11/23/05 — MOC marks Founder's Day events

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MOC marks Founder's Day events

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 23, 2005 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College celebrated 54 years of providing Christian higher education on Tuesday during its annual Founders Day worship service. A senior English education major was awarded the Founders Leadership Award and 22 long-time employees were recognized for continued years of service to the college.

Samantha Benson of Newport received the leadership award, a $500 scholarship sponsored by Dr. W. Burkette Raper, who served as president of the college from 1954 to 1995, and his wife, Rose M. Raper.

Given in honor and memory of those with the vision and leadership behind the founding of Mount Olive College in 1951, it is presented every year to a senior who has distinguished himself or herself as an individual of character and initiative, as well as strong leadership qualities.

Ms. Benson is a member of the Student Government Association, Free Spirit and the Mount Olive College Concert Choir. She was the 2004 Pickle Classic Queen and past president of the Prospective Teacher's Association. She was also a resident advisor for two years and attended LEAD, a statewide leadership conference for two years.

This year, the award was given in honor of Jean F. Ackiss of Goldsboro, director of church support for MOC since 1985. Mrs. Ackiss attended the college in 1959, taking a one-year business course. She was the first of six siblings to attend college.

In 1965, she returned as Raper's secretary. Three years later, she became assistant secretary for the college's board of trustees. Since 1978, she has coordinated the college's annual dinner program, which has brought in gift support in excess of $500,000 each year.

"The decision to hire Jean was one of the best decisions I made during my 40 years as president," Raper said during the presentation.

Featured speaker for the worship service was Barbara Woodall Hinton, an alumna and retired elementary teacher. She attended the school in 1954-55 and later obtained her education degree from Barton College in 1962.

She was an educator with Wayne County Public Schools for 33 years and is now the lead teacher with Princeton Church of God Preschool, where she has worked for 10 years.

Also during the service, Dr. J. William Byrd, current president, recognized faculty and staff who have been at the college from five to 40 years.