09/03/07 — Mount Olive College celebrates first-ever summer graduation

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Mount Olive College celebrates first-ever summer graduation

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 3, 2007 1:45 PM

Last Tuesday night represented a new dimension for Mount Olive College, holding its first-ever summer commencement, with 102 candidates from the five college locations.

Dr. J. William Byrd, president, called the expanded opportunity a "direction consequence of the robust growth that the college has enjoyed" in recent years.

The breakdown of students receiving diplomas included 32 from the Mount Olive campus, 11 from the Goldsboro satellite campus on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, 20 from New Bern, 19 from Research Triangle Park, seven from Washington and 13 from Wilmington.

Speaker for the event was Vaughn Purnell, director of the New Bern campus since 2005. Prior to that, he had worked in the corporate sector for 22 years, affiliated with such Fortune 500 companies as General Foods, IBM, Merrill Lynch and Chrysler.

Byrd characterized Purnell as an "educator, pastor, human resources consultant, manager, or just an all-around good guy spiced with a bit of wit and wisdom."

Purnell credited MOC with being "more respectful and in awe of the adult learner," he encouraged the candidates to enjoy the day and what it represented.

"From this day forth, as you make decisions and set examples at home in front of your family, at work in sight of your colleagues, what you do and say and how you do and say it will be held to a higher standard," he said. "From now on, you can no longer plead ignorance."