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Lee Receives Morris Award for Academic Excellence at UMO


MOUNT OLIVE- Brandon Lee of Mount Olive received the distinguished Dr. Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence at the University of Mount Olive’s fall commencement. 

The $3,000 cash award is given to the baccalaureate graduate who best exemplifies serious academic pursuit and love and breadth of learning. The award requires a minimum 3.7 cumulative grade point average and exhibited leadership in extracurricular activities. The recipient must have been a full-time student and is selected by a committee of faculty members and Student Government Association representatives.

This year's recipient, Brandon Lee, received his bachelor of science degree in business administration/accounting. A graduate of Southern Wayne High School, Lee worked at Robert’s Machin & Supply Co. while attending college.  Since the summer of 2016, he has been employed with Strickland Insurance in Goldsboro.  Active in the local community, Lee has served as a volunteer firefighter with Dudley Volunteer Fire Department since 2011.  For his Eagle Scout project, Lee built a shelter at the Nelson Street Park in Mount Olive.  He also served as the assistant baseball coach for Mount Olive Middle School from 2010 to 2012.  Other community service includes Habitat for Humanity, FFA, volunteering with the UMO income tax assistance program, and participating in a gazebo restoration project at Maplewood Cemetery. 

While at UMO, Lee has received numerous awards, including the FFA American Degree, the Handy Mart Business Scholarship, the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, being named a North Carolina Academic Scholar, and being on the UMO Dean’s list. 

Accounting instructor Henry Singletary said, “Brandon Lee is one of the best students I have had the honor of teaching here at the University of Mount Olive. He has always put forth his best effort and asked challenging questions. He is dedicated to others and serves in the community as well.”

Dean of the Tillman School of Business Dr. Kathy T. Best remarked, “Brandon Lee is an excellent student as well as an outstanding young man who has made an impression at UMO and in the community at large. He is polite and has an unassuming personality.”

Benefactor of the Morris Award is retired Goldsboro optometrist, Dr. Thomas R. Morris. A native of Nahunta in Wayne County, Dr. Morris was raised in the Union Grove OFWB Church. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he now resides in Wilmington.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College.  For more information, visit

Brandon Lee Receives Morris Award for Academic Excellence

Brandon Lee receiving the Dr. Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence from Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Hines.