.

Renovations and expansionsEdit

• The $2 million expansion of Rodgers Chapel on the University of Mount Olive campus is well on its way, and should be completed by the spring of 2018. Once completed, the 6,000 square feet Chapel expansion will form a pivotal campus landmark, enhancing student life while serving as a powerful symbol of the University of Mount Olive’s identity. New construction will add classrooms, faculty and staff offices for the Department of Religion including the Barrow Chair and the Campus Chaplain, and the Office of Church Relations. There will also be two classrooms, a seminar room, a multi-purpose room, and a small kitchen /coffee bar. A prayer garden in the center of the new space will provide a place for mediation and reflection.

• Three additional residence halls in the Station Street Commons complex are set to begin construction as early as the fall of 2017. This will provide occupancy for an additional 100 students at a cost of $3 million. Anticipated completion by August 2018.

• New administrative building to house Admissions, Financial Aid and Registrar. This facility will include a counter for information and ‘one stop’ student service at a cost of $1.1 million and should be completed by early 2019.

Organization and administrationEdit

The University of Mount Olive educates over 4,000 students per year, making the University one of the fastest-growing liberal arts institutions in the state of North Carolina. The average classroom size is 15 students.

The University is governed by a 30-member Board of Trustees with five members being elected each year to a six-year term. At least 18 of the Trustees are members in good standing in churches affiliated with the Original Free Will Baptist Convention. The President of the Convention serves as an ex officio member of the Board.


The University of Mount Olive is a member of NCAA Division II and the Conference Carolinas. The University has intercollegiate teams in the women’s sports of lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, cross country, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and softball, as well as in the men’s sports of lacrosse, track and field, volleyball, cross country, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and baseball. Cheerleading is offered as a co-ed sport. The athletics offices are located in Kornegay Arena. For more information, visit


University rankings
Washington Monthly[8] 306 [7]
U.S. News & World Report[10] 51 [9]

Admissions profileEdit

Fall 2016 applicants:

  • Male – 39%
  • Female – 61%
  • Students from North Carolina – 91%
  • International students – 3%
  • Average SAT score - Reading – 530
  • Average SAT score - Math – 555
  • Average ACT score - Composite – 20
  • Students receiving financial aid – 81%


The University of Mount Olive has a student-faculty ratio of 14:1. Eighty-four percent of full-time faculty members hold terminal degrees.

Majors and minorsEdit

Library systemEdit

Moye Library is named for Reverend and Mrs. J. C. Moye who were active in the Free Will Baptist denomination. In 2006, the library facilities were expanded with the completion of the companion Communications Building. The first floor of the facility houses the reference desk, reference collection, periodicals collection, the Everett Room, the Sawyer Room, and most staff offices. The Circulation Desk is located on the first floor of the main lobby joining the Communications Building and Moye Library.[11]

Moye Library
Established 1968
Location Mount Olive, North Carolina
Size 100,000+ volumes
Access and use
Population served 4,000 students & 260 faculty (full-time and adjunct)
Other information
Director Pamela R. Wood

The library's special collections include:

  • The Free Will Baptist Historical Collection,[12] a separate library on the history of the Free Will Baptist denomination.
  • The University Archives Collection,[13] dedicated to the preservation of materials of and about the university for use by the general public.
  • The Jacques Hnizdovsky Collection,[14] a collection of woodcuts and other prints by the Ukrainian artist, Jacques Hnizdovsky. This is the largest collection of his works in the world.

In addition to the facilities and resources provided directly to its student and faculty population, Moye Library has established cooperative agreements with libraries (both academic and public) in the surrounding areas to allow resources subject to their local regulations. Current cooperative agreements have been established with the following institutions:

Campus lifeEdit

Student organizationsEdit

The University of Mount Olive offers a wide variety of student organizations, including arts and culture organizations, performance groups, sports groups, and religious organizations.

