Smithfield funds $250K scholarship at Mount Olive University

Posted: 25 March 2024 | | No comments yet

Smithfield Foods has established a $250,000 endowed scholarship programme at University of Mount Olive.


Smithfield Foods has announced the creation of an an endowed scholarship programme that it claims will “benefit leaders of tomorrow” at the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina.

The scholarship builds on Smithfield’s commitment to improve access to education and provide educational opportunities for the dependents of Smithfield’s contract growers.

“As each generation becomes further removed from the farm, there’s a critical need for new talent to enter the field of agriculture. We’re proud to be able to make these scholarships available to give dedicated young men and women the resources they need to succeed,” said Kraig Westerbeek, President of Smithfield hog production.

“We are very appreciative of Smithfield Foods’ continued support of our agricultural programs,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom.

“Recruiting top talent is a priority not only for the university, but also for the business community at large that experiences the workforce shortage. This Smithfield scholarship is the newest partnership that will impact our future students and further impact the communities of our graduates,” continued Dr Croom.

Smithfield Food and Mount Olive University have shared that they will award one rising junior and senior student each year and will cover a portion of the students’ cost of tuition and fees.

Scholarship recipients must demonstrate academic excellence and pursue studies and a career in agriculture, engineering, operations or supply chain, and must complete a paid summer internship with Smithfield Foods. In addition, rising seniors must plan to work for the company full-time following graduation or be employed full-time by a current hog producer for Smithfield.

Following graduation, interested students will be able to enroll in Smithfield’s Career Foundations Program, which provides “high-potential candidates” with critical training and career mentorship resources at the onset of their professional careers.

“The food industry shows university isn’t the only route to success”

The Mount Olive endowed scholarship program complements the Smithfield scholarship programme, which provides scholarships to eligible dependents of the company’s employees. Since the programmes inception, Smithfield has reportedly provided nearly 1,600 annual scholarships worth nearly $9 million.

Edward Olive, Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center, said, “Smithfield Foods has supported the University of Mount Olive in many ways over the years. They are a sponsor of our annual AgFest event.

“They provide students with opportunities for internships and careers. They send company representatives to speak to various classes and clubs, and so much more. We are excited to see our partnership with Smithfield grow even further. As a UMO alumnus and staff member, I am very excited for this new scholarship endowment and sincerely appreciate Smithfield’s commitment to our students and our community,” concluded Olive.

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