MOUNT OLIVE - Every faith-based university needs a sacred space in the heart of its campus. A place that welcomes all. A place to worship. At the University of Mount Olive, that place is Rodgers Chapel. Completed in 1974, Rodgers Chapel is a treasured landmark on campus. On May 24, at 4:30 PM ground will be broken for the expansion and renovation of the Chapel, which will go beyond bricks and mortar to the heart of the University’s identity.
“We are and always will be a community of faith,” said Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter, UMO President. “By expanding Rodger’s Chapel into a Religious Life Complex, the University is making a strong statement about the role of faith in today’s campus life, influencing how students learn, how they interact, and how they live on campus and in the world.”
Once completed, the 6,000 square feet Chapel expansion will form a pivotal campus landmark, enhancing student life while serving as a powerful symbol of the University of Mount Olive’s identity. New construction will add classrooms, offices, and additional seating in the Chapel. A kitchen and coffee bar will provide the necessary equipment for hosting receptions and meals. A prayer garden in the center of the new space will provide a place for mediation and reflection. The Religion Department and the Campus Chaplain will relocate to the Chapel, allowing for the expansion of the University’s religious studies program, and further denoting the literal and figurative cornerstone of the campus community.
Over 250 donors have collectively contributed over $2 million to the Chapel expansion project. According to Director of Donor Services Nancy Westfall 83% of those donations came from members of the Free Will Baptist denomination. Dr. E. Lee Glover, a member of the 1959 Mount Olive College graduating class, is the lead donor for the project.
“UMO is incredibly blessed that so many of our donors share our vision for our work and mission here at the University,” said Vice President for Institutional Advancement Teresa Hines. “We are grateful to each one of them for their gifts and appreciative of their foresight in understanding what this Chapel complex will mean for our University and for the Free Will Baptist denomination.”
The public is invited to attend the ground breaking ceremony. For more information, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 919-658-2502.
Construction will begin immediately following the ground breaking with completion projected by early 2018.
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.