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June 14, 2024 11:51 pm

Freshmen encouraged to let their lights shine at University of Mount Olive convocation

MOUNT OLIVE – The University of Mount Olive welcomed 342 news students to campus Friday, August 18. Faculty, staff and student volunteers helped them move in. Community organizations, businesses and churches handed out bottled water, lemonade, donuts, Bibles, and coupons.

“It is always great to have this connection between with University and the community,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom. “It gives our incoming students and their families a glimpse of Southern hospitability at its finest!”

During the Friday evening convocation, Croom encouraged the incoming class to set themselves apart, to make good decisions, and to let their lights shine. He referenced Matthew 5: 14-16, which reads, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Croom noted that the UMO faculty will do everything they can to ensure the students’ lights will burn as bright as possible. “These folks will give you the resources to make sure that you have wonderful opportunities,” Croom said. “We just encourage you to take advantage of them.”

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Burt Lewis and Mount Olive Mayor Kenny Talton welcomed the students to both the University community and to the town.

A recording prepared by UMO’s acapella group, Carolina Sound, of a Million Dreams from the Greatest Showman, was played as a symbolic gesture for the students to follow their dreams.

The convocation ended with a candlelight ceremony and the singing of the University’s alma mater. Students then headed to the Alumni Dining Room for bingo featuring food and prizes.

Returning students moved in on Sunday and classes began on Monday, August 21, 2023.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University was founded by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists.  For more information, visit