Campus Activity Board (CAB)

The Campus Activity Board is responsible for planning activity events on the campus. This student led group is advised by the Director of Student Activities and works hard to provide weekly programs for the campus. On-campus events have included hypnotist, comedians, concerts, bingo, trivia night, carnivals, and sponsored trips that have visited: Orlando, New York City, Costa Rica, Great Britain, France, and Italy.

Student governmentEdit

A single governing body represents students at Mount Olive:

  • Student Government Association (SGA)

Religious lifeEdit

While the University of Mount Olive is affiliated with the Original Free Will Baptist Church, it welcomes students of other faiths and denominations. The university was principally founded on providing an education that allowed students to explore their faith through a liberal arts education.


Alma materEdit

The alma mater, written by Daniel W. Fagg, Jr., former academic dean and professor of social sciences, and set to music by Eugene S. Mauney, professor of music, was first published in the college's annual yearbook Olive Leaves in 1958.[15]

Daniel W. Fagg, Jr., former academic dean and professor of social sciences, author of the Mount Olive College Alma Mater.

Hail, Mount Olive, Alma Mater,

endless years shall crown thy head;
praise we then our great Creator,
who through all the years shall lead.

May thy torch of truth grow brighter

still supplied with light divine;
strong, and clear, and ever burning;
on the path of wisdom shine.

Alma Mater, Our dear mother,

honored ever, honored now;
courage, faith and love devoted,
be the laurels on thy brow.

O, Mount Olive, how we love thee,

Dowered with thy fost’ring care;
kindest heaven smile upon thee,
God exalt and keep thee fair.[16]


° The Reverend Lloyd Vernon - First President (1952-1954)

° Dr. W. Burkette Raper – Second President (1954–1995)

° Dr. J. William Byrd – Third President (1995–2009)

° Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter - Fourth President (2009–2018)

° Dr. David L. Poole - Fifth President (2018-present)

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Raper, W. Burkette (2001). A Short History of Mount Olive College. 1. Mount Olive College Press. pp. 36–37. The college was also designed to be an outreach of the Church in Christian higher education to people of other religious faiths, and to those of no religious faith...In its second catalog (1954-1955) published for the first year of operation in Mount Olive, the College was given a motto, "A Christian College for Men and Women," which was amplified in these words: "The objective of the College is to train and educate young men and women for Christian life and service, thus preparing them for useful vocations and successful living in the home, the church, the school, the community, and the world." ...The founders believed that a Christian liberal arts college would provide the kind of education that was most consistent with a basic belief of Original Free Will Baptists, namely that freedom of the will and the responsibility for making free choices... the founders deliberately avoided establishing a college whose mode of instruction would be indoctrination. They wished to avoid those narrow concepts of dogmatism that might lead Original Free Will Baptists toward becoming a sect or cult...The decision of purpose and philosophy of education was probably the most significant one in the history of Mount Olive College. It would bring the College severe criticism and even hostile opposition from certain persons who either did not understand the basic purpose of education or the historic faith and heritage of Original Free Will Baptists. 
  2. ^ "History of Mount Olive College". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Mount Olive College; Regional Colleges (South) #51; US News". U.S.News & World Report LP. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  4. ^ "History of Mount Olive College". Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  5. ^ Pelt, Michael, A History of Ayden Seminary and Eureka College, pp. 3–6 
  6. ^ Pelt, Michael, A History of Ayden Seminary and Eureka College, pp. 17–18 
  7. ^ Washington Monthly Baccalaureate Colleges 2012 Archived 2013-09-06 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  8. ^ "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Bachelors". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ US News & World Report Regional Colleges (South) Rankings. Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
  10. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Moye Library - About Us". Mount Olive College. Archived from the original on 2013-10-27. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Mount Olive College. "Free Will Baptist Historical Collection". Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  13. ^ Mount Olive College. "College Archives Collection". Archived from the original on 2013-09-29. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Mount Olive College. "The Jacques Hnizdovsky Collection". Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  15. ^ Olive Leaves. 1958. Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ Fagg, Jr., Daniel W. "Origins of Mount Olive Junior College: College Seals and School Songs". Mount Olive College. Retrieved 1 July 2013. [permanent dead link]

External linksEdit