MOUNT OLIVE — Mount Olive College President Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter announced that effective Jan. 1, 2014, the college will officially become the University of Mount Olive. The name change was recommended by the administration and approved by the Board of Trustees at the December meeting.
“The timing is right to take on the title of university,” said trustee chairman Darrell Horne. “The elevation from Mount Olive College to the University of Mount Olive acknowledges the continued growth and success of the institution while providing students and graduates additional prominence in today’s competitive job market. We believe the word ‘university’ more accurately reflects the current complexity of our academic programs and ultimately enhances the value of a Mount Olive degree for past, present and future graduates.”
Kerstetter said, “This historic moment prompts time for reflection upon the legacy provided for us by our founding sponsors, the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. As visionary leaders, they saw the need for an educational institution that would serve the region and the church, and we have continued to build upon that vision. As the needs of the students, the region, and the church have evolved, this institution has had the foresight to anticipate those changes and the ability to respond accordingly. Over the past 62 years, we have witnessed the transition from a junior college to a four-year college, and now the transition to a university with an emerging graduate program.”
Kerstetter indicated that, despite the rapid growth, the core commitments of the institution remain the same. “The name change marks a logical progression of growth and development for an institution of higher learning,” Kerstetter said. “Although our name will change, we remain a Christian faith-based, values-centered institution that offers a variety of educational programs that all have their roots in the liberal arts.”
According to Kerstetter, becoming a university will benefit the institution on a number of levels. The new designation will help boost marketing and branding for the school. It will also help the institution with international recruitment efforts.
“In many places around the world, the term ‘college’ actually means high school,” Kerstetter explained. “So ‘university’ in our name translates into greater credibility on the international front. It also opens more doors for our students going abroad, and elevates our profile as a destination for students and faculty from across the globe. I also believe that the change of status would enhance our standing within our local area. For example, people in the greater Goldsboro area often talk about ‘the college.’ However, they usually are referring to Wayne Community College, not Mount Olive College. Wayne County is very fortunate to have two outstanding higher educational institutions, and I am confident that a change in our designation will encourage a greater recognition of this. Now, Wayne County has both ‘the college’ and ‘the university’.”
Other benefits cited by Kerstetter include facilitating fundraising and foundation opportunities and the future acquisition of grant awards.
Kerstetter indicated that although the name will officially change on Jan. 1, the complete roll-out will take several months.
“Every aspect of our operations from business cards, to signage, to letterhead, to institutional marketing, to athletic uniforms, etc. will ultimately be changed,” Kerstetter said. “To do it all at once would be an expensive undertaking. We want to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to the University, so we will transition into our new name over the next several months.”
In closing Kerstetter stated, “This is an exciting time in the life of the University of Mount Olive, and all of us who are connected with this institution look forward to the future. We will continue to transform this institution, and we will continue to serve our students, our founding church, and our communities.”
Mount Olive College 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 www.moc.edu.