MOUNT OLIVE — The Mount Olive College Alumni Association named Irene Patten the Excellence in Teaching Award during Alumni Weekend. The award recognizes a professor or former professor of Mount Olive College for exhibiting dedication and achievement on a professional level, leadership in community and church, and who brings honor and respect by commitment and support to Mount Olive College. The award was presented by Romey McCoy, a 1978 alumnus of the college.
Patten joined the faculty at Mount Olive College during the 1973-74 academic year. She was the only person on the music faculty, so she stayed busy teaching piano, music theory classes, leading the Mount Olive College Singers, and directing the College Choir and the Chapel Choir. In time, the music faculty grew and Mount Olive College became a four-year institution. But, it wasn’t until 1994 that the college began offering a four-year degree program in music.
Some of Patten’s most memorable experiences with the Mount Olive College Singers include singing in five different Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, singing at the 200th U.S. Anniversary in Washington, D. C., performing at the 50th presidential inauguration, and performing numerous times at Walt Disney World.
Patten received many accolades and awards for her career at Mount Olive College, one of the most humbling was in 1989, when an anonymous donor gave Patten a two-week tour of Austria and Germany for her work with the Singers. Patten was also presented with the highest award given to outstanding North Carolinians…the Order of the Long-leaf Pine. Another great honor was being recognized in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers award.
Patten retired from Mount Olive College in 2002. During her 29-year career she taught and mentored countless students who are now successful alumni.
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.