MOUNT OLIVE — The University of Mount Olive Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center recently celebrated its 15th anniversary with a banquet and awards ceremony. During the event, agriculture education and agribusiness students shared information on curriculum advancement, instructional development, internships, student organizations, and community service projects. They also discussed future opportunities and projections. Over 200 people attended the event held in Kornegay Arena.
“The students of our agriculture programs and our Collegiate FFA wanted to take this opportunity to recognize and give thanks to the individuals and agribusinesses that have made the growth of the agriculture programs here at the University of Mount Olive a reality” stated Dr. Sandy Maddox, director of the Agribusiness Center. “There is no way to individually recognize everyone that has provided support to our programs, but hopefully this banquet helps to show our appreciation.”
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of 10 Honorary Collegiate FFA degrees given to individuals who have provided life-changing experiences for students and members of the University of Mount Olive Collegiate FFA program. The awards were presented to:
• UMO President Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter was recognized as one of CFFA’s biggest champions on campus. “He is always available to speak to groups, is a team player and a supporter of all students at UMO,” remarked student presenter Jackson Pickard.
• UMO Campus Chaplain Carla Williamson was recognized for her support of all things CFFA, including making annual donations to the Coats for Kids Program.
• UMO Facility Coordinator Ken Eubanks was given accolades for his cooperation and coordination of agricultural related events on campus.
• UMO Grounds Supervisor Terry Simmons accepted the Award on behalf of the UMO Maintenance Department. “Anytime there is something that needs to be done, the only question that is asked is, ‘How can we help?” The maintenance staff is a great group of people to work with,” said Pickard.
• UMO Director of Public Relations Rhonda Jessup accepted the award for the Offices of Public Relations and Marketing. “We call on these offices all the time,” Pickard said. “They help us with banners, flyers, invitations, news releases, photographs, and so much more.”
• Donnie and Linda Lassiter were given the Honorary Collegiate FFA Membership Award for their significant and continued support of the agriculture programs at UMO over the past several years, including gifts which have been beneficial in the development of the George R. Kornegay, Jr. Farm on the Donnie and Linda Lassister Agricultural Campus.
• Case IH Dealer Stuart Jennings with B & S Enterprises was recognized for helping to establish a tractor loaner program in which his Case IH dealership provides a tractor for use at the George R. Kornegay, Jr. Student Farm.
• North Carolina FFA Association Coordinator Jason Davis was honored for his willingness to always share his wisdom and advice. “He has served as a guest speaker for many of our courses and never hesitates to help others excel,” said student presenter Preston Brown.
• Rouse Ivey with Ivey Farms was awarded the Honorary FFA Degree for his helpfulness in working with the Ag Division as it develops and fulfills plans for the George R. Kornegay, Jr. Student Farm.
• UMO Alumnus Ashley Barnes with Barnes Equipment Company was recognized for his contributions of equipment and his support and confidence in the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at UMO.
In closing Senior Preston Brown asked, “How many other university banquets have you been to that are conducted completely by its students? We are given opportunities that others are not. Sometimes we are not certain that we can achieve them, but somehow we always do. That is growth. This University has transformed us into agriculturists and taught us many life skills to be used in our future careers. We are appreciative of our faculty, of the leadership, and of the many supporters like those we recognized here tonight. Without you, this program would not be what it is today.”