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April 16, 2024 4:19 pm

Mount Olive Recreation and Leisure Studies department to be renamed, reimagined

MOUNT OLIVE –The Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) Department at the University of Mount Olive is being renamed and reimaged. The new name will be Exercise and Sport Science (ESS) Department.

“At our core, regardless of the name change, we have always been about preparing graduates for a life of service impacting the quality of life for those they serve,” said Department Chair Jill Mills. “Frequently graduates dedicate themselves to working in fitness, wellness, and rehabilitation centers, municipal parks and recreation departments, public schools, athletic venues, or with sports teams, among other places, this new name reflects all of those areas more accurately.”

According to Mills about 17% of the University’s traditional students are exercise and sport science majors. “Over half of that 17% are studying exercise science and over one-third are studying sports management.,” she said. “The new name better describes the department.”

“Instead of having one degree in recreation and leisure studies with emphasis areas, now each emphasis area will be a stand-alone degree, namely exercise science, sports management, sports communication, health and physical education, and the newest proposed degree wellness and recreational studies,” Mills shared. “This allows degrees to offer more profession-specific courses in each area. For example, the exercise science degree has increased the courses held in the exercise science lab to complement lecture courses already offered. Sports communication majors will now take a course in broadcasting. Students enjoy learning from engaging hands-on experiences!”

UMO’s RLS program was first launched in 1986. In the past ten years alone, the program has graduated more than 1,000 students.

“As a faculty member of the RLS Department for over half of its 40-year history, I am extremely proud of the evolution of the department,” said Mills. “I am personally grateful for the energetic team I lead. We have grown the department from one degree to five by offering quality teaching, thoughtful mentoring, and genuine care and concern for all of our students. Our graduates are improving the quality of lives around the world.”

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