The University of Mount Olive celebrated 68 years of providing Christian higher education at the university’s annual Founders Day Worship Service. Special music was provided by the university’s Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, and Campus Ministry Leaders Lester and Holly Rector.
UMO President Dr. David Poole welcomed attendees and introduced special guest, Rose Raper, former first lady of Mount Olive College. During the service, Poole and Raper participated in a question and answer session enlightening audience members about the history and heritage of UMO. From driving her husband to meetings, to helping plant trees on the campus, Raper’s unique perspective from the sidelines of her husband’s historic presidency was both engaging and heartwarming. As a tribute, the Concert Choir and all attendees sang “Happy Birthday” to Raper for her 90th birthday.
Each year during the Founders Day celebration, the university awards one student with the Founders Leadership Award, a scholarship awarded in memory of the late Dr. W. Burkette Raper, president of Mount Olive College from 1954 to 1995. Payable on future educational expenses, the scholarship is presented to a senior in the traditional program who has distinguished him/herself as an individual of character and initiative and who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities toward making UMO the institution of Christian higher education envisioned by its founders. The recipient is selected by a committee of faculty, student and staff representatives.
This year’s award was presented to Leah Hanle, a psychology major and business administration minor from Germany. Hanle is an active member of UMO’s Psi Chi chapter and is a track and cross country runner. Throughout her time at UMO, Hanle has consistently taken a large number of credits and courses in various areas to challenge herself and satisfy her quench for learning.
Chair of the Department of Psychology Dr. Natalie Kemp said, “Leah Hanle is an individual of high character and initiative who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities. She never settles for less than the best in both her academic and personal life, and she always strives to learn more or explore the topics further. She is very talented, but still humble.”