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Origins of the University of Mount Olive

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Mount Allen Junior College

Mount Allen Junior College (1952-1953)

Mount Olive Junior College

Mount Olive Junior College (1954-1969)

Mount Olive College (1970-2013)


Mount Allen Junior College was established by the North Carolina Convention of Free Will Baptists in September, 1951, to provide a program of Christian higher education. The College received its charter for a junior college in November of 1951. The first year of operation in 1952-53 was at Cragmont Assembly, the Free Will Baptist summer retreat grounds near Black Mountain, NC, under the leadership of the Reverend Lloyd Vernon. The school was called Mount Allen Junior College, taking its name from the mountain near Cragmont.
In 1953, the College relocated to Mount Olive to be nearer to the center of denominational strength in the eastern section of the state. Under the leadership of the Reverend David W. Hansley, Chairman of the Board of Directors, plans were made to develop a junior college offering programs in arts and sciences and in business.  Until minimum preparations could be made for using the Mount Olive property, Mr. Vernon held classes in the Beulaville Free Will Baptist Church. In November 1953, he brought the students to Mount Olive. The Reverend W. Burkette Raper was chosen as president in July 1954, and steps were taken to begin a collegiate program in September, with an enrollment of 22 students. In 1955, the name was changed to Mount Olive Junior College.
In 1956, plans were initiated for the purchase of land and the development of an enlarged campus. In 1960, the College was granted accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1965, the first buildings were completed on the new campus.
In September of 1970, the school’s name was changed to Mount Olive College. In 1979, the Board of Trustees set a timetable to make Mount Olive a senior college. In 1986, the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded and the Southern Association granted accreditation as a four-year institution. On January 1, 2014, the school's name was officially changed to the University of Mount Olive.


 1956 Graduation

1956 Graduation



Art Class

Art Class



Orientation, Sept 6, 1961

Orientation, Sept. 6, 1961 Original Mount Olive Campus



Panelists for FWB student fellowship Fall 1967

Panelists for Free Will Baptist Student Fellowship first Fall 1967 meeting:

(L-R) Isaac Hines, Pamela Wood, Becky Jo Sumner, Dianne Brown, and Miss Hilda F. Owens



Faculty and Board of Trustees

 Faculty, ca. 1956

Faculty, ca. 1956



Trustees, 1969

Trustees, 1969



 W. Burkette Raper

Dr. W. Burkette Raper,

President, 1954-1995




First Reference room original library

Reference Room of Original Library



Henderson Building, ca. 1966

Henderson Building, ca. 1966



Dormitory Complex

 Dormitory Complex



Moye Library

 Moye Library



Men's Dorm

Grantham Hall, Men's Dorm



Rodgers Chapel - 1974

Rodgers Chapel - 1974



College Hall

Kornegay Arena



University Seals, Logos and School Song


Mt. Olive Seal 1








 Mt. Olive Alma Mater

Mount Olive Alma Mater

Hail, Mount Olive, Alma Mater,
     endless years shall crown they head;
     praise we then our great Creator,
     who through all the years shall lead.
May thy torch of truth grow brighter
     still supplied with light divine;
     strong, and clear, and ever burning;
     on the path of wisdom shine.
Alma Mater, Our dear mother,
     honored ever, honored now;
     courage, faith and love devoted,
     be the laurels on thy brow.
O, Mount Olive, how we love thee,
     Dowered with thy fost’ring care;
     kindest heaven smile upon thee,
     God exalt and keep thee fair.
                             Daniel W. Fagg, Jr.


Some photos used by permission of the Mount Olive Area Historical Society.




November 27, 1951    - Charter issued by the State of North 

September 22, 1952   - Mount Allen Junior College opened at 
                                       Cragmont Assembly 
                                       (Lloyd Vernon, president)

September 17, 1953   - Convention of Original FWB authorized 
                                       purchase of Mount Olive Elementary School
                                       building and relocation of College

        August 2, 1954   - W. Burkette Raper became president

  September 9, 1954   - First collegiate year. College opened in
                                       Mount Olive with twenty-two students

September 14, 1955   - Convention of Original Free Will Baptists
                                       authorized name change to Mount Olive
                                       Junior College

   November 6, 1958   - State accreditation attained

   December 1, 1960   - Accreditation granted by the Southern 
                                       Association of Colleges and Schools

September 27, 1965   - Henderson Building and Women’s 
                                       Residence Hall Complex occupied

           August, 1968   - Moye Library completed

     September, 1970   - Grantham Hall completed

     September, 1970   - Convention of Original Free Will Baptists
                                       authorized name change to University of
                                       Mount Olive

         August 3, 1974   - Rodgers Chapel dedicated

September 12, 1979   - Convention of Original Free Will Baptists 
                                       authorized four-year program

           April 19, 1980   - Scarborough Field dedicated

       January 7, 1984   - Grand Opening of College Hall 
                                       (now Kornegay Arena)

          October, 1985   - College apartments completed

           May 10, 1986   - First Baccalaureate degrees awarded

   December 9, 1986   - Senior college accreditation granted by
                                       the Southern Association of Colleges
                                       and Schools

           August, 1991   - Poole Administration Building completed

          April 18, 1993   - Grand Opening of the Lois K. Murphy 
                                       Regional Center

   November 2, 1993   - Grand Opening of University of Mount Olive
                                       at New Bern

     January 31, 1995   - J. William Byrd, Ph.D., assumed the duties
                                       of third president of University of Mount 

September 28, 1995   - Galloway Music Library dedicated

       October 8, 1995   - Jesse R. Laughinghouse Hall dedicated

     October 30, 1995   - Grand Opening of University of Mount Olive
                                       at Wilmington

       October 1, 1997   - Grand Opening of University of Mount Olive 
                                       at Research Triangle Park

 November 20, 1999   - Alumni Cross Walk dedicated

             May 6, 2000   - Moore-Williams Fieldhouse dedicated

        March 25, 2001   - Nancy Chapman Cassell Softball Field 

  September 4, 2001   - King Hall dedicated

             May 7, 2002   - John Neal Walker Tennis Center dedicated

             May 7, 2002   - Agribusiness Center ribbon cutting

September 29, 2002   - Carillon in Rodgers Chapel dedicated

   November 8, 2003   - Milton M. Lownes, Jr., M.D. Student Health
                                       Center dedicated

       August 30, 2005   - George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena
                                        (formerly College Hall) dedicated

       October 3, 2005   - Grand Opening of University of Mount Olive
                                       at Washington

     October 28, 2006   - Pope Wellness Center dedicated

 November 18, 2006   - W. Burkette and Rose M. Raper Hall

      August 24, 2007   - Ray and Chris Amon Field dedicated

 November 17, 2007   - Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center dedicated

           May 31, 2008   - NCAA Division II National Champions -

             July 1, 2009   - Philip P. Kerstetter, Ph. D., assumed the 
                                      duties of fourth president of University of 
                                      Mount Olive

      August 12, 2009   - Grand Opening of University of Mount Olive
                                       at Jacksonville

September 12, 2009   - Annie Mae Whitfield and Everett Edwin
                                       Herring Residence Halls dedicated

 November 27, 2012   - The J. William and Marvis E. “Marcy” Byrd 
                                       Apartment Complex and Assembly Hall 

 January 1, 2014        - Mount Olive College changes name to the 
                                       University of Mount Oilve