11/07/05 — College hits goal, sets new target of $25.8 million

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College hits goal, sets new target of $25.8 million

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 7, 2005 1:48 PM

MOUNT OLIVE - A $23 million building campaign at Mount Olive College has been so successful, the college's president has asked that it be extended six months to add time for even more contributions.

The goal for the New Century Capital Campaign has already been surpassed, with $24.7 million recorded as of Oct. 1, said Dr. J. William Byrd, college president, during a Friday evening celebration. Additional pledges of $1.14 million have since been received, bringing the total to $25.8 million, he said.

"The success that we celebrate here tonight is the combined effort of literally thousands of people who have provided support," he said. "It takes all of us to act boldly but not recklessly."

Byrd recognized various groups who helped with the project, commending the Board of Trustees for having recommended and adopted the $23 million working goal in April 2004. At that time, plans were spelled out for the project, which would include a new academic complex, a communications center and a wellness center.

Bill Bryan, Mt. Olive Pickle Co. president and a member of the New Century Campaign Steering Committee, was keynote speaker for Friday's celebration. He said the success of the campaign was forecast from the moment the drive was announced.

"At that time, we had financial commitments of $19.8 million toward our goal of $23 million," he said.

Illustrating how far the college has come since the Original Free Will Baptist Convention bought an abandoned schoolhouse in 1953, he said there was a vision even then for the buildings that are now being constructed.

In addition to surpassing the financial goal, Bryan said the college should be proud of its 7,168 contributors and 3,491 first-time donors.

"These are impressive numbers," he said. "But they represent something even more important - the endearing, and enduring, relationship the college enjoys with its stakeholders and greater eastern North Carolina community."

Buddy Pope and Lois Britt were campaign co-chairs, along with former Gov. Jim Hunt, who served as honorary chairman. Pope paid tribute to Mrs. Britt, who died this summer.

"Lois was more than the co-chair of this capital campaign," he said. "She was a personal friend. Her death has been felt by everyone at this college, in this community, and in agricultural circles all across this state."