The Rev. John Robert Williams Jr. delivered the keynote address. The Mount Olive College Concert Choir, under the direction of Dr. Risa Poniros, provided the special music for the anniversary service.
During the event Brian Parnell of Lucama was awarded the Founders Leadership Award, a $500 scholarship sponsored by Dr. W. Burkette Raper, president of Mount Olive College 1954-1995, and his wife, Mrs. Rose M. Raper. The award is given in honor and memory of those who, with vision and leadership, initiated the founding of Mount Olive College in 1951 and those who in subsequent years have provided extraordinary leadership, services, leadership, and support for the advancement of the College.
The scholarship is presented to a senior who has distinguished him/herself as an individual of character and initiative and who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities toward making Mount Olive College the institution of Christian higher education envisioned by its founders. The recipient is selected by a committee of faculty, students, and staff representatives.
Parnell has been a member of Free Spirit throughout his college career. He has been a leader in the student-led Christian groups on campus, and he has been very active in Phi Beta Lambda, serving on the local and state level. Parnell is a Handy Mart scholar and was recently named Pickle King during the 2010 Pickle Classic weekend at MOC.
“I feel strongly that Brian is the epitome of what Dr. and Mrs. Raper envisioned when they began the Founders Leadership Award,” said one staff member who nominated Parnell. “As I have observed Brian, it is obvious that he lives by Christian standards. He is a good leader and highly respected among his peers.”
This year, the Founders Leadership Award was given in honor of the late Dr. James A. Coats, former Vice President for Finance and Treasurer at Mount Olive College. Coats served the College from 1975 until his retirement in 2000. Among his many contributions to MOC, Coats was instrumental in starting the College’s location at Goldsboro, overseeing the construction of College Hall, which is now Kornegay Arena, and establishing funding for infrastructure throughout the campus.
According to Dr. Raper, recognizing the exemplary services and contributions of people like Coats to the development of Mount Olive College is a primary objective of the Founders Leadership Award. Coats wife, Barbara, and their son, Michael, were present for the event.
Also during the service, Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter, President of the College, recognized faculty and staff for their continued dedicated efforts. He presented each service award recipient with a gift engraved with the College seal.
For more information on Mount Olive College, visit www.moc.edu.