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Volume 6, Issue 1 | FALL 2016

UM Welcomes New President 1

FALL 2016 Volume 6 Issue 1

President | Dr. Tim Smith Editor | Lesa Moore Copy Editor | Kathy Dean Graphic Designer | Jay Adcock, Staff Writers | Ashley Bonds, Renee Busby, David Cagle, Elissa Chamberlain, Shannon Mason, Trey Taulbee Staff Designer | Amanda Pritchard Class Notes | David Cagle Photographers | Dan Anderson, G.M. Andrews, Hunter Ballard, Ashley Bonds, Kathy Dean, Eatmon Photography, Garrett Hughes, Harrison Hughes, Mike Kittrell, Lesa Moore, Denis Palmer, Trey Taulbee, Denise Webber Cover Photo | By Trey Taulbee Editorial Office University of Mobile, TorchLight 5735 College Parkway Mobile, Alabama 36613 Phone: 251.442.2210 Email: TorchLight is published by University of Mobile Office of Marketing and Public Relations and is distributed free of charge to alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the university. Issues may be viewed online at Postmaster: send address changes to Office of Marketing and Public Relations, University of Mobile, 5735 College Parkway, Mobile, AL 36613.



4 President’s Message

30 We Have A New President!

6 University News

Dr. & Mrs. Smith


38 Hold On Tight The Foley Years

50 RamCorps Cruises

with Duck Commander

52 Dr. Fred Lackey 56 Project Serve

Celebrating 5 Years

16 Giving ALUMNI 50 Alumni Stories Jared Freeman Jordan Van Matre Megan Brazel Morgan Carnly Rebecca Capone Johnson Alumni Baseball Game 104 Campus Corner 106 Class Notes

70 Intentional Influence 82 The Master Advantage Photo by Dan Anderson 3

president’s message


reetings! It is indeed an honor to greet you as the fourth president of the University of Mobile. It is an exciting time in which to build upon the strong heritage of the university, reflect upon the blessings of God and pray for divine direction in the days ahead. Transition is a time of change that inspires us to give thanks. I am especially thankful for Dr. Foley’s 18 years of service to the university which provided a foundation of academic programs, community partnerships and strong graduates serving the Lord in their calling. As I ponder the transition and give thanks to Jesus Christ for the opportunity to serve, I am delighted my wife, Penney, and I have joined the tremendously gifted faculty and staff to partner in accomplishing one primary responsibility. Our responsibility is to provide a Christ-centered university that renews the minds of students through cognitive and spiritual development within one’s discipline while preparing students to fulfill the Great Commission as called upon by God following graduation. This responsibility is a welcomed privilege as the world continues to distract our young men and women. We have an opportunity to provide Christian higher education through a venue that allows traditional and non-traditional students to engage in the learning of processes and principles within one’s discipline while coming to understand the ultimate purpose in fulfilling one’s calling. This is a “head-to-heart” transformation during the educational process that God has graciously entrusted to us as leaders and providers of Christian higher education. May we dutifully fulfill this responsibility in the days ahead. Fulfilling this calling will take much work as new campus enhancements will be undertaken, new academic programs will emerge and new partnerships will be developed throughout the community and regional area. It is my hope that you will join us in this renewed mission through continued prayers, visiting campus, recommending students to enroll in the University and being a partner in the initiatives that will be unveiled in the days ahead. Together, we will build a stronger University of Mobile and community that will allow more graduates to fulfill the Great Commission and bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Blessings,

Timothy L. Smith, PhD, PhD President Higher Education for a Higher Purpose


Change is invigorating, and the arrival of a new president with a new vision creates excitement. To capitalize on this excitement, University of Mobile Office of Marketing and Public Relations developed a rebranding campaign that reflects a new vision while celebrating the university’s rich tradition. The new look moves away from contemporary, casual messaging that focuses on the campus life experience and embraces a timeless, traditional, stately image more in keeping with a rigorous, Christ-centered institution focused on academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Updates include: • Redesign of the University of Mobile seal, logo and magazine • New tagline: Higher Education for a Higher Purpose • New recruiting campaign: Know and Be Known University of Mobile Seal The official seal of University of Mobile has its origins in a financial campaign launched in 1960 to raise support for a Christian college in Mobile, Alabama. Elements of the original design for the campaign logo were incorporated in the official seal, which is an expression of the university’s identity and academic character. The new seal updates these original elements and introduces symbols that reflect the university’s Christian identity, partnered with themes of service and collaboration. Each element has meaning: • Three Circles: Represent the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. • Torch and Flame: Represent truth and knowledge. Also symbolize Jesus Christ as Light of the World, God as the Source of Divine Wisdom, and a renewed spirit and transformed mind that is the aim of a University of Mobile education. • Stars: Represent God’s guidance and man’s aspiration. • Oak Laurel: Represents the spirit of collaboration, partnership and community. Symbolizes a strong foundation, continued growth, and serves as a reminder of the oaks of Mobile, Alabama, and the historic Eichold Oaks on campus. The leaves are specifically drawn to represent the Live Oak variety of oak trees. • The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom: A quotation from Proverbs 9:10 and a declaration of the spiritual perspective of the university. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” • Imago Dei: Recognizes mankind as the image-bearers of God referencing Genesis 1:27, wherein “God created man in his own image…” • 1961: Indicates the year University of Mobile was founded. ‘Know and Be Known’ Campaign The latter part of Proverbs 9:10 states “…and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” The new recruiting campaign, “Know and Be Known,” capitalizes on the world “knowledge” and emphasizes rigorous academics and spiritual transformation in an environment that is personal and caring. The campaign focuses on helping students Know God’s purpose; challenging them academically so they will Know their field of study; inviting them to a community where they will Be Known by name, not lost in a crowd, and equipping them to be successful when they graduate so they will Be Known as a respected person in their chosen field. Circle Torch Logo The new logo uses the torch and flame from the university seal over a shaded globe, representing our Great Commission calling to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. The redesigned University of Mobile Torch magazine is an update of the Mobile College Torchlight newsletter from the 1970s – 1990s. 5

U o

university news

University of Mobile Named One of ‘50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges’ in the U.S. University of Mobile has been named one of the “50 Most Beautiful Christian Colleges and Universities” in the United States for 2016 by Christian Universities Online, a resource for information about Christian higher education. University of Mobile was praised for its sprawling, suburban campus of 880 acres nestled in the middle of a forest, with well-designed grounds and “a wonderfully natural setting.” “At Christian Universities Online, we understand that students make their choice of school based on a multitude of factors. The natural surroundings, layout and beauty of the campus have considerable weight in this decision,” the organization explained in its listing at Campuses were scored based on continuity of campus, architectural style, signature buildings and natural setting. Universities considered for the honor are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Photo by G.M. Andrews


Photo by G.M. Andrews

FOX News Channel’s Bret Baier Talks About Prayer and Politics at 11th Annual University of Mobile Leadership Banquet Bret Baier, chief political anchor for Fox News Channel, spoke about the power of prayer and the problems in Washington during the 11th annual University of Mobile Leadership Banquet on April 28. The annual fundraiser for the Christian university has raised more than $2.5 million toward scholarships since it was started 11 years ago. This year the event raised nearly $128,000 as an audience of about 700 gathered at the Mobile Convention Center to hear Baier’s talk, along with performances by universty ensembles Voices of Mobile and Welsh Revival. Special guests were over 35 World War II veterans, including a 105-yearold dressed in uniform. “Voices of Mobile – spectacular! I think they should be in Washington and do some things there, maybe turn some things around,” Baier said. He told the audience that the political system in Washington is broken, and something has to change. “Both sides will tell you it’s broken,” he said. “But there is hope. There are people thinking about big things, on both sides of the aisle.” Baier spoke about hope on a more personal level as he told about the birth of his first son, Paul. Paul was born nearly nine years ago with five congenital heart defects and has had three open-heart surgeries and eight

angioplasties. Baier wrote a New York Times best-selling book about the experience, titled “Special Hearts.” “He was our first son, and we were ecstatic when we were told he was a boy. I was thinking Master’s champion, Super Bowl ring, all kinds of things,” Baier said. After Paul was born, “The doctor comes in and says, ‘your son has to have emergency surgery in the next few days, or he’s going to die.’ So we went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in a matter of minutes. And all those things In my head changed dramatically,” Baier said. He recalled the period after Paul’s first surgery. “At that moment, we’re in the cardiac intensive care unit. Our son is there; they leave the chest open with a clear plastic bandage over the middle of the chest. Amy and I were over the crib, watching Paul’s heart, a little walnutsized heart, beat – in his chest. At that moment, it all changes. You pray to God and say, thank God that this heart was still beating – every beat, I was saying that. You thank God for the doctors and nurses who performed this amazing thing. But you’re scared. And it changes your world view.” He sent out a daily email to family and friends to give them updates from the hospital, and the email was shared again and again. Then they started to

receive emails back – people were praying for them. “The thing that got us through it were the prayers of people, sending in prayers on emails. Every day I would get about 300 prayers on email. And I would sit by Paul with Amy and read them,” he said. One email was from a pastor in Katy, Texas. “He was a Baptist pastor. I emailed back and forth with him, and said, ‘You understand I’m Catholic.’ And he said, ‘I don’t care what you are.’ And I said, ‘Well, I appreciate the spiritual connection we have. And his prayers really seemed to lift us up. “And suddenly we were thinking we had to be the parents that Paul needed us to be. It was time to change the dynamic. We were going to be optimistic, and every day was about one day closer to getting Paul home.” Later, on a book tour, Baier made a point to stop in Katy, Texas, and meet Randy White, then pastor of First Baptist Church of Katy. “We cried in Barnes and Noble. I gave him a big hug. And I said, ‘That helped us. It helped us.’ I still talk to him, all the time. So this Catholic has a spiritual advisor who is a Baptist pastor in Katy, Texas.” Baier said the experience has taught him two things. “One, think big, think optimistic. Think that you can control your future. Two, trust in the guy upstairs, and make it about family and friends,” he said. The experience, he said, changed his life and changed his perspective, making him a better person. “You all, and your talk about faith, encourages me to bring that home,” he told the crowd of UMobile supporters. “I’m not afraid to talk about it, as you can see, and hopefully that changes something along the way. I think that’s what we all hope for.”

Photo by G.M. Andrews

University of Mobile Presents Presidential Leadership Award to Single Mom of 5 Majoring in Education University of Mobile awarded its prestigious Presidential Leadership Award to Shawn Ashcraft of Wilmer, AL, during the 11th annual University of Mobile Leadership Banquet on April 28. Ashcraft was presented with a $5,000 scholarship during the banquet at the Mobile Convention Center, where an audience of about 700 gathered for the Christian university’s annual fundraiser. Fox News Channel Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier addressed the gathering, and Voices of Mobile and Welsh Revival ensembles from the UMobile Center for Performing Arts entertained. Ashcraft is a junior majoring in early childhood and elementary education through the Adult and Graduate Studies program, which offers programs for adults who are beginning or continuing their college degrees. The award is given to an outstanding student who demonstrates responsibility to God, responsibility for others, voluntary self-sacrifice for the good of the whole, leadership and academic achievement.

