David Cucci excels in biology.
Abigail Johnson grew up on a farm.
Keyauna Joyner loves animals.
Jasmine Williams wants to catch the bad guys.
Their diverse pursuits have led them — and others — to enroll in a well-respected university that’s neatly tucked away in the southern corner of Wayne County.
The quartet was among approximately 250 incoming freshmen who toured the University of Mount Olive campus during its Admitted Student Day last week.
Carrying a small shopping bag and freshly-wrapped desert, North Lenoir graduates Joyner and Williams stopped underneath a shade tree outside the student center.
“This is one of the schools that I wanted to go when I was in middle school, but I really haven’t looked that much into it,” Williams said. “When I actually started applying to colleges, I heard that this was a good school to go to. So, why not give it a shot?
“I want to study criminal justice because all schools don’t have it. I haven’t thought about what field I want to go into yet.”
Joyner, who said the campus appeared bigger than a picture she saw, is eager to work as a veterinarian. She’s always been fascinated by animals.
Johnson wants to assist farmers.
UMO’s family-like atmosphere and small classrooms that allow more hands-on instruction appealed to the Spring Creek grad. Plus, her brother is a fellow UMO alum.
“I’m majoring in agribusiness and I want to intern with Farm Bureau and Ag Carolina,” Johnson said. “I’m interested in selling insurance. My grandfather was a big-time farmer back in the day, and I want to be able to help farmers in my neighborhood.”
Cucci is a transfer from Louisburg College.
He’s interested in biomedical sciences, but also plays baseball.
The opportunity to play at a nationally-known powerhouse was too good to slip through his glove.
“I really enjoy biomedical sciences and can go on from here to get a really good job, but I also feel like I have a good chance to continue my dream of playing baseball at pro level,” Cucci said.
“They have a great program here … a dynasty.”
UMO advanced to the NCAA Southeast Regional in May. The Trojans won the NCAA Division II national crown in 2008.
During the four-hour event, freshmen attended a session with UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom, met with various department heads and picked up their student IDs.
After lunch, students toured the campus, visited residence halls and shopped at the student bookstore. Financial aid and admissions staff representatives answered questions and assisted with paperwork.
“We are so excited about having these incoming students and their parents on our campus,” said Tim Woodard, vice president for enrollment, marketing, and communications at UMO. “We are looking forward to a vibrant and active fall semester. If there are students out there that have not yet made their college selection, we would love to talk with them.
“There is still time to enroll at the University of Mount Olive.”
Student move-in day is Aug. 21.