MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive Board of Trustees has announced its decision to extend Dr. H. Edward Croom’s contract as president through June 30, 2028. The unanimous vote came during the board’s January meeting.
Croom accepted the contract and thanked the Board of Trustees for entrusting him and his administration with the continued leadership of the University of Mount Olive. “I am humbled and honored by your show of support and confidence in me and in our faculty, staff and students, and for your prayers! What we do here at the University of Mount Olive is God’s work. We are creating opportunities, transforming lives, and realizing dreams,” Croom said.
Croom initially joined the University in January of 2020 as provost and chief academic officer. In March of 2020, the board appointed Croom as interim president, when a former president stepped down. Croom became UMO’s sixth president in October 2020. His inauguration occurred in March 2021.
Croom is only the second serving UMO president with direct ties to the university’s founding denomination, the Original Free Will Baptist Church. “Dr. Croom’s connections are far and wide across eastern North Carolina and the entire state,” said University of Mount Olive Board Chair Earl W. Worley, Jr. “Those connections and his vast experience are serving our institution well.”
At the announcement of Croom’s extended contract, many expressions of praise rang out in the board room. Various board members touted Croom’s transparency, his personable approach with students, his leadership style and more. “Dr. Croom is the right person at the right time for the University of Mount Olive,” one board member said.
“We have tremendous confidence in Dr. Croom’s and his vision for the University of Mount Olive,” Worley said “He is a strategic, forward-focused thinker and is drawn to pursuing big ideas, embracing challenges and building a sense of community. The Board of Trustees is confident in his ability to continually propel the university to new heights, and we look forward to the ongoing implementation of key growth strategies and initiatives.”
Worley went on to note that Croom has already advanced many critical areas during his 28-month presidency. Some of those include navigating the unprecedented issues and challenges associated with educating students during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a strategy for sound fiscal responsibility and guiding the university through a successful Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges reaffirmation of the university’s accreditation through the year 2031.
Engagement has been another big focus of Croom’s presidency. He is inspiring renewed interest in the university with alumni, businesses, the OFWB church and philanthropic individuals and foundations. “Our success is directly proportional to our ability to build strong relationships now and in the future,” said Croom. “In that regard, one of the highlights of my presidency thus far has been to engage with individuals who have the means and the desire to help drive us to the next level.”
Croom praised the university’s faculty and staff for placing traditional and adult student success and academic excellence at the forefront of their work. Under Croom’s leadership, the university has achieved many regional and national rankings. Some of those rankings include earning recognition as the safest private college campus in N.C., as well as one of the top 10 safest campuses in America; earning the designation as one of the largest MBA programs in N.C. and ranking in the top 25 largest N.C. colleges and universities with regards to enrollment.
“I am so proud of the work we are collectively and collaboratively accomplishing at the University of Mount Olive,” Croom said. “We have big dreams with many stakeholders and game changers on our team to make those dreams become realities. Our future is bright.”
— From University of Mount Olive Public Relations, by Director of Public Relations Rhonda Jessup