Ashcraft is a single mother with five children who enrolled at University of Mobile when she became the sole support for her family. “Shawn has accepted the challenges of raising her family alone, improving their lots in life by getting her education, and striven to set an appropriate, godly example to her children and those around her,” said Danny Chancey, director for Adult and Graduate Studies. In nominating Ashcraft for the scholarship, Chancey said, “Her attitudes of complete reliability on God, her desire to please Him, and her responsibility as a parent to lead her children to love Him and feel a compunction to serve Him have been driving forces in her life.” She is director and kindergarten teacher for her church’s private school, which was formed when her pastor saw the need for a private Christian school in their area. Ashcraft has been recognized for her academic achievement by being inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda honorary society for adult students. 7

university news

UM Named in ‘50 Best Value Christian MBA Programs’ University of Mobile has been named among “50 Best Value Christian M.B.A. Programs” for 2015 by Christian Universities Online, an online guide to Christian colleges and universities. UM was listed as 14th in the ranking, which cited the school’s small class size, personal attention, and accreditation. Schools were ranked based upon the number of Master of Business Administration concentrations offered, tuition costs, and special business school accreditation. University of Mobile School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and

Programs to offer the Bachelor of Science with majors in accounting, business administration and computer information systems; the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Master of Business Administration. According to the guide, “The institutions in our ranking not only position their graduates for a significant increase in their salary, but they also equip and train their graduates to integrate their Christian faith into the fast-paced and challenging environment they will face upon graduation.” The rankings are at

RamCorps & Voices of Mobile Release Albums RamCorps, a 30-member high impact visual brass and percussion ensemble from University of Mobile, recorded its second album, “The Movement,” at Starstruck Studios in Nashville, TN. The album was recorded in May and will be released in August of 2016. RamCorps traveled to Nashville to record in a professional studio owned by two-time Grammy Award winner Reba McEntire. Students worked with professional Nashville musicians as well as Tom Reeves, a music producer and mixing engineer at Westpark Creative Group who has worked with The Imperials, Dolly Parton, Lifeway, Dollywood Entertainment, Opryland Entertainment, Celebrity Cruises, World Entertainment, Warner Music and many more. In addition, the Christian vocal group Voices of Mobile released a new album of worship music on iTunes and took a summer tour to six southern states and the Caribbean. “Here in this House” includes fresh, new arrangements of old hymns and


Photo by Harrison Hughes

popular Christian songs. Songs include the hymns “Come Thou Fount” and “I Surrender All,” and popular tunes “Praise the Lord” and “It’s Still the Cross.” Highlights include remakes of hits by the contemporary Christian vocal group TRUTH founded by Gospel Music Hall of Fame member Roger Breland. Former TRUTH member Greg Wiggins, now an adjunct music instructor at University of Mobile, composed new arrangements of TRUTH favorites “He is Able” and “Potter’s House.” “Here in this House” is available on iTunes.

University of Mobile Named #2 College in Alabama By University of Mobile is one of the top two four-year colleges in Alabama, according to the 2016 Best Colleges ranking for campus programs by The rankings measure a school’s academic quality, affordability and student experience, according to, which compiles user-friendly guides and rankings to help students find the school that best meets their needs and educational goals. evaluates over 2,400 higher education institutions and lists 213 rankings for different aspects of the college experience. UM ranked second in Alabama out of over 80 collegiate institutions in the state for its on-campus program, and fifth in Alabama for its online program. Regarding the on-campus program, noted, “UM is acclaimed as one of Alabama’s best colleges not only for its affordable cost, but also for its wide variety of academic offerings and 14:1 studentfaculty ratio. As a private Baptist institution, strong Christian values are reflected in the lifestyle and curriculum of the university.” The online ranking cited the university’s “unique distance education program” that offers degree programs fully online, with options for on-campus coursework as well. Typical online courses last eight weeks. The 2016 rankings are based on statistics from the 2013-2014 academic year. Currently, UM’s student-faculty ratio is 13:1, a ratio that means students have small classes and easy access to professors. The complete list is posted at best-colleges-in-alabama/.

University of Mobile Names Chris McCaghren, Ed.D., As Vice President for Academic Affairs University of Mobile has named Alabama native and former Samford University administrator Christopher McCaghren, Ed.D., as vice president for academic affairs. McCaghren was formerly dean of the College of Education at Anderson University in South Carolina, where he served with then-provost Dr. Tim Smith. Previously, McCaghren was assistant to the president for external programs at Samford University in Alabama, where he was mentored by Samford President Dr. Andrew Westmoreland. “Christian higher education is truly my passion,” said McCaghren, adding that “it stands in a unique crossroads between ministry and the world.” McCaghren will start his new position July 18. He will lead UM’s academic programs, including areas such as the library, adult and graduate studies, academic support and the registrar’s office. He succeeds Dr. Audrey Eubanks, who has served at UM for 34 years, including 27 years in administration. In recognition of her dedicated and effective service, the Board of Trustees named her Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer Emeritus. Effective July 18, she joined the faculty as professor in the School of Education. She started at the university in 1982 as assistant professor of education, becoming professor in 1991. During her tenure, she served as dean of the School of Education, director of graduate programs, vice president for administration, and, since 2002, as vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer, and first vice president for University of Mobile Corp. UM President Smith said, “Dr. Chris McCaghren is one of the premier

academic leaders of Alabama Baptist higher education, and University of Mobile is grateful to have him join our team as vice president for academic affairs. His solid academic preparation, prior relationships throughout Southern Baptist life in Alabama, and his unique academic experiences as an educator and administrator will serve to foster the ongoing growth of University of Mobile.” Dr. Andrew Westmoreland, president of Samford University, also praised McCaghren. “Dr. McCaghren’s varied background and experience will effectively serve the interests of University of Mobile in his new role as vice president for academic affairs. I have known him for a decade, first as an exceptionally bright student, then as an inspired, tireless administrator, and always as a friend. It is an honor to welcome him back to Alabama to serve alongside our colleagues at University of Mobile,” Westmoreland said. McCaghren described his approach to academics as “education innovation.” “I adopt a steady entrepreneurial spirit that is defined by a mentality of measurable outcomes and datadriven improvement. I also have a great respect for the tradition and collaborative outlook that is typical of a collegial environment. Bringing those two aspects of higher education together is really where I find my greatest passion,” he said. McCaghren said new program development is a top priority, with a goal “to continue to position University of Mobile as an academically rigorous

and Christ-centered institution of higher education, not only in the state of Alabama, but in the Southeast; and to ensure that we are equipping our students to go about their academic disciplines with a focus on ministry wherever they might be, and sending those students out into a world that certainly needs that perspective.” A native of Montgomery, AL, McCaghren holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in communication studies and classics from Samford University, a Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) from Beeson Divinity School, and a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University. He began his career in higher education working in advancement for Samford University before serving as special assistant to Congressman Spencer Bachus in Washington, D.C. Prior to being called as dean of the College of Education at Anderson University, he served as assistant to the president for external programs and division head for the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies at Samford University. He is married to Lauren McCaghren, and they have a 14-month-old daughter, Callen. 9

university news

Megginson Awards Presented to Outstanding Faculty Member and Support Staff University of Mobile’s highest faculty and staff honors, the Megginson Awards, were presented at the annual year-end faculty-staff luncheon May 11 at Ram Hall on campus. The Megginson Awards are chosen by committees of peers from among nominations sent by students, faculty and staff. The 2016 William A. Megginson Teaching Award was presented to Kenn Hughes, who is completing his sixth year of teaching as director of instrumental studies in the Center for Performing Arts. Dr. Ted Mashburn, professor of humanities, presented the award and said Hughes maintains a level of excellence in the classroom that includes traditional and experiential approaches. Hughes’ students “are frequently ‘buzzing’ with excitement as they apply their learning lab situations, live performance/application and academic scholarship,” said Mashburn. Mashburn said Hughes’ performing ensemble, RamCorps, “has become one of the most versatile and unique ensembles in the country, presenting concerts and workshops in schools, churches, community events and on cruise ships.” Hughes “creative approach” with RamCorps, said Mashburn, has given students in the performing ensemble the “opportunity to work with students around the globe, including the Caribbean, Russia, Turks and Caicos and at the Olympics. “Kenn Hughes travels every weekend with RamCorps as they minister, recruit and perform in schools and churches across the country,” said Mashburn. The 2016 Emma Frances Megginson Service Award was presented to Dr. Pamela Buchanan Miller. Dr. Lonnie


Burnett, chair of the Emma Frances Megginson Service Award committee, and dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, presented the award to Miller. Miller is director for faculty support and Quality Enhancement Program (QEP). Among her many duties, she is responsible for assisting the faculty with the development of online courses. Miller is “a tireless worker who handles her responsibilities with grace and good humor,” said Burnett, adding, “I am confident that without Dr. Miller’s diligence, our online program could not have launched successfully.” In nomination letters, she was described as someone who “brings her optimism to every endeavor,” is “the heartbeat of our online program” and “promotes the philosophy of UM in the way tha she personifies Christ through her relationships with students, staff, and faculty as she

Photos by Trey Taulbee

fulfills her responsibilities.” Faculty and individuals who received the Megginson awards were nominated by letters from other faculty and staff members describing their character, ethics, accomplishments and contributions to UM.

UM Sports Information Office Wins Six NAIA-SIDA Awards University of Mobile sports information director Matthew Hicks earned six awards in the 2016 NAIASIDA Publications and Media Contest. Hicks was the only sports information director to earn at least one award in the categories of publications, infographics, social media and video. Hicks was assisted by students Hunter Ballard, Josh Hollingsworth, Derrick Sloan and Nick Van Amerom.

Hicks just finished his 10th year as the university’s sports information director and was named Southern States Athletic Conference Sports Information Director of the Year for the second straight season.

University of Mobile Gives Top Graduation Awards to Tinsley Griffin and Aaron Pouncey

Track and Field Awards University of Mobile’s Jonina Brinson won the individual NAIA National Championship in the long jump at the 2016 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship. Brinson previously won the indoor national championship in the long jump this season. She was also honored as the USTFCCCA Women’s Field Athlete of the Year for the South Region. Brinson, a sophomore from Swainsboro, GA, won the championship with a jump of 5.86 meters, and four of her six jumps were better than the next closest competitor. She was previously named SSAC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, NAIA Women’s Outdoor Field Athlete of the Week and USTFCCCA Regional Indoor Field Athlete of the Year. She also earned three NAIA All-American honors at the indoor championships and won seven SSAC Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors. Andy Canegitta, UM’s Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Coach, was named Coach of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. He was previously named SSAC Men’s Track and Field Coach of the Year this season and led the men’s team to the 2016 SSAC Championship in only the program’s second year. His men’s and women’s athletes won 15 of 24 SSAC Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors.

University of Mobile presented its top two awards to the outstanding male and female graduate selected by vote of the faculty during commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 14, at the Mobile Civic Center. Both awards are presented to graduates who exemplify the mission of the university and selection is based on scholarship, Christian character, leadership and service. Over 285 candidates received degrees at the Christian university’s 49th commencement. The Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award was presented to Tinsley Griffin of Savannah, GA. Griffin graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA and a Bachelor of Arts in political science. She also received the President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, Political Science Area Award and is an Honors with Thesis Program graduate. Griffin was accepted to 11 law schools and will pursue her juris doctor at the University of Alabama School of Law. She is a founding member of UM’s Mock Trial Club, and won awards for her role as attorney at the American Mock Trial Association tournament two years in a row. She is student leader and musician in Welsh Revival, a music ensemble in UM’s Center for Performing Arts that travels across the country performing in churches and at civic events. Griffin is vice president and former senator of the Student Government Association, served as executive board member and team captain of the

Mock Trial Club, is Alpha Chi Honors Society’s representative to the SGA, and was president of the Honors Council. She is a Chatham County Distinguished Young Women program volunteer and was assistant coordinator, has served on the campaigns of a U.S. representative and a Public Service commissioner, was orchestra assistant for the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra, a tutor for the Savannah Baptist Center, and helps teach at the Southside Baptist Church nursery. The William K. Weaver Jr. Excellence Award was presented to Aaron Pouncey of Mobile, who graduated summa cum laude with a 3.99 GPA and a Bachelor of Science in music education. Pouncey is a member of Voices of Mobile, a vocal ensemble in the UM Center for Performing Arts that tours internationally. He has been first tenor in the Voices of Mobile for three years and has been a featured soloist in several operas and the university’s annual Christmas Spectacular. He has been a member of Chamber Singers, University Singers, Covenant Gospel Quartet and UM Opera Workshop. He recently completed student teaching, and plans to pursue a career in music ministry and music education. Pouncey was nominated for the Weaver award by faculty in the School of Education, who described him as “a great example of a scholarly musician.” 11

university news

Spring Spectacular 2016

12 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 13

university news

Photo by Trey Taulbee

University of Mobile School of Music Named in Honor of Gospel Music Hall of Fame’s Roger Breland University of Mobile has named its school of music The Roger Breland School of Music in honor of one of the early leaders in contemporary Christian music and a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The naming reflects the impact Breland has had on the growth and development of the Christian university’s school of music, which he joined in 2002 as artist-in-residence, becoming executive director in 2003. Under Breland’s influence, the university’s music program embraced both classical and contemporary Christian training, added academic majors, created 22 performing ensembles to provide students with practical hands-on experience, presented concerts worldwide, and established the Christmas Spectacular concert attended by over 8,000 annually and broadcast internationally. During his tenure, the university founded 8Eighty Records recording label, built a professional recording studio on campus, and created the School of Worship Leadership.


