Mount Olive College honors alumni
By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 22, 2009 1:50 AM
New Bern-born Dr. Earl W. Moore did his student teaching at Charles B. Aycock High School, then returned about 30 years later to become its principal.
On Saturday, he was recognized among 24 others at the Mount Olive College Alumni Weekend, where he was named "principal of the year," as part of the college's "Leading into the Future" awards ceremony.
Moore has spent his entire career in Wayne County, teaching at Meadow Lane Elementary and Brogden Primary.
Building a career in Wayne County has allowed the administrator to watch students grow from elementary-age youngsters into high school students, Moore said.
"It's sort of like my life went full circle, and it was like returning home," Moore said of his tenure at Aycock. "The greatest thing about being back at Aycock is the students who are there, they were students of mine when I was in the classroom. So it's really a joy."
Like Moore, many of the award recipients and other alumni said being a Mount Olive graduate often means long-term relationships with colleagues and friends.
A sense of the institution's history, formed by a coalition of free will Baptists who believed in the idea of an eastern North Carolina-based liberal arts college, is also a common trait, award recipients said.
For David Charles Hans-ley, son of the Rev. David W. Hansley -- the "founder" of Mount Olive College -- that sense of history comes first hand.
Hansley received the "Family Heritage Award" on Saturday.
He said many people doubted Mount Olive College -- originally called Mount Olive Junior College before being officially renamed in September 1970 -- could succeed.
"Back when it began in those days, there were a number of people who thought that a small denomination could not establish an institution -- especially a liberal arts school -- and in eastern North Carolina.
"At the time, we all knew that the business world was not bringing businesses to eastern North Carolina. They were going to other sections of the state," Hansley said.
But because of leaders like his father, and the Rev. W. Burkette Raper who became the college's president in 1954, the institution survived, Hansley said.
The younger Hansley, who was in sixth grade at the time, said his father encouraged him to attend the meetings of the Board of Christian Education.
"I remember them meeting in our living room," Hansley said. "I listened. My dad was the kind of guy that wanted his family to know and learn.
"So sometimes I would have the privilege to sit there, and he would say, in the way that he would say such things 'Sit here, and you may learn a thing or two.'"
Hansley would later become a graduate of Mount Olive College as well, graduating in 1959 and pursuing a career as an ordained Original Free Will Baptist Minister.
He also worked for the Chrysler Corporation, performing administration and bookkeeping, he said.
"It's not about our family. It's about the fact that God has used us, and here it (Mount Olive College) is now. It's about all those people that helped make it happen."
Other award recipients included:
* Brenda Jackson Ballance, Class of 1997
* Gary F. Barefoot, Class of 1959
* W. Rob Bizzell, Class of 1973
* Chris H. Collins, Class of 1998
* Cathy Wallace Crumpler Classes of 1975 and 1986
* Gloria Wallace Edwards, Class of 1969
* Stanley C. Harrell, Class of 1960
* F. Joey Higginbotham Jr., Class of 2001
* Gary W. Lee, Class of 1994
* Tharesa Chadwick Lee, Class of 2001
* Marsha Moore Lewis, Class of 1974
* Romey L. McCoy, Class of 1978
* Jason C. Mendez, Class of 1974
* Ron L. Montgomery, Class of 1968
* Tony E. Peacock, Class of 1982
* Andrea Houston-Sanderson, Class of 2005
* B. Chase Smith, Class of 2008
* Becky Jo Sumner, Class of 1968
* E. Herb Tyson, Class of 1957
* Marvin R. Waters, Class of 1973
* Alexis Barwick Welch, Class of 1973
* Colette Courchene "Cokie" Westfall, Class of 1976
* Tim E. Woodward, Class of 1987.