Mallory Noel Ratcliff of Fredericksburg, VA and Monica Lynn Irwin of Wilmington received the Dr. Thomas R. Morris Awards for Academic Excellence at the University of Mount Olive’s spring commencement.
The Thomas R. Morris Awards are presented to the traditional and non-traditional baccalaureate graduates whose studies have been at the University of Mount Olive during full-time, continuous enrollment. The awards are for the highest academic average based on the greatest number of credit hours. A check for $1,500 accompanies each of these awards. The awards were made possible as a result of the generosity and of the late Dr. Thomas R. Morris to recognize superlative academic success.
Mallory Noel Ratcliff earned her BS in in elementary education with a GPA of 3.975. A member of the UMO softball team, she has excelled on the field and in the classroom. Ratcliff plans to return to UMO in the fall to pursue a Master of Education degree.
Associate Professor of Education Dr. Tommy Benson said, “Mallory is a goal-oriented, enthusiastic young lady. She came with a desire to become a teacher and has worked diligently to prepare herself for the profession. She works tirelessly to do her very best and has proven her capabilities academically and athletically.”
Dr. Ruby Bell, Associate Professor of Education added, “I place a premium on integrity and honesty and Mallory has never failed to deliver on both. It has been a delight to have her in my classes. I have watched her grow into a successful teacher intern and it has been my pleasure! I am positive she will make an excellent teacher leader.”
Monica Lynn Irwin earned her BS in business administration: human resource management with a GPA of 3.975. Her future plans include developing a human resource program/package for expanding the business she started with her husband, Bill. Originally from Maine, the pair moved to Wilmington in 2019 and opened a restaurant called The Maine Lobster Roll Company.
Assistant Professor of Finance Ryan Douglas said, “Monica has demonstrated herself to be professional and capable. She knows how to execute, communicate, and provide a quality product. She has been a pleasure to have in class and embodies the ideal character of a UMO alumni!”
Benefactor of the Morris Award is the late Dr. Thomas R. Morris. A native of Nahunta in Wayne County, Dr. Morris was raised in the Union Grove OFWB Church.