The university’s already wellrespected school of music grew from 45 music majors, with 60 in choir and four vocal or instrumental ensembles, to 227 students who major or minor in music and perform in at least one of 22 ensembles. “Dr. Breland’s emphasis on excellence is at the heart of the music program he envisioned and was instrumental in building at the University of Mobile,” said Dr. Mark Foley, who originally tapped Breland to lead the program. The university’s Board of Trustees approved the naming, and Breland was surprised with a presentation March 2 during choir practice in Martin Hall. Students in the Bergdolt Choral Hall gave Breland two standing ovations during the presentation. “For more than four decades, Roger Breland has been a mentor to young Christian musicians,” Foley said, pointing to Breland’s 31-year career as founder and director of TRUTH, one of the first internationally successful contemporary Christian recording and

performing groups. Breland was instrumental in launching the careers of Christian musicians and former members of TRUTH such as Steve Green, Alicia, 4Him, Avalon and Russ Lee. TRUTH traveled 3 million miles, performed 10,000 concerts in 26 countries, made 60 albums, and involved 400 musical artists, many of whom are now popular Christian recording artists. The Gospel Music Association inducted Breland and TRUTH into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Most recently, Breland is credited with launching the music careers of Veritas, a male vocal group that started as the University of Mobile ensemble Shofar. The UM graduates currently are on tour with five-time Grammy Award winner Sandi Patty. Breland holds a Bachelor in Music Education from Troy University. Prior to starting TRUTH with his wife, Linda, in 1971, Breland served as minister of music and youth at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile.

WoMen’s soccer Schedule

Volleyball Schedule

Aug. 26-27 Sept. 2-3 Sept. 2 Sept. 2 Sept. 3 Sept. 3 Sept. 6 Sept. 10 Sept. 13 Sept. 15 Sept. 16 Sept. 17 Sept. 20 Sept. 22 Sept. 24 Sept. 24 Sept. 29 Sept. 30 Oct. 8 Oct. 11 Oct. 13 Oct. 15 Oct. 15 Oct. 18 Oct. 21 Oct. 22 Oct. 27 Oct. 28 Oct. 29 Nov. 1 Nov. 3 Nov. 4

Faulkner University Tournament Away Southeastern Conference Challenge Away Union College Away Warner University Away Georgetown College Away St. Catharine College Away *William Carey University Home *Loyola University Home Spring Hill College Home *Brewton Parker College Away *Coastal Georgia Away *Middle Georgia State University Away *Faulkner University Home *Dalton State College Home *Brenau University Home Xavier University Hom *Martin Methodist College Home *Bethel University Home Auburn University Montgomery Away *William Carey University Away Spring Hill College Away *Loyola University Away Xavier University Away * Faulkner University Away *Brenau University Away *Dalton State College Away *Brewton Parker College Home *Coastal College of Georgia Home *Middle Georgia State University Home Auburn University Montgomery Home *Martin Methodist College Away *Bethel University Away

Nov. 10-12 SSAC Tournament T.B.A. NAIA National Tournament


10:00AM 4:00PM 4:00PM 7:00PM 7:30PM 12:00PM 7:30PM TBA TBA TBA 7:30PM 7:30PM 11:00AM 3:00PM 7:30PM TBA 2:00PM 7:00PM 7:00PM 11:00AM 3:00PM 7:00PM 7:00PM 12:00PM 7:30PM 7:30PM TBA 7:30PM 7:00PM TBA

Aug. 26 Aug. 27 Sept. 1 Sept. 3 Sept. 9 Sept. 9 Sept. 10 Sept. 10 Sept. 16 Sept. 17 Sept. 22 Sept. 24 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 8 Oct. 13 Oct. 15 Oct. 20 Oct. 24 Oct. 29

Spring Hill College Away LSU Alexandria Home Columbia CollegeAway Away Cumberland University Away William Carey vs. Keiser University Away University of Northern Ohio Away William Carey vs. Univ. of Northern Ohio Away Keiser University Away Thomas University TBA Savannah College of Art and Design Away University of Houston - Victoria Home Georgia Gwinnett College Away Faulkner University Away Dalton State College Home Brenau Universtiy Home Martin Methodist College Away Bethel University Away Brewton-Parker College Home Middle Georgia State College Away William Carey University Home

Men’s soccer Schedule

Aug. 22 Aug. 26 Aug. 28 Sept. 3 Sept. 5 Sept. 10 Sept. 14 Sept. 16 Sept. 22 Sept. 25 Sept. 29 Oct. 4 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 15 Oct. 20 Oct. 24 Oct. 29

Mississippi College Bellevue University Northwestern Ohio Columbia College Millsaps College Southeastern University Thomas University LSU-Alexandria Houston-Victoria St Thomas University Faulkner University University of West FL Dalton State College Martin Methodist College Bethel University Brewton Parker College Middle Georgia State College William Carey University

Home Away Away Away Away Home Away Home Home Away Away Home Home Away Away Home Away Home

TBA 5:00PM 7:00PM 4:00PM (EST) 4:30PM 7:00PM 4:30PM 7:00PM

TBA 5:00PM 5:00PM (EST) 5:00PM 5:00PM 5:00PM 5:00PM 5:00PM 5:00PM 5:00PM (EST) 5:00PM

7:30PM 7:30PM 7:00PM 7:00PM 7:00PM 7:30PM 4:00PM 7:30PM 7:30PM 7:30PM 7:00PM 6:00PM 7:30PM TBA TBA 7:30PM TBA 7:30PM

Away TBA Away TBA

*denotes Southern States Athletic Conference match 15

faithful giving


By Kathy Dean Photo by Trey Taulbee


niversity of Mobile music students crowded outside the Martin Hall office of Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva, professor and Steinway Artist in The Roger Breland School of Music. A Steinway grand piano was on its side in the middle of the small room, students and professor itching to test the keys once the piano was set atop its legs. Finally, the moment came. “Okay – let’s go play, everybody,” said Onalbayeva, and students poured into the room to take turns playing on a piano recognized worldwide for its quality and beautiful tones. This was one of nine Steinway pianos delivered Jan. 21 to excited music students and faculty. The pianos were purchased with donations to University of Mobile’s “All Steinway, All Together” fundraising campaign. The delivery marked the halfway point in the fundraising campaign that aims to replace old pianos with state-of-the-art Steinway pianos and earn the university a prestigious designation as an All-Steinway School. Since January, funds for additional pianos have been donated; now every practice room in Martin Hall houses a Steinway. The overall goal is to purchase 22 Steinway or Steinway-made pianos. In October, a couple from Naples, FL contributed a $250,000 matching challenge donation toward the $518,950 goal. 17

faithful giving

The matching challenge donation means gifts from other donors are being matched dollar-for-dollar, making each donation have an even bigger impact. With the matching donation and previous donations, the university now needs to raise $53,000 in order to purchase the remaining 6 pianos. Sherry Turner and Mike Atkins made the matching donation “in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Roger Breland for 50 years of mentoring, teaching and equipping the next generation of Christian leaders and performers.” The couple first met Breland and his wife, Linda, when he was touring with TRUTH, one of the earliest contemporary Christian music groups. Breland was minister of music at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile when he founded TRUTH in 1971 and began touring worldwide. Their recording “Jesus Never Fails” hit No. 1 on the Contemporary Christian music chart, and Breland was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Turner and Atkins met Breland again recently during a concert featuring Voices of Mobile, one of 22 vocal and instrumental ensembles created since he joined the university in 2003. Will Carpenter, a junior majoring in music/business from Mobile, said the donations that make the pianos possible have an eternal impact. “For a school like ours, we are here to honor and glorify God. It’s not just a donation to a school – it’s a donation to a ministry” preparing students whose aim is to glorify God through music, Carpenter said. The Best for the Best The piano is the foundational tool for the study of all areas of music. It is where students learn about pitch and tone, theory and composition, and do the hard work behind the scenes that


Photos by Trey Taulbee

makes the performance on stage inspiring and seemingly effortless. The university launched the All Steinway, All Together campaign to replace the university’s inventory of pianos that music professors call “decrepit,” many over 30 years old. These old pianos can no longer hold a tune; they have a tinny and shallow sound, there is no fortissimo or pianissimo. They are adequate for banging out a tune for a sing-along. They are nowhere near adequate for the serious study of music. “We can tell our students all the things to do technically, but the pianos just can’t do it,” said Becky Fox, director of piano studies and associate professor of piano. Fox serves as chair of the All Steinway, All Together campaign,

with Onalbayeva as co-chair. She said attaining the designation of All-Steinway School would be the fulfillment of a dream. “It would make my career worth it, because I think our students are the best, and they deserve the best,” said Fox, who has taught piano at UMobile for 37 years. She also sees a benefit for the church, as graduates trained to expect excellence from themselves and their instruments use their talents in worship. “Music brings you closer to God. He created music,” she said. The entire community benefits when the university sets its sights on becoming an All-Steinway School. “By becoming an All-Steinway School, UMobile is doing our small part to help revitalize and contribute to the arts in our community and beyond. By practicing and playing on the best pianos available – Steinways – our students will become better musicians, which means they will be better performers, better worship leaders and better music teachers who will all have a bigger and better impact on our community,” Fox said.

