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MOUNT OLIVE - During a gala event held Thursday, January 24, University of Mount Olive launched a comprehensive $20 million, five year capital campaign. At the kickoff event, attended by alumni, students, and friends of the College, President Philip P. Kerstetter stated, “The Realizing the Dream, Securing the Future capital campaign is a bold and ambitious effort to ensure a strong destiny for this College. The funds we raise will result in modernization and beautification of our entire campus. It will add space to accommodate our increasing enrollment. And, it will transform our campus to reflect the high quality of education we offer our students. The Campaign is designed to increase the engagement of students, alumni, friends, and leaders in the work of the College and to ensure a firm financial foundation for its work now and in the future.”
The six specific objects of the Realizing the Dream, Securing the Future Campaign were detailed as follows:
• Enhancing Henderson Hall and residential housing $ 8 million
Four of the College’s current residence halls and the Henderson Building were constructed in the 1960s. These buildings, though sturdy in structure, need to mirror the needs and expectations of today’s students and standards. Enhancements to these five buildings will aim to improve the individual quality of life for students. Both new construction and renovation will use many of the U. S. Green Building Council’s, LEED program requirements as they apply to energy conservation, water efficiency, materials and resources. Improvements will include: enlarging and reconfiguring classrooms to accommodate twenty-first Century teaching methods and the use of technology; adding faculty offices that are conducive to one-on-one meetings; installing updated energy-saving lighting and HVAC; purchasing new furniture for the residence halls; upgrading public spaces in Henderson Hall and the residence halls to enhance the interactive and social quality of life for residents
• Expanding and enhancing Rodgers Chapel $ 3 million
New construction will add classrooms, offices, and additional seats to the Chapel. This will support the expansion of the College’s religious studies program and provide adequate private meditation and counseling rooms.
• Creating a vibrant Cultural Arts Center $ 3 million
The cultural arts center will transform downtown Mount Olive and touch the lives of people throughout the area. The new center will have updated, well-lit painting and drawing studios, photography labs with the latest technical equipment, and large, well-equipped areas for printmaking, ceramics, and sculpting. There will be well equipped classrooms and faculty offices. In addition, the center will have two exhibit spaces.
• Expanding and preserving our athletics programs $ 3 million
The new athletic facility will serve the College’s varsity track and field team, and it will also be used by the soccer, lacrosse, softball and baseball teams. The addition will include an eight lane polyurethane track, an artificial surface field inside the track, a field house, and stadium. The facility will have all the essentials: stadium seating, scoreboards using the latest technology, lighting, restrooms, locker rooms, a fitness training room, offices, equipment storage areas, a satellite athletic training room, a public address system, and a concession stand. The new facility will place University of Mount Olive at the top of the Conference Carolinas in terms of facilities that serve the needs of its student-athletes. The track facility will also be beneficial for campus and general community use, enhancing and complementing the facilities offered in the Pope Wellness Center.
• Creating landscaping to enhance the academic environment $ 1 million
The College plans to build upon the existing outdoor beauty of its campus by adding raised beds of flowers, outdoor seating areas, and special lighting. Sidewalks will be repaired and additional walkways added. Proper landscaping will create drainage to prevent flooding. It is projected that these transformations of the campus will become a subject for photography and painting majors as well as anyone in the community who is artistically inclined.
• Increasing the Annual Fund $ 2 million
An important goal of the “Realizing the Dream, Securing the Future” Campaign is to establish a financial assistance fund. This will support programs for worthy students, faculty salaries and professional development, and ongoing campus enhancements. This fund will ensure continuation of critical transformational programs. It will compensate for government and grant funding shortfalls. Most importantly, the money will allow the College to continue to provide full and partial scholarships.
The Honorable Jim Hunt, former four-term governor of North Carolina, was the keynote speaker at the event. He was quoted as saying, “As University of Mount Olive seeks to educate the next generation of innovators, leaders and responsible citizens it will need your support. I personally believe there is no better investment in the future than investing in the lives of students. A gift to University of Mount Olive is a gift to benefit not only the University of Mount Olive students of today, but also future generations of alumni who will transform the communities where they live and work.”
Bill Bryan, president of Mount Olive Pickle Company and co-chair of the University of Mount Olive capital campaign, announced that donors have already contributed $15.8 million, or 79% of the goal.
Following the event Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. John Blackwell said, “When I came to University of Mount Olive, it wasn't long before I realized that the College has enjoyed enormous success over the years because a large number of people not only recognized that University of Mount Olive is a treasure, they were willing to commit time and resources to build this College. The result is that University of Mount Olive is not only a treasure, it is unique. There is one College of the Original Free Will Baptist Church that is situated in eastern North Carolina. The College has culture and traditions that are priceless. The beauty of our campaign, ‘Realizing the Dream; Securing the Future,’ is that we are building on success. We are strengthening the commitments of all those who have gone before us. In that sense, we are stewards of a dream; we have an essential role to play. It is an honor to serve on this campaign team.”
Blackwell went on to say, “Several people have asked me if, as the campaign unfolds, there will be naming opportunities. The answer is yes: there will be many, and we hope that people will take advantage of these opportunities.”
University of Mount Olive 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. The College is one of the fastest growing private colleges in North Carolina, educating more than 5,000 people annually who come from 34 states and 29 foreign countries. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.