north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     Since its establishment, Mount Olive College has been sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists. The institution was chartered in 1951 and opened in 1952 at Cragmont Assembly, the Free Will Baptist summer retreat grounds near Black Mountain, under the direction of the Reverend Lloyd Vernon. The School initially was called Mount Allen Junior College, taking its name from a mountain near Cragmont.

     The Free Will Baptist Church movement began in 1727 when Paul Palmer organized a church at Chowan, North Carolina, having relocated there after serving ministries in New Jersey and Maryland. Southern churches from multiple associations organized into a General Conference by 1921 and merged with a northern conference in 1935 to form the National Association of Free Will Baptists. Members of the Original Free Will Baptists churches associated themselves with the larger organization but many in North Carolina opposed portions of the new organization and split from the National Association in 1961.

     In September 1953, the College relocated to Mount Olive, nearer the center of denominational strength in the eastern section of the state. Under the leadership of the Reverend David W. Hansley, plans were made to develop a junior college offering programs in arts and sciences and business. The Reverend W. Burkette Raper was elected president in the summer of 1954, and in September the college began its first year with an enrollment of twenty-two students. In 1956, the name was changed to Mount Olive Junior College and ambitious plans were launched for an enlarged campus, one which today consists of 138 acres. In 1977 the convention requested that the board of trustees work toward making the college a four-year institution and, in 1986, Mount Olive College was accredited as a four-year institution to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.

Mount Olive Junior College Catalog (1969-70)
Mount Olive College website:
Goldsboro News Argus, January 26, 1969
Floyd B. Cherry, An Introduction to Original Free Will Baptists (1974)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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