A Spirit of Excellence:

Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva Steinway Artist Her students call her “Dr. O.” Her native country of Kazakhstan calls her the “Star of the Great Steppes” and produced a documentary of her life. Her profession calls her a Steinway Artist. “She is a catalyst,” said sophomore vocal performance/composition major Martha Lofton. “Anything Dr. O does, she does with quality, excellence and passion. If you want to go that way in life, she’s the one who is going to push you. She engages you in a growing process of creativity.” Lofton, whose passion is classical music, Photo by Eatmon Photography studies composition under Onalbayeva. It’s a rigorous training ground that she likens to military basic training – something Lofton knows from10 years of active duty in the U.S. Army. “When you go to basic training, you can’t give up. Your drill sergeant is not going to lower his standards for you. The training ground is set. You are going into it, and you have to come up to the standards. With Dr. Kadisha Onalbayeva Dr. O, you are learning how to be a soldier musically. You have to be ready to learn, to excel, to grow. “There is a spirit about her that she wants to do everything with excellence,” Lofton added. “The level of excellence doesn’t squash you; it inspires you.” Watch the documentary with Onalbayeva, who joined the UM faculty English subtitles at as associate professor of piano in 2009, began her musical training at the age of five. She attended the Jubanov Special School for talented children and the Kurmangazy National Conservatory of Music in Kazkhstan where she studied piano and composition, gave recitals, and participated in piano and composition festivals all over the world. She earned two Master of Music degrees at the University of New Orleans and her doctorate at Louisiana State University. She holds the elite status of “Steinway Artist” and is among a distinguished international roster of musicians from all genres that includes such greats as Billy Joel, Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr., Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Sergei Rachmaninoff. She is the first Steinway Artist from Kazakhstan, and the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Kazakhstan recently produced a documentary on her life and musical career. A composer of note, her symphonic poem “Zherym” was premiered by the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Kazakhstan in May 2014. She is scheduled to perform at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 21 with the national string quartet from Kazakhstan. Being a childhood prodigy doesn’t mean relying on talent alone – excellence takes practice, determination and a willingness to be uncomfortable. She challenges her students to overcome the desire to be comfortable, to settle for the status quo. “Challenge makes you better. You learn more, you grow faster,” Onalbayeva said. “What I can give to you – it’s not enough. You have to work. “I tell my students that Art is something special, and God gave it to YOU. You have to develop it, to spend time with your instrument. You must push yourself to be the best – and you can do it. That’s why you are here at University of Mobile.”

“I tell my students that Art is something special, and God gave it to YOU.” 19

faithful giving

Striving for Excellence Breland said gaining the designation of All-Steinway School increases the university’s ability to recruit gifted student musicians. By becoming an All-Steinway School, UM will join the elite ranks of approximately 170 All-Steinway colleges and conservatories worldwide. The All-Steinway School designation is a recognized standard of excellence in music instruction worldwide. To become an All-Steinway School, 90 percent of the university’s pianos must be Steinway-built or designed, and the school must contract with a Steinway-approved piano technician and implement a maintenance and replacement plan that will ensure the pianos are performing at the optimal level. “If we strive for excellence on the platform, we must have excellence in the practice room,” Breland said. Onalbayeva is among the worldclass pianists who praise the instruments produced by Steinway & Sons. “The rich, undeniable sound, incomparable tone and touch of a Steinway piano inspire students to realize their artistic talents, and best prepares them to compete at the highest level in the professional world,” Onalbayeva said.


Journey of Excellence To understand the reason music students are so excited about playing on a Steinway, simply ask. “When your ear hears a note on a Steinway, there is a quality of sound that is more beautiful, more clear and crisp,” said Martha Lofton, a sophomore vocal performance/composition major from Honduras. Rebekah Lipscombe, a freshman music education major from Gulfport, MS, said there is a striking difference in playing on a Steinway. “It inspires me to play better,” she said. On that January day, as boxed pianos were rolled out of the delivery truck and into Martin Hall, Becky Fox was all smiles. “This demonstrates our continuing journey of excellence,” she said. “It means God has His hand on this university and is blessing us with donations.”

Be a Key Player

Can you imagine a piano keyboard with only one key? It takes many keys, sounding their own unique notes, working together in harmony, to make beautiful music. Likewise, many people have a part to play in bringing excellence of the scale envisioned in the All Steinway, All Together Campaign to the University of Mobile. Tax-deductible gifts of all sizes are needed to raise the remaining $53,000 in order to receive the matching donation and to purchase the final six pianos. You may donate any amount to the campaign, or toward the purchase of a specific piano. Or, donate the entire cost of a piano and have a name plate placed on the piano in in memory or in honor of someone. Donate online at, call the Advancement Office at 251.442.2917, or mail your check earmarked “Steinway” to Office of Advancement, University of Mobile, 5735 College Pkwy., Mobile, AL 36613-2842.

at 251.442.2917, or mail your check earmarked “Bergdolt Steinway” to: Office of Development, University of Mobile, 5735 College Pkwy., Mobile, AL 36613-2842.

Honor Dr. & Mrs. B with a Steinway Dr. Kenneth and Colleen Bergdolt invested their lives in the students and music program at Mobile College/UM for over four decades. Choir tours and Boar’s Head Festivals are just a few of the memories that this beloved couple made possible for so many. Sadly, Dr. B passed away in 2011. We would like to pay tribute to them by purchasing a new 6-foot Steinway grand piano in their name. The piano will be prominently displayed in the Kenneth Berdolt Chorale Hall in Martin Hall, where the university choir still practices, as it has for decades. Anyone making a contribution of $500 or more will have their name engraved on a plaque that will be placed on the Steinway piano, honoring Dr. and Mrs. B. Please give online at Steinway, call the Office of Advancement

Billy Breland Steinway Delivered to UM Piano students and faculty traveled to New York in April to select the perfect Steinway grand piano to honor the memory of William Myers “Billy” Breland. Students and faculty played six pianos, from which they chose “The Billy.” On May 3, they gathered again in Moorer Auditorium as the 7-foot Steinway B was delivered. The Billy Breland Memorial Steinway B was made possible through donations made in memory of the brother of Dr. Roger Breland, director for The Roger Breland School of Music. 21

Faithful giving


The Louise VanLandingham Memorial Endowed Scholarship By Kathy Dean


fter their mother passed away at age 84, Maureen Nichols was a bit afraid to tell her older sister what she did with a portion of the inheritance. She shouldn’t have worried.

Maureen Nichols

“I was ecstatic,” said Kathy Hawsey. With a donation to University of Mobile, Maureen established the Louise VanLandingham Memorial Endowed Scholarship. Each Sept. 9, on their mother’s birthday, the sisters make a contribution to the scholarship. The university invests the funds and a majority of the annual interest earned provides a scholarship each year for a University of Mobile student. A portion of the earned interest is reinvested along with the principal, enabling the endowment to grow and produce even more scholarship funds.

Kathy Hawsey

“Mother would be proud,” said Kathy. Maureen said the endowed scholarship at a Christian university would have appealed to their mother’s sense of frugality. “We always wanted the biggest bang for the buck. When you are investing in lives, especially ones who are going out to preach the Word, that is really the biggest bang for the buck,” Maureen said. The sisters say Louise VanLandingham fit the description of “The Greatest Generation” that grew up during the deprivation of the Great Depression – a generation of men and women who worked hard, made do with what they had, helped their neighbors and never complained about their hardships.

Photos by Garrett Hughes

Continued on page 33 23

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“She could do anything,” Kathy said. One time, her mother planned to redo the screen doors. Kathy told her husband, Jay, they were going to help. “Jay said, ‘I don’t want to go help your mother,’” Kathy related. “I said, ‘Why?’ Jay said, ‘Because she works circles around me!’” The Louise VanLandingham Scholarship is awarded to UM students with financial need. Priority goes to students who fit at least one of these criteria that also described Ms. VanLandingham: single mothers, Mississippi residents, or members of Riverside Baptist Church in Mobile. She was originally from Mississippi, then married James O’Connor and raised her two daughters and son in


Mobile, where the family attended Riverside Baptist. When the children were still young, their father died. “Dad had borrowed a huge amount of money to build a duplex,” Kathy recalled. The bank loaned money for the investment with the family’s home for collateral, and there was no insurance on the construction project. The new widow was left with a large debt to repay. But their mother was frugal and smart, willing to work hard and find creative ways to provide for the family. She sewed the children’s clothes, grew a garden and canned food to meet her family’s needs. Like many women of that time period, she did not know how to drive, but relying on church and family members for transportation did not set well with her

independent spirit. She soon learned to drive and bought a second-hand car. She paid off the massive construction debt, provided for her family, tithed, and even contributed to the fundraising campaign to start Mobile College. “She always tithed, and the money for the college came with it,” said Kathy. Maureen said they don’t know what motivated their mother to give. “Perhaps God told her to,” Maureen said. “She was impressed enough to do it when the ordinary person wouldn’t.” After her children were grown, she was remarried to Manuel McKinley. She served as matriarch of her extended family, was a source of wisdom in her community, and served her church as a Sunday School teacher in the children’s department and as a choir member.

Their mother was the oldest of 11 siblings and was unable to continue in school past the 11th grade, but she valued education. She worked as a sales clerk at Hammel’s department store in downtown Mobile, took courses on business law at a trade school, and later did clerical work at Brookley Field. She passed that appreciation of education on to her children; both daughters have master’s degrees. Each was helped at some point in their education and lives by scholarships made possible through donations similar to the one they created in their mother’s name. “We knew we weren’t well-to-do, but we didn’t go without,” Maureen remembered. Kathy added, “We never knew we didn’t have everything that everybody else had; she found a way.” The family connection to the school continued when Maureen, then in high

school, took core college courses for two summers. Later, she went as a chaperone with the Mobile College choir and Dr. Kenneth Bergdolt on a trip to England. She was employed as a nursing instructor from 1977-1979 in the Mobile Infirmary-Mobile College Division of Nursing. Now, both sisters enjoy the special seating at Christmas Spectacular that comes with being an endowed scholarship donor. They also look forward to the annual Endowed Scholarship Luncheon where they have the opportunity to meet recipients of many of the endowed scholarships. As they talked about their mother, their stories painted a portrait of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31. “Her price is far above rubies” is inscribed on the footstone of Louise VanLandingham O’Connor McKinley’s grave.

Create an

Endowed Scholarship Anyone may create an endowed scholarship in memory or honor of someone. For information on how to start or add to an existing endowed scholarship, call the Advancement Office at 251.442.2223.

Continued on page 35 25

Faithful giving


One Step At A Time By Ashley Bonds

University of Mobile alumni Brady and Emily King earned their degrees in math and education, respectively, with the help of athletic scholarships. So when the 2014 graduates were deciding where to make a charitable contribution that would really make a difference, their own challenges of being student athletes came to mind. They prayed about the decision, and felt the Lord’s leading.

Photos by Ashley Bonds 27

“The university gave so much to us, and we grew so much from that,” said Emily ’14. “We wanted to give back to someone else in the same situation we were in.” They wanted to give an additional scholarship to a student who was already receiving an athletic scholarship. They knew from experience that an athletic scholarship alone would not cover all of the costs of college. “If only there was a way to receive another scholarship as well, it could have really helped us out,” explained Brady ’13. At the time, Emily’s father Mark Kolakoski, worked in the Advancement Office as director of major gifts and raised funds for scholarships to the university. Emily and Brady called her dad and said they needed to meet with him to talk about their different options. Kolakoski told them about several ways to contribute a scholarship that would have the impact the couple wanted to make for a student-athlete. They could give a donation designated to provide a scholarship to a student meeting certain criteria. This could be a one-time cash scholarship that is awarded that academic year. They could create an endowed scholarship, where the university invests the principal and a portion of the earnings spin off to provide a scholarship. The remaining earnings are reinvested and, as the principal grows, so does the amount of scholarship awarded. It takes a minimum $10,000 to establish an endowed scholarship. Some donors create their endowed scholarship with one large gift, while others make smaller contributions on a regular basis until their scholarship reaches


“We wanted them to be rewarded for their hard work while also juggling being on a sports team.” Brady King

the $10,000 threshold to become an endowed scholarship. Then, there is the combination approach, where donors split their gift. Part goes directly to a student as a scholarship, and part goes toward building up a long-lasting endowed scholarship. The Kings had a set amount that they wanted to donate for the scholarship, and they wanted to give the scholarship every year. “We wanted to make sure that the athlete that was going to be receiving the scholarship worked hard academically,” said Brady. “We wanted them to be rewarded for their hard work while also juggling being on a sports team.” They decided to make an annual donation, creating the King

Scholarship to be awarded to a student-athlete who is a leader on the field and academically. The scholarship is to be awarded in addition to any athletic scholarship the student is already receiving. They are considering the combination approach to scholarship giving – where an annual gift each year goes directly to provide a scholarship, and additional gifts start to build a permanent endowed scholarship. The student chosen to receive the first King Scholarship was selected by a university panel. The panel didn’t know who had contributed the funds; they made the award based on the scholarship criteria set by the couple. The student that was chosen happened to be a spitting image of Brady, and had almost the exact same story. “He is a walk-on baseball player, shares the same favorite foods as me, and wears the exact same number that I did when I played baseball,” laughed Brady. “He even has the same role as I did when I was on the team. The fact that no one knew that we were so similar made it even more special, because we knew God was in it.” Emily and Brady listened to what the Lord was telling them to do, and they said they are excited that they are able to help someone else who is juggling the weight of being a full-time student while also working hard academically and athletically. “UM has positively impacted us. We really want to give back any way we can,” said Emily. To learn more about your options for donating toward student scholarships, contact the Office of Advancement at 251.442.2412.



