Mount Olive College considers change in name, status
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 22, 2013 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- There soon might be a "new" university in town.
Mount Olive College students, faculty, staff and alumni are being asked whether they believe the college should seek to change its name to Mount Olive University.
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools recently gave its approval for the college to offer graduate-level classes, opening the door to university status.
The college's first graduate-level program, a master's in business administration, will begin in January.
College President Philip P. Kerstetter said he had decided to email a survey to students, faculty, staff and alumni to get their opinions before making a recommendation to the college's board of trustees.
The board has the final authority in making the change.
"It is appropriate to consider changing our name from college to university," Kerstetter wrote in the survey. "There is no requirement to do so, but many people have noted that given the complexity of Mount Olive College, and its recent authority to award graduate degrees, university status should be considered."
Nov. 1 is the deadline to respond to the survey.
Kerstetter said he would make his recommendation to the board of trustees when it meets on Dec. 3.
If a decision is made to change the name, it would mean a "lot of documents" would have to be completed to make the change official, he said.
It would not be the first name change for the college.
Chartered in 1951, the college, which is sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, opened as Mount Allen Junior College in 1952 at Cragmont Assembly, the Free Will Baptist summer retreat area near Black Mountain.
The college moved to Mount Olive in 1953, opening in 1954 with 22 students. The name was changed to Mount Olive Junior College in 1956.
In 1970, the name was changed again, this time to the current Mount Olive College.
A junior year was added in 1984 and a senior year in 1985.
In 1986, the college was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a four-year institution to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
"This is an exciting and historic time in the life of our college, and I look forward to receiving many responses," Kerstetter said in his email.