Mount Olive College President Philip Kerstetter announced Monday the school will officially become the University of Mount Olive starting January 1st.
Kerstetter says the name change was recommended by the administration and approved by the board of trustees.
He says everything from athletic uniforms to signage will ultimately be changed- and due to the cost, will happen gradually over the next several months.
"The timing is right to take on the title of university," said Board Chair Darrell Horne. "The elevation from Mount Olive College to the University of Mount Olive acknowledges the continued growth and success of the institution while providing students and graduates additional prominence in today's competitive job market. We believe the word 'university' more accurately reflects the current complexity of our academic programs and ultimately enhances the value of a Mount Olive degree for past, present and future graduates."
Kerstetter said, "This historic moment prompts time for reflection upon the legacy provided for us by our founding sponsors, the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. As visionary leaders, they saw the need for an educational institution that would serve the region and the church, and we have continued to build upon that vision. As the needs of the students, the region, and the church have evolved, this institution has had the foresight to anticipate those changes and the ability to respond accordingly. Over the past 62 years, we have witnessed the transition from a junior college to a four-year college, and now the transition to a university with an emerging graduate program."
Kerstetter indicated that, despite the rapid growth, the core commitments of the institution remain the same. "The name change marks a logical progression of growth and development for an institution of higher learning," Kerstetter said. "Although our name will change, we remain a Christian faith-based, values-centered institution that offers a variety of educational programs that all have their roots in the liberal arts."
According to Kerstetter, becoming a university will benefit the institution on a number of levels. The new designation will help boost marketing and branding for the school.