We Have a


President! By Kathy Dean

Introducing the 4th President of University of Mobile:

Timothy L. Smith, PhD, PhD, CRNA, APRN


n the morning of April 11, 2016, the University of Mobile Board of Trustees gathered in Harrigan Center conference room on campus for a meeting that would set a new course for the future of the 54-year-old Baptist college. The first word from the meeting came at 11:51 a.m. by way of a text from Board Chair Fred Wilson: We have a new President! By unanimous vote, Dr. Timothy L. Smith became the fourth president of University of Mobile. Soon after, Wilson and outgoing president Dr. Mark Foley introduced Smith and his wife, Penney, at a press conference in Harrigan Center. Later, they were welcomed at Ram Hall with a standing ovation from students, faculty and staff. “I stand here grateful and humbled by the decision made earlier today by God and the Board of Trustees,” Smith told the UM family. “My wife, Penney, and I are overwhelmed with God’s grace, your hospitality, and the opportunity to partner with you in advancing University of Mobile as a Christ-centered educational institution that honors God in equipping students for their future profession.”


Photo by Trey Taulbee 31

Earlier, Wilson described the new president as “a tireless worker and a great visionary with a broad range of experience. Dr. Tim Smith will be a president for every constituency of the university.” Smith, 52, holds two Ph.D.s, two master’s degrees and is licensed by the South Carolina Board of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. He has extensive experience in Christian higher education and the field of healthcare education. Most recently, he was provost of Anderson University in South Carolina. Previously, he was dean of the School of Nursing at Union University in Tennessee. Smith said he is coming to the University of Mobile to listen, collaborate, partner and build. “The University of Mobile has a great foundation, with many building blocks already above the foundation. I believe there are huge opportunities to serve the community and partner with so many organizations. My methodology in leading as president will be a very collaborative approach. I want people

inside the institution and externally to know that I’m coming in to listen; I’m coming in to collaborate; and I’m coming in to partner,” said the new president. Smith’s first official day was set as May 16, but he was already at work immediately after the announcement, meeting with academic deans, vice presidents, student leaders, and community leaders. At a lively, laughter-filled informal meet-and-greet in Bedsole Commons, the bow-tiewearing new president posed for photos with several similarly attired faculty and students. Flanked by Dr. and Mrs. Foley, the Smiths immediately started finding common ground and building relationships with each person they greeted. “I am a very relational type of president,” Smith told a reporter who asked what his first day on the job would look like. “I am interested in meeting people. I want to sit down and I want to hear the stories and about the lives of the faculty, the staff and the administration. And in that, I want to understand where they have come, and

where we can partner together and move forward.” Asked to list his top three goals, Smith told reporters, “No. 1 is to continue the theological emphasis that has been established here. No. 2 is to examine the academic programs and determine what needs to be revised, to be strengthened, to develop new programs. No. 3 is the process of looking at fiscal resources and continue to strengthen those, and partner with the community and allow us to serve the community while our students gain excellent opportunities, through internships or other partnerships.” A Visionary Leader Smith has a reputation as a visionary leader with business acumen, and as a developer of academic programs with an ability to enhance revenues while providing a strong educational process. As dean and professor of the School of Nursing at Union University, he grew the program over nine years

“My wife, Penney, and I are overwhelmed with God’s grace, your hospitality, and the opportunity to partner with you in advancing University of Mobile as a Christ-centered educational institution that honors God in equipping students for their future profession.” Dr. Tim Smith Photo by Dan Anderson


What They

Said Here are a few highlights from the press conference and Ram Hall meeting. For more photos and video from the day, go to “I am tremendously honored (to have been selected as president) and I am grateful and thankful, but I’m just a small part of that team that will be partnering with students and their families to strengthen them for the days ahead. There are many, many people that should be honored in this process; most importantly, Jesus Christ.” Dr. Tim Smith at press conference

“Our responsibility as an institution is to prepare students that have a cognitive understanding of a specific discipline while having a spiritual understanding of God’s calling.” Dr. Tim Smith at press conference

“Through the process of interviews, we came down to two candidates. Dr. Smith was the top candidate in every poll we took…Unanimously, Tim Smith was the candidate that we understood God to be pointing to us.” Fred Wilson at Ram Hall

“…I seek your collaborative partnership. As God’s Word tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:9 – ‘Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.’ I truly believe that we can strategically partner through a collaborative-oriented process to continue building upon the rich heritage of faith of this institution, while fulfilling the calling of God for our personal and professional lives.” Dr. Tim Smith at Ram Hall 33


“I want people inside the institution and externally to know that I’m coming in to listen; I’m coming in to collaborate; and I’m coming in to partner.” Dr. Smith

Photos by Trey Taulbee

from approximately 400 pre-nursing and nursing students and 17 faculty/ staff to 747 students and 55 faculty/ staff, becoming the largest faith-based nursing school in the nation. He founded the Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice that included a nurse residency program for five hospitals. As provost at Anderson University, he was responsible for day-to-day operations of a school with an enrollment of 3,200 – over twice the size of UM. While there, he led the effort to establish the university as a leader in the health sciences, and worked with administration and faculty to expand other educational programs to meet the needs of the region. His wife, Penney, is a healthcare administrator consultant, serving as chief quality officer and helping hospitals with healthcare regulatory compliance. The couple has two children: daughter Ashley Wainscott, 24, who lives in Jackson, Tennessee with her husband, Alex; and son Blake Smith, 21, a junior at Clemson University studying engineering.

Foley announced in October 2015 that he would be stepping down as president, noting that an important aspect of his presidency was to prepare for a successful and seamless hand-off of leadership. “Marilyn and I are delighted to welcome Tim and Penney to the University of Mobile family,” said Foley. “We have invested 18 years of our lives into this special place, and I can think of no better person to lead the university to even greater things than Dr. Tim Smith.” Foley served as president from 1998-2016; Dr. Michael A. Magnoli, a member of the first graduating class of Mobile College, was president from 1984-1997; and Dr. William K. Weaver Jr., founding president, served from 1961-1984. Academic Background Smith holds a Ph.D. in leadership and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, both from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; a Ph.D. in nursing (anesthesia) from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Graduate College; a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Nursing; a diploma in nurse anesthesia from the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Memphis State University, and a diploma in nursing from Baptist Memorial Hospital School 35

“We have invested 18 years of our lives into this special place, and I can think of no better person to lead the university to even greater things than Dr. Tim Smith.” Dr. Mark Foley

of Nursing. His dissertation for the Ph.D. in leadership was “A Study of Factors that Predict the Success of Christ-Centered Higher Educational Institutions: A Mixed Method Study.” His Ph.D. in nursing dissertation was on “The Evaluation of Auditory Evoked Potentials and Psychological Priming Techniques as Indicators of Implicit Memory Formation During General Anesthesia” with an emphasis in anesthesia with foci in neuroanatomy and physiology. His thesis for the M.S.N. was on “Effect of Propofol and Desflurane on Recall During Anesthesia.” Smith has held a variety of academic positions, from assistant professor to provost. At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Nursing, from 1997-2004, he rose from assistant professor to associate professor and director of the nurse anesthesia program. At Union University from 2005-2014 he started as associate professor and dean of the School of Nursing, rising to professor and then executive director of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice. He joined Anderson University in 2014 as vice president of strategic initiatives and special associate to the provost, becoming provost in 2015. Since 2014 he has served as adjunct professor in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles as well as book reviews and research abstracts.


Clinical Positions and Licensure Smith has been licensed by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists as a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) since 1992. He is licensed by the South Carolina Board of Nursing as a registered nurse (RN) and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) since 2014. Previously, he was licensed by the Tennessee Board of Nursing as an APRN and RN. He worked as a cardiovascular intensive care registered nurse in Memphis, Tennessee, at Baptist Memorial Hospital Central and Methodist Hospitals Central. Later, he was a CRNA, RN and physician assistant with Medical Anesthesia Group and Cardiovascular Center, both in Memphis. He also served as a CRNA with Anesthesiologist Associates and also Anesthesia Consultants, both in Chattanooga. Answering God’s Call Smith said he will focus on building upon the heritage of faith at University of Mobile, while working toward even stronger academics with continued growth in the spiritual formation of students. “When I looked at University of Mobile, what I saw very quickly and what I heard very quickly is that it is an institution that it is rock-solid in its faith on God’s Word, in that we depend on Him and we are led by Him as we continue moving forward. My experience in academia is that there are a lot of changes you can make in an institution, but if an institution has wandered from its faith, it is very hard to bring the institution back to that.

“University of Mobile has such a strength in the intentionality of its faith-based approach to Christian higher education. That’s the No. 1 thing that attracted me,” Smith said. Both Anderson University and Union University are Southern Baptistaffiliated schools, like University of Mobile. Smith said serving in Christian higher education “has been a calling on my professional life for several years. This is why I went back to seminary, to continue to strengthen my understanding of Christian world view.” Trustee chair Wilson said prayer was at the heart of the presidential search. “So many prayers have been lifted for all of this process, both inside and outside the university. The committee prayed that each one of us would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and not our own, individual thoughts and perhaps desires. There were 10 committed, but independent, Christians chosen for the search, and if we worked at this task through our own human strengths and weaknesses, it would have been difficult to reach consensus. With all 10 dedicating themselves to follow God’s lead, He clearly directed us to Tim Smith as His candidate. Reaching Tim as the unanimous choice was the result,” Wilson said. Presidential Search Committee Chair Terry Harbin agreed. “God did the whole thing. We just tried to listen. It’s just absolutely clear that Dr. Tim Smith is God’s man for this time. I could not be more thrilled,” Harbin said. Harbin said the committee

Photos by Dan Anderson

recommended Smith for three primary reasons. “He is unbelievably well-qualified through his academic preparation. Secondly, he has practical experience. He has done in other places what we need done at the University of Mobile. And thirdly, he has demonstrated humility. A man who has accomplished what he has accomplished in life to come in and be a down-to-earth, Christ-centered servant is amazing,” said Harbin, who is past chair of the UM Board of Trustees and market president of BancorpSouth Bank in Mobile. “We saw in Dr. Smith an absolute commitment to academic excellence in faculty, staff and students. I think the bar will be raised significantly,” added Harbin. The Smiths are members at Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylors, SC, where he served as guest teacher in the Life Group while focusing on the development of care groups throughout the church. Previously, he has taught young married classes at church and led annual mission trips to the Dominican Republic. About the Selection Process The 10-member Presidential Search Committee was assisted by the executive search firm JobfitMatters, a nationally recognized company specializing in higher education and

the non-profit sector. Committee members included alumni, pastors, faculty and staff, and also represented the fields of higher education, business, real estate, banking, and law. The search process included extensive interviews and surveys with students, faculty, staff, alumni, community leaders, denominational leaders and trustees to develop a list of key characteristics of the ideal president. Those four critical leadership benchmarks were: 1. A faithful servant-leader 2.Fundraising and growth strategist and spearhead 3.Executive leader, steward, wise decision-maker 4.Peacemaker, influencer, educator, community builder. Search Committee chair Harbin said 38 candidates applied for the post, and the committee interviewed six. While any of the final six would be well qualified for the job, Smith was the unanimous choice to recommend to the Board. “He is a collaborative team leader who knows how to give people the opportunity to succeed, and he is able to make the tough decisions. He uses team members to develop a vision, and he is able to cast a vision and get out there and make it happen. He has a demonstrated track record of successful leadership,” Harbin said.

