Mount Olive – Donnie and Linda Lassiter of Selma are as friendly and down to earth as any two people you will ever meet. They believe in God and love their family. The Lassiters work hard, and they play hard. The couple makes friends easily, and they give generously.
The Lassiters recognize their blessings, and because of them, they have freely given to many charitable organizations including the University of Mount Olive (UMO), where Donnie serves on the Board of Trustees. Most recently the couple has given UMO two very generous stock gifts. Those gifts will be directed to the Kornegay Student Farm and to the Chapel renovation project.
Donnie and Linda chose to give to the Chapel expansion because of their FWB roots and because it was one of the first structures built on the UMO Campus. The Lassiters are longtime members of Selma Original Free Will Baptist, where Linda has played the piano for nearly 50 years and where Donnie has served in many leadership positions.
The couple chose to contribute to the agriculture program because of their farming background. “We are pleased to be able to contribute to the Agriculture program which is doing amazing things under the guidance of Dr. Sandy Maddox,” Donnie said. “I grew up on a farm. Agriculture is a big part of Eastern North Carolina. UMO is positioned to have a lot of opportunity for growth in the areas of Ag business and Ag education. We want to help people complete their dreams.”
In 1987 Don was employed by Credit Card Software Systems where he was a co-founder. In 1997 he was co-founder of Omni-Card, Inc. where he served as President for two years. Omni-Card became Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (HPS). Don served in many management positions with HPS, including National Sales Manager. He retired from HPS in 2006 after an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
In April of this year, HPS was sold to Global Payment Systems for $4.3 billion which was divided among the shareholders, many of whom were employees. “When we were sold, we still had merchants that had been with us for over 20 years,” Donnie said. “We also had employees that had been with us almost from the beginning. The $4.3 billion would not have been possible in a 29-year period without strong relationships.”
Donnie and Linda shared all of this not to boast, but to talk about the importance of relationship building, of having confidence in what you believe in, of making the most of the time you have been given, and of giving back when you have been blessed.
“Helping other people, helping those less fortunate than you because you are giving back to them and to God, those are the things that make us happy,” Donnie said.
“We want to support the kind of things that we hope will be carried on after we are gone,” Linda shared, “things that will make a difference in the lives of others.”
Donnie added, “We want to help people complete their dreams. We want to help those that will one-day give back to others. I don’t know of a better way to do that than through education.”
Donnie and Linda have two children Sara Massey and Trent Lassiter. Trent is a UMO alumnus and is co-owner of Springhill Outfitters and owner of The Farm, an entertainment and meeting venue in Selma.
The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, and in Smithfield at Johnston Community College. For more information, visit www.umo.edu. (Press Release – University Of Mount Olive)