MOUNT OLIVE - At a height of 6’7, you won’t miss Tim Ebbecke as he heads up to collect his degree on graduation day. But as a fifth year “super-senior”, the student-athlete will be missed around campus, and on the volleyball court. Graduating with a double major in Criminal-Justice and Psychology, as well as being a starter for the Trojans men’s volleyball team, Tim’s future is looking bright. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
A native of Commack, New York, Tim left high school with a mind to pursue a higher level of volleyball while furthering his education. After recovering from knee surgery in his senior year of high school, he believed he was heading the right direction, and fell in love with University of Mount Olive on his first visit.
“I came here to be far away from home, but I still wanted to feel like I was in a home atmosphere. I loved the teams and the teachers. I had felt like I had been here before. It was just the right fit and I knew that from the moment I arrived campus.”
But Ebbecke’s excitement turned to disappointment soon enough, when he had to undergo surgery once again, red shirting his freshman year. The doctors told him that he was very unlikely to play again, and if he did, he wouldn’t be the player he once was.
During that frustrating time period, Ebbecke buckled down and passed enough credit hours to graduate in just three years, finding himself on the Dean’s List almost every semester. But it wasn’t enough for him without playing the sport he loved. Instead of sticking to his original accelerated academic plans, Ebbecke chose to stay for five years, utilizing the full four years of athletic eligibility. Not only did he prove his doctors wrong, but went on to become a key player in his final two seasons, finding inspiration through his mother, Peggy, a recovered paraplegic.
“I felt like my life was stripped from me. Volleyball was and is a coping strategy for me and the idea of being without it was terrifying. However, after talking to my mother and hearing about her fight against being paralyzed, she helped me realize just because the doctors do not think I can, does not mean I can't. I took it as a challenge and embraced it one day at a time.”
Sitting with enough credits to graduate, Ebbecke could have taken this as a chance to coast academically. Instead, he chose to pick up another major in psychology, driving through another full major in just two years, as well as being a member of SAAC, and a brief stint on the JV basketball team. Ebbecke made the most of the opportunities offered to him, and made some more for himself when there were none to find.
Finally, at the end of his college career, Ebbecke is ready to move on to bigger and better things. His experiences at University of Mount Olive have helped pave the way for a well-rounded and driven young man, with hopes of trying his hand at law enforcement, hopefully upwards to a career in the CIA.
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. For more information, visit www.moc.edu.