“We have known that God has divinely ordained our path for many years, and this is where He has chosen for us to build into the lives of others. We are just thrilled to serve the faculty, the staff, the students and the community here at the University of Mobile. I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you; I look forward to serving you.” Penney Smith at Ram Hall

“Dr. Tim Smith is well-equipped to take this job. But the really interesting thing that we discovered is that while my skill set was perfect for getting the place ready for him, his skill is perfect for the future moving forward. It’s just a beautiful thing.” Dr. Mark Foley at press conference

“And for this God-ordained institution You have established as University of Mobile, I pray a hedge of protection around this institution that Your work will continue to be done through the lives of the administration, faculty and staff in supporting the development of the students and through partnerships with local churches and organizations so that, together, this educational institution, local churches and organizations of this community will be a beacon of light for You.” Dr. Tim Smith closing prayer at Ram Hall 37


By Kathy Dean


hen 47-year-old Mark Foley walked out of the Board of Trustees meeting in Harrigan Center and into his first press conference as the newly elected president of the University of Mobile on Feb. 13, 1998, he was stepping onto shaky ground.

The university’s previous president had launched a branch campus in Nicaragua, hoping it would provide a new source of income for the Mobile campus. Instead, the Latin American branch was sucking the main campus in Alabama dry, threatening the school’s accreditation, straining the relationship with its founding denomination, and eventually led to that president’s dismissal.

Photo by Trey Taulbee 39

It was a messy situation. Presidential search committee chairman Ed Massey said then that over 40 applicants wanted to take on the challenge, but it was Foley – the Texas native who owned and operated a truck stop before entering seminary and starting an academic career – who rose to the top. “He is clearly the man God had for the job,” Massey said as he introduced the university’s third president. Foley’s administration extended beyond 18 years – far longer than the average college president’s tenure of seven to eight years. He announced last October that he was ready for the Lord to show him his next assignment. “Since accepting the position of president of the University of Mobile in 1998, it has been my determination that part of my responsibility is, at the appropriate time, to lead the institution carefully and effectively into the hands of my successor.” Foley said Oct. 8, 2015. “Just as in a relay race, the key to winning is an effective handoff. I believe now is the time to begin that handoff.”


Photos by Denis Palmer

The Early Years Foley’s hallmark “bodacious” attitude and “hold on tight” encouragement were on display from the very beginning. “We have some awesome hills to climb, but I’m here to say those hills can be climbed,” Foley said at his first press conference.

There was no time for a celebration – work began immediately to extricate the university from the Latin American campus, and Foley’s inauguration would not occur until 15 months had passed. It wasn’t easy, but the university cut its losses with the Nicaragua campus on June 30, 2000, turning it over to

“We have some awesome hills to climb, but I’m here to say those hills can be climbed.” Dr. Foley

another university that subsequently turned it over to yet another school. Repairing the denominational rift was a top priority and, as an ordained preacher, Foley was in the pulpit at a church somewhere in Alabama nearly every weekend. His message wasn’t about the university, though. He said the pulpit was a sacred space, to be used for preaching God’s Word. His focus on the Gospel became an assurance to Alabama Baptists that the college they had founded was worthy of continued support, and that great things were ahead. The new president’s optimism was grounded in his oft-expressed desire to seek God’s will for the university, and a confidence that God’s hand was upon this school. The Road Map Foley laid out the road map for his administration during his inaugural address. Titled “The Why and the How,” the address was delivered April 26, 1999 in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Mobile on Government Street in the heart of downtown Mobile, an historic church that was home to many of the university’s founding trustees. Foley posed the question, “Why does the University of Mobile exist?” The answer, which has guided initiatives during his administration, is this, he said: “Quite simply, the purpose, the mission, the ‘why’ of the University of Mobile is to change the world.” You change the world, he said,

through graduates who are persons of character who know how to think, who know what is right, who have the courage to live and work according to their beliefs, and who have the willingness and skill to use their influence in appropriate and effective ways to change the world around them. Recently, in an article by The Alabama Baptist, Foley elaborated on the philosophy that has driven the initiatives of the university for nearly two decades. “A defining vision for the University of Mobile is the idea of ‘Changing Lives to Change the World’ by integrating learning, faith and leadership to produce graduates capable of effecting change. We do this in ways that define us as a highly engaged university that equips and empowers students to solve real-world problems from a distinctly Christian worldview. “In my inaugural address as president 18 years ago, I asked the question, ‘Why does the University of Mobile exist?’ The answer goes beyond imparting knowledge, skills and attitudes to generations of students. It is more than producing in the lives of students a sense of social responsibility. It even goes further than developing in our students a spiritual dynamic, an identification of who they are in relation to God and a means of growing in that relationship. “Those are how we accomplish our mission, but what is that mission? I said then, and we continue to believe now, that the reason the University of Mobile exists is to change the world.

Our university community is actively exploring new ways to integrate learning, faith and leadership with the goal of producing graduates who are excellent in their field of study, vibrant in their faith, and capable of using their influence in effective ways to be change agents. “Some of the outgrowth of that exploration is our emphasis on a Christian worldview across all academic disciplines. For example, that means an accounting student is being challenged in the classroom to think critically about more than accounting, but also consider what it means to be a Christian accountant, and how the ethics and values of faith impact how you approach your career. “Service learning is an important part of that engagement. If we want our graduates to be change agents, we need to provide our students with opportunities and examples of how to effectively use their knowledge and talents to effect change. On our campus, that means business students starting and operating a clothes closet at a local community center, our basketball team helping with field day at an elementary school, and our ministry students tutoring athletes at a local high school. One day each fall we cancel classes for Project Serve so that students, faculty and staff can volunteer with their academic areas in 63 locations across two counties.” Significant Transformations Once the initial crisis passed, Foley marshaled the university and her constituents to wrestle with the practical ways to integrate learning, 41

faith and leadership. On April 27, 2004, the Board of Trustees adopted the “Statement of Christian Affirmation, a biblically based foundational statement that describes the essential theological nature of the university. Along with the mission statement, philosophy statement and goals, it is the foundation that guides the growth and development of the school. A strategic plan, 2020 Vision, laid out the goal of developing the university into “a nationally recognized voice and transforming influence in the revitalization of Christian faith and character in America.” Among the many accomplishments resulting from 2020 Vision and other presidential initiatives, the University of Mobile has: • integrated a Christian worldview into all aspects of academics, campus life and university operations • created a culture of continual improvement based on assessment and research that culminated in a perfect accreditation review • established the University of Mobile Leadership Banquet to raise financial support for the university and focus on preparing the next generation of leaders, with speakers including George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Ben Carson, Tim Tebow, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich and more • enhanced the campus environment through new facilities and major renovations, expanding campus housing and student life facilities • doubled the capacity of on-campus housing by adding 354 beds and building three residence halls • developed a vigorous residential experience resulting in


Photos by Dan Anderson

consecutive years of residence halls near full capacity of 734 • invested $44.8 million in capital projects, including a recent $7 million campus enhancement program that was the most far-reaching campus-wide improvement of buildings and grounds since the 1970s • employed the use of technology in academic offerings and entered the online college market • increased the number of online classes from 5 in 2009 to 58 in Fall 2015, along with launching four fully online degree programs in 2015: the associate degree in general studies; bachelor degrees in business administration, psychology and marketplace ministry; and master’s degrees in early childhood/elementary education

• modeled Christian service through events such as Project Serve campus-wide day of service, which in its 5th year in 2015 involved 1,266 students, faculty and staff volunteering in over 60 locations across two counties • targeted university marketing through research and technology • developed specific retention strategies to retain students and prepare them for success in college and beyond

• devised the Quality Enhancement Plan on Writing Intensive Networks to improve student writing across all academic areas • maintained accreditations for various academic areas and added accreditations in the areas of business and athletic training • created the Center for Performing Arts, expanded performance opportunities for students, and constructed a state-of-the-art recording studio • gained recognition in national rankings including U.S. News & World Report, America’s Best Christian Colleges, America’s Best College Buys, Military Friendly School, The 50 Best Christian Colleges in the U.S. and more 43

Photos by Dan Anderson

• expanded opportunities for professional development training for faculty • developed an active Campus Life program with extensive opportunities for mentoring, leadership development, service, missions and more • designed initiatives to cultivate friends and donors • added opportunities for students to grow spiritually through programs such as Youth Hostel Missions, True Spin Bible study, International Service Projects and ministry teams • created the humanities Honors Program to attract and retain academically gifted students Campus Expansion The University of Mobile campus in 1998, when the new president took office, was much different from the campus today. About $44.8 million has been invested in capital improvements that reached into every part of campus. The first capital project was started during Foley’s first year. Weaver


The Alabama Baptist State Convention honored Dr. Mark Foley for his years of service at the University of Mobile with a resolution of appreciation, noting “his emphasis on the core values of faith, learning, conviction, integrity, stewardship and leadership” that extended to all operations of the university, from the classroom to the administrative offices. Others weighed in with words of congratulations.

Dr. Rick Lance Executive Director, Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions Ex Officio Member, University of Mobile Board of Trustees “Mark Foley is the personification of a change agent for Christ. He has faithfully led the University of Mobile for almost two decades. During that time, the university has graduated thousands of students who have entered their vocations with a strong Christian influence upon their lives. The often-stated challenge of Mark Foley to them, ‘go change the world,’ is making an eternal difference. These graduates have been well prepared academically and highly influenced in the development of a Christian worldview. Mark Foley has been the catalyst for that foundation and focus.

Photo by G.M. Andrews

Hall, the oldest building on campus, desperately needed a new roof. The Weaver Hall Enhancement Project put a pitched roof, portico and columns atop the building, dramatically changing the look of the historic building as well as the view from the front drive onto campus. In a symbol of past meets present, founding president Dr. William K. Weaver Jr. and new president Dr. Mark Foley put their signatures on the cupola before it was raised by crane and set atop the roof. One capital initiative that changed

the dynamic of the school was construction of a series of residence halls that nearly doubled the number of residential students. The addition of Samford Hall, Karlene Farmer Faulkner Hall and The Timbers added 354 beds, bringing the total residential student capacity to 734. With more residential students came the need for a more vibrant campus life experience, with increased activities and programs. That meant expanding Ingram Cafeteria with the attached Ram Hall multi-purpose auditorium, adding swings and

“As Mark and Marilyn Foley look to the next chapter in their lives, the University of Mobile does as well. The university will be able to build upon what has been done so well in the past and face the future with a sense of spiritual direction rarely evidenced by an academic institution. All of us in Alabama Baptist life, and beyond, are indebted to the contributions of Mark Foley as president of the University of Mobile. We pray for Mark and Marilyn as they enjoy the blessings of God in the next chapter of their lives.” Kayla Litton President, Student Government Association “Dr. Foley is a great leader because of the stability that he brought to the University of Mobile during a time when it greatly needed a leader with strength and grace. He has been an excellent example of a servant leader. Dr. Foley gave his all to the students, faculty, and school for the duration of his time here and has followed through with his plans to change lives to change the world.” 45

Photo by G.M. Andrews


Sandy Stimpson Mayor, City of Mobile “Dr. Foley leaves an uncommon legacy of service and leadership at the University of Mobile that extends far beyond the campus borders. Through his vision, influence and faith, he has guided the university not only to educate students but also to develop them as moral and ethical citizens. In so doing, he has helped to create a new generation of leaders that will serve America for generations to come. On behalf of the citizens of Mobile, I offer my sincere appreciate for his contributions to our city, and wish him Godspeed as he pursues the next chapter in his life.” Joe Hudson ’06 Acting Chair, Alumni Board of Directors “Dr. Foley has a gift of leaving a lasting imprint on the people he meets. To me, this exemplifies his incredible influence and his sincere intention to build enduring relationships. The legacy he’ll leave behind will be his passion to create meaningful connections with our community, alumni, and future members of the UM family.”

