UMO Graduate Alexis McNeil Leaves No Stone Unturned
MOUNT OLIVE- Alexis McNeil of Bowie Maryland will graduate from the University of Mount Olive on May 6. Throughout her four years attending the institution, the psychology major immersed herself in every possible opportunity at the institution, and made many wonderful memories along the way.
McNeil has been a star track athlete, currently holding the University records in the 60m dash (7.66s), 100m dash (12.08s) and 200m dash (24.9s). She has served as a UMO Ambassador, Graduation Marshal, and Resident Advisor. She has represented the University as Homecoming Queen, and has participated in the Psychology Club, the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and the Honors program, just to name a few. Being a part of the honors program, McNeil had the opportunity to travel to Thailand in 2016 and will be traveling to China after graduation.
Professor of history Dr. Alan Lamm commented, “Alexis McNeil is one of the most outstanding young ladies I have ever met at UMO. She is a true leader on her sports team, and especially in the Honors Program where I have gotten to work with her very closely. She is mature, poised, insightful, respectful, and is an inspiration to all our younger Honors scholars in particular. She has helped shape the Honors Club into a much more effective unit and has made us proud in a recent presentation at the North Carolina Honors Association at UNC-Greensboro.”
McNeil has also gained praise for her hard work ethic inside the classroom, often making the Dean’s and President’s lists. She earned Four-time Conference Carolinas All-Academic Team Honors from spring 2014-2017. Other awards have included the 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Award, Rising Star Award (2013-2014), Top 15 (2015-2016), Track Athlete of the Year Award (2014-2016), Women’s Track and Field Academic All- Conference Team (2014-2017), and the Founders Leadership Award.
“Alexis may be the most involved student on campus,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Dan Sullivan. “She is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet. She has a smile and hello for everyone.”
When McNeil was asked what motivates her to do her best on and off the track. She replied,
“At a certain point in my life I was told that you live in a fishbowl and someone is always watching you. As I have gotten older, I have found that to be true, so I always put my best foot forward, because I never know who may be watching.”
Putting her best foot forward has involved many hours of community service. McNeil volunteers with the Wayne County Animal Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, at a children’s hospital, and built a playground in Goldsboro with Kaboom: Play Matters for All Kids. Each year when McNeil returns home for winter break she volunteers at the Soup Kitchen in her hometown and helps her church community. But the program closest to her heart has been her internship at the Mediation Center of North Carolina, with the Building Peace in Schools Program. The program seeks to build conflict resolution skills in kids who exhibit violent or aggressive tendencies within the school system, to prevent them from further punishment for their actions such as teen court or juvenile restitution.
“What a blessing it has been to all of us to have Alexis’s initiative, her persistence in creating positive change on campus, and her poise as an Ambassador for UMO in every situation she encounters. I truly would give her the crown as Ms. University of Mount Olive!” said UMO First Lady Mary Kerstetter. “We will miss her, but we know she'll continue to represent her alma mater with class and distinction.”
After graduation, McNeil plans to use her business management minor to one day manage her very own Chick-Fil-A restaurant. She also plans to use her psychology degree to open her own practice.
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 www.umo.edu.