Graduating seniors Hunter Leigh Hall and Matthew Jerome Boyette recently received the distinguished Dr. Thomas R. Morris Awards for Academic Excellence at the University of Mount Olive.
The Morris Awards are presented to the UMO seniors graduating with the highest Grade Point Average in both the traditional and the non-traditional academic programs. The awards are made possible through the generosity of Dr. Thomas R. Morris and includes a $1,500 check for each of the two students.
This year’s traditional student recipient is Hunter Hall. She is the daughter of Bruce and Ann-Marie Hall. From Hillsborough, NC, Hall graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in Agricultural Production Systems. She achieved an overall GPA of 4.0. Hall is described by her professors as talented, dedicated, and caring.
Chair of Agricultural Education and Agribusiness Dr. Stephen Edwards said, “Hunter has been an amazing student. In my teaching career, she has been the student that has been the most conscientious about making sure not just that she had a good grade, but also that she fully understood and answered every question. Hunter has always sought further knowledge and loves the challenges that academia provides. Her attention to detail and her love of plants is evident in all aspects of her work. She will be successful in any career that she pursues and she truly has earned the Morris Award honor.”
This year’s non-traditional student recipient is Matthew Jerome Boyette. From Deep Run, NC, Boyette graduated Summa Cum Laude with a major in Early Childhood Education. He also achieved an overall GPA of 4.0. Boyette and his wife, Ivy, are parents to Adalynn – 5, and Erik – 2.
Several of Boyette’s professors commented on his commitment to excellence while balancing the demands of work, family, and his education. Assistant Professor of Education Gail Herring said, “Matthew is an employee of Lenoir county schools, and is married with two precious children. Even with these responsibilities, he has taken a challenging course load. His GPA demonstrates the strong work ethic and commitment he has toward academics. He is very dedicated to the field of education, and has high expectations for himself. Mathew is a model student that is highly respected by his instructors and his peers. He is most deserving of the Morris Award.”
Benefactor of the Morris Award is retired Goldsboro optometrist, Dr. Thomas R. Morris. A native of Nahunta in Wayne County, Dr. Morris was raised in the Union Grove OFWB Church. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he now resides in Wilmington.