Like mother – like daughters


The Fitzgerald sisters, Rebekah and Hannah show a little love to their mom, Rachel.

The Fitzgerald family — sisters Rebekah and Hannah and mother Rachel — on the campus of the University of Mount Olive, a place special to them all. (Courtesy photo)

MOUNT OLIVE — Mother’s Day is a celebration to honor those who are responsible for making us who we are and shaping our lives. With Mother’s Day quickly approaching, the Fitzgerald sisters, Rebekah and Hannah, decided to share just how much their mother has influenced and shaped their college experiences.

Sisters Rebekah and Hannah of Princeton both attend the University of Mount Olive. Rebekah is a junior majoring in history and minoring in religion. Hannah is a freshman majoring in graphic design and minoring in computer information systems. The sisters were drawn to the appealing atmosphere and the abundance of educational opportunities at UMO, but they were not the first members of the Fitzgerald family to attend the institution. The sisters’ mother, Rachel, attended the University from 1983 through 1986.

Rachel is originally from Wayne County and graduated from Southern Wayne High School in 1983. During the summer after her graduation, she toured the campus of UMO for the first time. “I loved the friendly staff on campus and I didn’t feel as if I’d be just a number in the classroom,” said Rachel. “I attended Mount Olive for three years and transferred to another college to finish off my degree and later met my husband, Larry, who I’ve been married to for 21 years. UMO taught me so many valuable lessons inside and outside of the classroom, so I always dreamed of my children making the same choice.”

When it came time for Rachel’s oldest child to make a college decision, the University of Mount Olive was a natural choice. “My mother advocated UMO from the very start of my college search,” explained Rebekah. “That helped me commit to the school and I am proud of my decision.”

Coincidentally, when Rebekah moved into the residence halls in the fall of 2012 as a freshman, her mother found herself walking down memory lane.

“Looking around my room, my mom acted sentimental, as I know many moms do,” said Rebekah. “However, when she looked at the number on the door, she exclaimed that it was her old room!”

When reflecting on her past three years at UMO, Rebekah added, “I always heard that college is a life changing experience, but I underestimated how much UMO would transform me! Not only have I met some of the best people through clubs and programs on campus, but I’ve also learned more than I ever thought possible. My college education has produced a gateway to endless possibilities for my future.”

Making the most of her college experience, Rebekah is an Honors student, the junior class representative for SGA, a campus tour guide, and a work study employee for the University’s chaplain. Additionally, Rebekah has read scriptures at the Tuesday chapel services and has spoken of her mission trip to Canada.

In the fall of 2014, Hannah joined Rebekah at UMO. She was heavily influenced by Rebekah’s success and received numerous scholarships to make the transition into college affordable.

“UMO has given me the opportunity to study what I am passionate about,” said Hannah. “I was inspired one day as I watched a Disney production. Since then, I am determined to pursue what I love; not what is easy. I am majoring in visual communications to make my dreams of a career in production into a reality.”

Hannah is a part of La Belle Époque, the University’s drama club. She recently worked as the photographer and the prop coordinator for the production of Mary Chase’s Harvey.

Rebekah and Hannah agree that attending the same university has benefitted their relationship and they are excited to create many more memories together at UMO. This Mother’s Day, Rebekah and Hannah will be grateful for everything that their mother has provided to them, including their family experience at the University of Mount Olive

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.

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