Photo by Trey Taulbee

benches across campus, creating several outdoor patio gathering areas, and adding a lighted intramural field. The need for a student center was met with a creative renovation to J.L. Bedsole Library. More online library resources meant less space was needed to house books. Library holdings that had once filled two floors could now be housed on one, so the library moved to the second floor. The first floor became Bedsole Commons, a student center with a gym, bookstore, coffee shop, fast-food grill, study and lounge areas, and large outdoor patio. Deferred maintenance issues had plagued the university, as aging buildings needed upgrading. Part of a $7 million enhancement plan tackled issues that included replacing the original windows in Weaver Hall with energy-efficient ones, adding a gatehouse and fence at the university entrance, landscaping along PollockAltmayer Drive to save the aging Eichold Oaks, renovating classrooms, repaving drives and parking lots, and upgrading computer equipment. Facilities for the university’s nationally competitive athletic program

were updated and added, including renovations to tennis court and the addition of both softball and baseball fieldhouses, lighting the baseball field and installing a new scoreboard, and a new floor in Pharr Gym. Renovations to academic spaces included a new chemistry lab in Weaver Hall, new Fisher-Brewer Recording Studio in Martin Hall, expanding the School of Nursing to the former College Park Baptist Church adjacent to campus, renovating the Ben May Building to make it the home of the College of Arts and Sciences, and moving the art program to a renovated M.C. Farmer Building and the English Department to the Frances Garner Building. ‘I Am the Vine’ Both Mark and his wife, Marilyn, have an artistic bent that has added to the university campus. In addition to being a mentor to young women on campus, Marilyn has been an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. She started taking pottery classes on campus, and that foray expanded into her own pottery studio at her home.

Troy Ephriam ’95 Mayor, City of Prichard “From the very first time I met Dr. Foley, I saw a visionary with a single-minded purpose of bringing the value of Christian-based education and leadership to the forefront of the nation’s conscience. His scope went beyond the University of Mobile, the cities of Prichard and Mobile and Mobile County; it was bigger. The university’s motto, “The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom,” was lived by Dr. Foley. Because of that, his legacy as president of the University of Mobile will forever be etched into the minds of all those who were graciously blessed to be influenced by his servanthood.” Fred Wilson Chairman, University of Mobile Board of Trustees “One of the most encouraging and inspirational things about being on the Board is Dr. Foley’s very, very consistent Christian worldview as the basis for making every decision I’ve ever been involved with. I greatly appreciated his vision for seeing the future, planning and adjusting the planning accordingly, that is coming from a foundation of much prayer and seeking the Lord. He and Marilyn have both given consistent and faithful, effective service to the university the whole time I’ve been here. When he came, he brought stability and confidence. He’s leaving the university on a solid platform that the next administration can really grow on.” Joe Johnson ’99 Senior Pastor, Mount Hebron Church Ministries “Through me being in school and now as a fulltime pastor, he has been rock-solid as a friend to me. We always have been able to have incredible conversations about what God wants. He has been instrumental in what Mount Hebron has become… our first elders were ordained by him. The fact that we have this kind of relationship, two men that were saved by the same Christ, and that’s what brings us together. Not the color of our skin, but the fact we are saved.” 47

“I wanted us to have a visual representation of our place as a faith-based university, a piece of sculptural art that immediately says, ‘this place is of Christ.’” Dr. Foley

In 2013, at the request of Dr. Dwight Steedley, then dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Phillip Counselman, associate professor of art and director of fine arts, a new art space in the Ben May Building was named “The Marilyn Foley Art Gallery.” The Foleys’ home art studio includes space for Mark, who enjoys working with metal and creating art pieces from found objects. In 2009, he partnered with Trustee Jim Daniels to create a 12-foot metal sculpture cross, entwined with vines stained with splashes of red representing Christ’s blood, and topped by a crown of thorns. The piece, titled “I Am the Vine,” rests on a concrete pedestal near Ram Hall and Ingram Cafeteria. A boulder garden in front of the cross provides places for sitting and reflection. “I wanted us to have a visual representation of our place as a faithbased university, a piece of sculptural art that immediately says, ‘this place is of Christ,’” Foley said as the cross was raised on March 9, 2009.


Photos by Kathy Dean

Influence If there is one word to sum up the impact of his presidency, it is “influence.” It is what Foley means when he shakes the hand of each graduate walking across the stage at commencement and gives a charge: “Now, go change the world.” It is a bodacious idea: that University of Mobile graduates are uniquely equipped through their experience at this Christian university in south

Alabama to use their influence in the name of Jesus Christ through their careers, communities, churches and families. The multiplying effect of their influence can change the world. “Don’t be afraid to put your head above the radar; get out there and make a difference,” Foley said. “Refresh your grip on Jesus every day, and hold on tight.”

A Message from Dr. Mark and Marilyn Foley

Over 18 years ago, you welcomed us into the University of Mobile family and made this place “home” for us. In some ways, it seems as if it was just yesterday that we arrived on campus, excited and nervous about what the future would hold. In other ways, it was a lifetime ago – literally, it is the life-span of 18-year-old students on campus today who are now completing their freshmen year. As this amazing experience ends, Marilyn and I want to say “Thank You.” Most importantly, we give thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So many years ago, we felt God’s call to become part of this university family. Through the good times and the challenging ones, it has always been our desire to follow His will for this university, and for our own lives. Now, as we follow Him through another phase in our lives, we are excited to see what assignments He has for us, and for the university. To the faculty and staff, we want to tell you how much we admire what you do, and appreciate who you are. To the students and graduates, we hope you know how much you inspire us. We are privileged to have been a part of your lives, and we continue to cheer you on as you are about the important business of changing lives to change the world. To the friends of this university who made an investment of your time and resources, please know that you have encouraged us through these years, as you shared the vision and the work. As we look to our days ahead, Marilyn and I want to thank you for letting us say, “Once upon a time…a very good time…we were First Lady and President of a college.” To God be the Glory. 49

By Elissa Chamberlain


hen the University of Mobile RamCorps embarked on the Duck Commander Cruise last Fall, they expected to be the house band and share the stage with the Robertson Family from the reality TV show “Duck Dynasty.” But nothing prepared the group for the unbelievable experience awaiting them on board: the baptism of dozens of people in the main pool

of the ship. RamCorps is a 30-member high-impact visual brass and percussion ensemble whose purpose is to use music to share the gospel and the love of Christ. They performed on the Carnival cruise ship “Victory” and at two Ports of Call, Nassau and Freeport Bahamas, during the October 2015 cruise. This amazing opportunity started when Mark

Photos by Hunter Ballard 50 TORCHLIGHT TORCHLIGHT||FALL FALL2016 2016 50

Brannon, CEO of the Memphisbased travel company Premier, saw RamCorps perform at a small church in Memphis, TN. Brannon also knew Kenn Hughes, associate professor of music and RamCorps director, through Global Missions Project where Hughes is ministry director. RamCorps has performed internationally through GMP, which is a non-profit committed to ministering to people through music. Brannon said he wanted RamCorps to perform on the cruise because the musical group is unique. It is safe to say that the opportunity to be part of the Duck Commander Cruise was a surprise reward for RamCorps; the offer was unexpected, yet flattering. Indeed, Hughes said, “Whenever you work really hard and you strive towards excellence, it’s amazing how many opportunities are given to you.” As the ship set sail, RamCorps was accompanied by friends, parents, and some of UM’s staff and donors. As the house band, RamCorps acted as the backup band for all guest entertainers that perform on the ship, including the Robertson Family, Lee Greenwood and Ricky Skaggs. Todd Bosarge, who has played baritone for two years in RamCorps, said performing “God Bless the USA” with Lee Greenwood was an enriching and one-of-a-kind experience. The Duck Commander Cruise is not your typical ocean voyage; it is a Christ-centered experience that focuses on sharing the message of faith

through seminars, music and activities. The Robertson Family performed marriage counseling seminars, daily Bible studies and many more activities to share the Gospel with hundreds of vacationers. It was during those morning Bible studies that the Robertson Family invited members of the crowd to join them in the pool to get baptized. The cruise line received many Facebook posts, tweets and emails praising the performance of the group. In Nassau, RamCorps performed a concert with a local youth choir and a local band for an orphanage. Bosarge, who is an elementary education major, loved the opportunity to spread the

Gospel to the children of Nassau while playing and interacting with them. Even though the members of RamCorps are usually exhausted after long days of performing, they still manage to find time to interact with their audience everywhere they go. Nassau was no exception; the members of the band interacted with the children for about an hour after their performance. “As fun as the cruise is, life is about relationships, so we try and go connect with people wherever we go,” added Hughes. As exciting as this experience was for RamCorps, it is only one of many projects on their list. The band’s amazing performance and the positive feedback received from the audience on the Duck Commander Cruise resulted in an invitation to sail on board the K-LOVE Cruise in January 2017. This offer will be a great opportunity to expand RamCorps’ platform since they will be shoulderto-shoulder with famous Christian music artists, including Steven Curtis Chapman, Crowder, For King & Country, Newsboys, and UMobile alumni Big Daddy Weave. Recently, RamCorps took their journey one step further and recorded an album in Nashville, TN. The brass and percussion ensemble was in studio for four days in May to “make a great album that everybody can be proud of,” said Hughes. The album is projected to be ready in August 2016.

For more information about RamCorps, contact Kenn Hughes at or 251.442.2321. 51

Dr. Fred Lackey

‘Heart for the Lord and Desire to Serve Others’ By Kathy Dean


people have had as many job titles – and as much of an impact – at University of Mobile as Dr. Fred Lackey, who died on July 2 at the age of 81.

Kevin Wilburn ’99, UM vice president for advancement, listed just a few of Lackey’s official and unofficial titles during a Celebration of Life service July 6 at Clements Baptist Church in Athens, AL, where “Bro. Fred” served as associate/executive pastor. “His official title at University of Mobile was ‘special assistant to the president,’” Wilburn said. “He had also served as a trustee, he coordinated our Board of Regents, he served as the interim vice president of development. He was a professor – he taught me evangelism. He was an advisor; he was a trusted friend. Photos by Trey Taulbee

52 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 53

“Dr. Lackey has been a pillar for the University of Mobile for several decades through his support to the President’s office, in the community, and in churches throughout Alabama. ” Dr. Tim Smith

“I think, above all those titles, he enjoyed being the encourager, the hugger, the supporter. A friend – unconditionally. That’s who Bro. Fred is,” Wilburn said. “Long before there was a Dr. Fred and Sue Lackey Scholarship Fund, there was a ‘hey, Bro. Fred, I need some help’ fund.” Lackey loved the University of Mobile, Wilburn said. And, he loved people. Wilburn was one of 10 high school students Lackey brought to UM in 1995 for a campus visit. Nine enrolled and graduated, and many of them are now leading their own churches. Over the years, he brought hundreds of students to UM, criss-crossed the state raising friends and funds, and took a personal interest in students, faculty and staff. “When Bro. Fred was talking to you, you were the only one in the room,” Wilburn said. Lackey had more than 60 years in the ministry, including leadership positions at the highest levels of Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist Convention life. He served the university for three decades and with three presidential administrations in various volunteer, full-time and parttime capacities. “Dr. Lackey has been a pillar for the University of Mobile for several decades through his support to the President’s office, in the community, and in churches throughout Alabama. I have been moved by his heart for the Lord and his desire to serve others. He is indeed a man who will be greatly missed in the university and many communities throughout Alabama,” said UM President Dr. Tim Smith. A 2014 article in the University of


Mobile Magazine announcing the establishment of the Dr. Fred and Sue Lackey Memorial Scholarship captured Lackey’s energetic embrace of life and passion for sharing God’s love with every person he met. Calling himself “the Chief Resident Hugger of the University of Mobile,” Lackey said then, “I love people, and I’ve discovered this – it’s hard to oppose love.” He also loved fun.

