Mount Olive – The University of Mount Olive will graduate approximately 250 students on Saturday. Commencement exercises are scheduled for 2 PM in the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena on the Mount Olive Campus.
Businessman and UMO Board Member Donnie Lassiter will be the commencement speaker. Lassiter grew up on a farm in the Micro-Selma area and graduated from North Johnston High School in 1970. He earned his B.S. degree in biology with a teaching certificate from Atlantic Christian College in Wilson.
After graduation, Lassiter returned to the family farm where he was active in farming for the next 12 years. In 1987, he co-founded Credit Card Software Systems. In 1997, Lassiter co-founded Omni-Card, Inc., where he served as President for two years. Omni-Card later became Heartland Payment Systems, Inc (HPS), where Lassiter served in many management positions, including National Sales Manager. He retired from HPS in 2006 after an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
Growing up, Lassiter attended Pleasant Plain Free Will Baptist Church in Selma. He and his family have attended Selma Original Free Will Baptist (OFWB) Church in Selma for many years and are all active in the duties of the church. He has served as Sunday School teacher, Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Trustee,Sunday School Superintendent, and many others.
Lassiter’s commitment to community service has led him to service on the boards of Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center, Johnston County Health Foundation, Tobacco Farm Life Museum in Kenly, Cragmont Assembly, ECU Hospitality Department Board of Advisors, and Duck’s Unlimited State Board. He currently serves as President and Chairman of the Board for the North Carolina Foundation for Christian Ministries and on the University of Mount Olive Board of Trustees.
Lassiter and his wife, Linda, have been married for 43 years, and they reside in Selma. They have two grown children, Sara and Trent. Trent is a UMO graduate. The Lassiters also have two grandchildren.
Preceding the graduation ceremony will be the baccalaureate service at 10:30 AM in Southern Bank Auditorium with the Reverend Dustin Banister as the speaker.He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Mount Olive and his Master of Divinity from Campbell University Divinity School. Banister also serves on the Central Conference Board of Ordination, the Ministerial Association Executive Committee, and the Commission for Education Committee. He is married to Danielle Bannister. They live in Goldsboro and they expect to be new parents in December.
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.