The University of Mount Olive welcomed 330 freshmen students to campus Saturday and encouraged them to let their light shine, not only for themselves, but for others as well. UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom put forth the challenge during Saturday night’s convocation in Kornegay Arena.
“Each day is a blessing,” Croom said. “Take advantage of opportunities, and don’t take anything for granted. Over the next four years, I encourage you to get to know one another. Your time here will go by quickly, enjoy it!”
Croom noted that the UMO faculty will do everything they can to ensure the students’ lights will burn as bright as possible. “These folks will give you the resources to make sure that you have wonderful opportunities,” Croom said. “We just encourage you to take advantage of them.”
Croom referenced Matthew 5:14-16 and said, “You are the light of the world and you should let that light shine. Another main purpose you will have here at UMO is the opportunity to serve. That will begin tomorrow with our community service projects throughout the Town of Mount Olive. So, take advantage of making someone else’s life just a little bit better. That can be done by smiling, by speaking a good word, by giving someone a pat on the back, or helping someone out.”
Croom said he saw the sadness as parents, who have done everything possible to make their children’s lives successful, left their sons and daughter’s on campus. He encouraged students to call their parents. “It will brighten their day,” Croom said.
Dr. Todd Telemeco, UMO’s new Vice President for Academic Affairs, told the freshmen he was excited about starting his journey at UMO with them. He said they were joining a family. “Families experience a gamut of emotions and experiences — good and bad,” he said. “But what makes a family is that it sticks together — something that is very important.”
Mount Olive Mayor Kenny Talton welcomed students to the University and the town. He spoke of the importance the town-gown relationship and of making relationships that will last a lifetime.
Carolina Sound, UMO’s acapella group, led by Lester Rector, sang a Million Dreams from the Greatest Showman. The song was also sung at President Croom’s inauguration.
The convocation ended with a candlelight ceremony and the singing of the University’s alma mater. The ceremony closed out a busy day for the new students who began moving into their dorms at 9 AM. Following the ceremony, many of the Class of 2025 students headed over to the Alumni Dining Room for bingo night that featured food and prizes.