Graduating senior Emily Woodward received the distinguished Dr. Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence at the University of Mount Olive’s December Commencement. The award is presented to the UMO senior from the traditional academic program graduating with the highest grade point average. The award is made possible through the generosity of Dr. Thomas R. Morris and includes a $3,000 check.
Woodward graduated Saturday with her bachelor’s degree in special education. She plans to teach at Pine Level Elementary School in Johnston County.
“Emily is one of the most conscientious students I know, and she is always striving to be the best she can be as a person and future educator,” said assistant dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Amanda Bullard-Maxwell. “She embodies all the ideal personal attributes of a special education teacher. She is loving and accepting, creative and enthusiastic, confident and calm, humorous and easygoing, as well as dedicated and optimistic.”
Professor of Education Dr. Harold Griffin agreed.
“Emily is an outstanding person and student,” he said. “She has always been active and motivated within her program. She is and will be an outstanding professional in the field of special education.”
Benefactor of the Morris Award is retired Goldsboro optometrist, Dr. Thomas R. Morris. A native of Nahunta in Wayne County, Dr. Morris was raised in the Union Grove OFWB Church. A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, he now resides in Wilmington. Woodward is the daughter of Dennis and Jennifer Woodward.