12/17/17 — University of Mount Olive graduates 300

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University of Mount Olive graduates 300

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 17, 2017 3:05 AM

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Jennifer Nicole King, Cassandra Renae Kelley and Carol Hill clap and smile after turning their tassels Saturday during commencement at the University of Mount Olive. The three were granted master of science in nursing degrees.

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Sarah Best accepts the Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence at fall commencement for the University of Mount Olive Saturday.

Saturday was a day of accomplishments for Candice Worrells.

The Goldsboro mom of two received a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in human resource management from the University of Mount Olive

But just as importantly for Worrells is that she has shown her children that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

And the accomplishments are not over, Worrells will begin the university's master's in business program in January.

Worrells was among the 300 who received their degrees Saturday afternoon during the university's 64th commencement at Kornegay Arena.

The ceremony did not start until 2 p.m. but the arena parking lot was filling up well before 1:30 p.m.

A glitch in a livestream of the ceremony prompted university officials to ask audience members to move in closer to one another to accommodate more than 30 people from the university's Southern Bank Auditorium.

"I love education, and while I have the spirit of getting things done and wanting to accomplish and achieve all my goals and have the spirit to do it I am going to keep going until I finish," said Worrells, 32, who also works part time at Sam's Club.

"On top of achieving my career goals and my educational goals I just wanted to be an example to my kids -- hard work pays off, education is important, knowledge is powerful in so many aspects and no matter what happens they can achieve and they will achieve as long as they don't give up. That is why I brought my daughter, Kiley."

Smiling, Kiley said she is proud of her mother.

Worrells, who received her associate's degree from the university in 2014, started as a traditional student before switching to the non-traditional track.

She came on campus one night a week and completed online classes as well.

Congressman K. Michael Conaway, who is serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, gave the commencement address.

"All of you who are about to get your degrees are here today along that long path that you have walked in preparation for some special purpose -- something that I believe God has for each one of us," he said.

Conaway spoke of the history of the Free Will Baptists who were driven to America from their native land.

"What shall you, graduates, pay forward for those of faith who helped you get here today?" he said. "God has a special perfect plan for each one of you as you sit out there. It is your job to try to figure out what that is."

He told the graduates that their parents, spouses and children have high expectations of them.

"Not only that, our world desperately needs your best," Conaway said. "In five or six or seven years from now you will begin to step into leadership roles across whatever industries you are going to go into.

"We are going to leave you with some real daunting problems that you will have to solve, and we need your absolute best to make that happen. One of you might be that doctor that cures cancer. One of you might be the president of the United States."

Earl Worley Jr., chairman of the university board of trustees, told the soon-to-be graduates that he knew their efforts had been aided by family and friends.

"This is a special day for each and every one of you," he said. "As an alumnus of the university, I can recall the pride and joy I felt upon the completion of my degree program.

"I sincerely hope that you have the same sense of pride that I felt on the day that I graduated. Congratulations and as you embark on the next stage of your life know that you go with the best wishes of the board of trustees."