The University of Mount Olive recently awarded the 2020 Dr. Thomas R. Morris Award for Excellence in Teaching to Professor of Language and Literature Dr. Linda Holland-Toll. In addition to her teaching responsibilities Holland-Toll serves as the advisor for English Education, the Linguistics Club, and Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. David Hines said, “I’ve known few scholars more passionate about teaching than Dr. Holland-Toll. She demands a great deal from her students, as she should, but gives back more than she asks. She will attempt to move heaven and earth to help a student or a colleague in need.”
Holland-Toll, who has been employed with the University since 2004, said, “Although I am most honored and grateful to receive this award, and send my heartfelt thanks to all who were involved, this award is really more about the students I have the pleasure and privilege of teaching and my supportive colleagues than it is about me.”
“Dr. Holland-Toll is a wonderful professor, who does her best to not just teach to her students, but makes learning a fun, rewarding experience,” said one of her students. “She is also a truly understanding professor who goes out of her way to make sure her students are doing okay.”
Another student shared, “Dr. Holland-Toll deserves the title of Professor of the Year because she has proven herself to be a skilled teacher, kind person, nurturer of minds, and powerful force for personal progress in her students. Dr. Holland-Toll is an inspiration to me as both an English major and as a human being.”
Benefactor of the Morris Award is Dr. Thomas R. Morris, a long-time friend and generous supporter of the University of Mount Olive. Dr. Morris is a native of the Nahunta area of Wayne County where he and his family were active members of Union Grove OFWB Church. With the vision of an education, he worked his way through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from medical school, he was an optometrist and civic leader in Goldsboro until his retirement. He now resides in Wilmington.