“Being a Christian is fun to me. Preaching is fun to me. Sunday School is fun to me. Life is fun to me,” he explained. A native of Alabama, Lackey grew up in the Cheaha Mountains of Talladega County, graduated from Munford High School, and married Sue – a nearly 62year union at the time of his death. Lackey received his education from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama; Southern Seminary in

First Person: Two of the Best Men I’ve Ever Known By Brian Boyle

Louisville, Kentucky; and Luther Rice Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Science, Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Ministry. He was active in the Southern Baptist denomination on the local, state and national level, having served as president and vice president of the Alabama Baptist Convention, president of the Alabama Baptist Pastor’s Conference, trustee of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home, and as a chairman of the Executive Committee and member of the Administrative Committee of the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1990 he was named “Man of the Year” by the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission. He has served four churches in his career: Calvary Baptist in Prattville, Alabama; First Baptist Church of Athens, Alabama; Westside Baptist Church of Jasper, Alabama, and Clements Baptist Church in Athens, Alabama

No one loved University of Mobile more than Dr. Fred Lackey and Mr. Herman Shoemaker. The influence that each of these men had on UM and her students is indelible. They were close friends, and each held the other in the highest respect, both coming from humble beginnings in the mountains of north Alabama, and both sharing a common conviction about loving and helping people Their passing has left a deep void in our lives. But, they have also left us with wonderful memories. Bro. Fred was probably responsible for more students coming to UM than any other single person. Each semester, students would arrive on campus saying those familiar words, “Bro. Fred told me to come here.” On more than one occasion, I would call Bro. Fred on behalf of one of our students who had a need, and he always came through. Once, an international student received the devastating news that a family member had passed away and did not have the $6,000 needed to get home. I immediately called Bro. Fred to ask if he might know of a church, or a person, who could help. Without pausing, he said, “Buy the ticket, I’ll get the money.” Twenty minutes later he called me back and said he had the money, as well as some extra spending money for the student to use during the trip to buy meals and any other needs that arose. Bro. Fred simply loved helping our students. And our students loved him. I met Herman Shoemaker in December of 1987. I was a 19-year-old college freshman who had spent my first semester at a junior college doing more playing than studying, and my grades showed it. At the end of that semester, I knew (and so did my parents) that it was time for me to either get serious about school, or get a job. Since the latter did not sound as appealing, I knew that college was where I needed to focus my attention. I also knew that Mobile College was the school I was supposed to attend. I just didn’t know how. We drove 200 miles from Dothan, AL to visit Mobile College over Christmas break of 1987. As we entered Weaver Hall looking for the Admissions office, it became clear that there was literally one person working in that building that day:

Mr. Shoemaker. He greeted us with what I later learned was his usual warmth and positive attitude. When I explained to him that I felt that God was leading me to MC, but I didn’t know if I’d be able to afford it, or even if I’d be accepted, he said “Son, you don’t worry about that. You just show up in January ready to get serious about your schoolwork, and I’ll take care of the rest.” He was as good as his word, and from that point on we became friends. As a result of his kindness to me, I entered into that wonderfully fulfilling period of college life, with too many stories to tell about friendships, experiences, and all the best that those years have to offer. It was during that time that I met my bride-to-be. Ironically, it was Mr. Shoemaker’s youngest daughter, Mandy ’90 & ’95, who I somehow convinced to marry me after dating for a few years. Now, nearly 30 years later, I realize that that day was not just a chance encounter. He not only became my father-in-law, but also my mentor, my encourager, my wise council, my coach, my friend. He had an incredibly profound influence on my life, and on the lives of so many other students through the years. While we will miss Bro. Fred and Mr. Shoemaker dearly, we know that heaven is now their home. They sought to honor Christ by doing what they did for others, following the model in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” If you’d also like to make an impact on the lives of students, one way would be by making a gift to one of the scholarship funds named in honor of Bro. Fred or Mr. Shoemaker. Just designate your gift to be applied to the Fred and Sue Lackey Scholarship Fund, or the Herman Shoemaker Scholarship Fund. (See page 89 for more about Mr. Shoemaker.) (Brian P. Boyle’94 &’16 is vice president for information technology at University of Mobile, and has served his alma mater in various capacities including admissions, development, and marketing and public relations.) 55


By Shannon Mason

Watching the largest crowd yet gather in front of Bedsole Commons on the University of Mobile campus, ready to spend their day serving others, was a wonderful way to mark the fifth anniversary of Project Serve. What began as a way for the university family to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary has continued to grow each year, now reaching over 60 locations throughout Mobile and Baldwin counties in a single day and gaining national recognition.

Photo by Dan Anderson 57

Photo by Dan Anderson

Photo by Jessica Henderson


Photos by Mike Kittrell

“I remember when we researched possible opportunities for our entire campus to be a part of giving back to the community in honor of the university’s milestone anniversary,” said Lesa Moore ’07, executive director for marketing and public relations. “The idea of closing the campus down for an entire day so we could all serve together in various locations, in my opinion, really epitomized the mission of University of Mobile. It’s now my favorite event of the year and one of the reasons why I really love this place.” While many names were considered for this event, the name “Project Serve” was chosen because it truly represented the intention of the university and it was already being used as a name for smaller UM service projects that had been taking place. 59

“It has always been a part of who we are as an institution. This new project was an opportunity for everyone to be involved on the same day to make a huge impact in our community.” Kathy Dean Photo by G.M. Andrews


“Community service and mission projects had been going on for years at University of Mobile within Campus Life, the School of Christian Studies, and other departments,” said Kathy Dean, director for media relations. “It has always been a part of who we are as an institution. This new project was an opportunity for everyone to be involved on the same day to make a

huge impact in our community.” The success of the event relies on the involvement of many departments on campus. Preparations and coordination for the event begin with the Marketing and Public Relations Office. They are responsible for working with faculty and staff team leaders and promoting the event. Team leaders from faculty and

staff areas are responsible for organizing their individual projects and coordinating with location representatives. They also recruit students from their area to sign up for Project Serve. Campus Life promotes the event to students and coordinates student volunteers to set up sound equipment for the morning rally. Last year, over 1,300 faculty, staff, students, and alumni gathered together to serve at 63 locations across

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Photo by Dan Anderson


Photo by Lesa Moore

Photo by G.M. Andrews

two counties. Students served sideby-side with their professors, coaches and university staff to share God’s love through the skills and knowledge they are gaining in the classroom. Project Serve has impacted businesses, schools, nursing homes, city parks and countless individuals. Last year, music majors sang at assisted living centers and a veteran’s home; nursing majors took blood 63

My Project Serve Experience By Elissa Chamberlain Junior, Business Administration Major, Women’s Soccer player Every year, thanks to Project Serve, I look forward making a difference, no matter how small of a contribution it is. What I love about this experience is that, at the end of the day, I know that I have made a significant impact on the individuals I have helped and that their troubles have been made just that much easier. Truthfully, there’s nothing more fulfilling than realizing how much of an impact you can make as a volunteer. On a day like Project Serve, having volunteers working together to build a children’s playground or renovate a nursing home can truly impact lives. Indeed, just a few hours of helping can turn into a lifetime of opportunity, which is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering. At University of Mobile, volunteering is one of the best ways we know to make a difference in our community. Over the course of the past three years, Project Serve has taught me that whatever your passion and however you get involved, volunteering offers a way to have a real and lasting impact on the world. Contributing to the community has made me realize that every small act of kindness has great value, and that helping others can bring great joy. During my second year of Project Serve, I volunteered at Ella Grant Elementary School in Prichard, where I taught kindergarteners how to read. The overall experience was amazing, but what had a huge impact on me was the gratitude I received from teaching those children: they overwhelmed me with endless smiles, hugs, and thank yous. Even though I only worked with them for a day, their attitude toward me made me feel as if I was making a huge difference in their lives. At the end of Project Serve, I could sense that I had been a positive force in these children’s lives, which oftentimes had no other positive role models. This experience grandly impacted me and made me realize that, sometimes, the only thing a child needs to develop is a little bit of time, patience and kindness. In today’s world, it is easy to get overwhelmed by everything that is going on around us and forget who we truly are, and that is one reason I’m so appreciative of Project Serve. Whenever I’m feeling lost or forget what my real purpose is, I am reminded of how the smallest of us are struggling with so much more than I am. But above all else, I’ve never felt so incredibly grateful for the life that I have than when I was serving the community. Every year, at the end of Project Serve, I feel a sense of contentment. I step out of the school ready to be a little kinder, and a lot more compassionate. Volunteering has definitely made me a better person!

pressures, painted fingernails and visited with residents of Little Sisters of the Poor; education majors tutored children, cleaned classrooms and did yard work at public and private schools; ministry majors and student athletes painted a recreation center in the heart of the city; business students washed vans and painted steps at Dumas Wesley Community Center, and more.


One of the biggest projects this year, was working with Mobile city officials to paint the Harmon-Thomas Recreation Center. Students had the opportunity to paint signs outside the building and, on the inside, they painted the auditorium and lobby in bright yellow and orange colors. The day started with breakfast sandwiches, fruit and juice provided by UM Food Services. President Mark

Photo by G.M. Andrews 65

Photos by Dan Anderson

Foley kicked off the morning rally on campus before teams departed to serve. He urged students to connect with those they are serving and “remember that you are being Jesus to them, in that moment.” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson was on hand to proclaim Sept. 25 as “University of Mobile Project Serve Day.” U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne had commended the university’s commitment to community service with remarks in The Congressional Record, saying that, “While Project Serve will only last one day, I am

66 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 67


Photo by Dan Anderson

confident the experience will lead to a lifetime of service for everyone in the University of Mobile community.� Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam, a 1995 graduate who opened the rally with prayer, called the effort “a phenomenal task of service in our community. It means even more to me that it starts at my alma mater.� What truly makes this day a huge success is having the full support and cooperation from the entire university. Without each department working together to make day possible, it would not be what it is today. Photo by Danthis Anderson We look forward to serving and growing in our community for the years to come. 69

Photo by Dan Anderson


Intentional Influence at Heart of Growing On-Campus Community By Trey Taulbee


few years after Mobile College was established, two dorms were built on campus – one for women, one for men. These provided housing for roughly 100 students, as Mobile College was mainly a commuter campus. The community was tight-knit, even as new living areas were built over the next 25 years. But fast-forward to today and University of Mobile’s residential population accounts for almost 50 percent of the total enrollment. Since 1998, the number of students living on campus has more than doubled. This is due partly to an aggressive out-of-area recruiting strategy and the addition of new living areas that offer more 71

“As a staff member, I enjoyed getting to know the students. I ate lunch in the cafeteria quite often, had an open-door policy and helped with intramurals sports.” Jimmy Messer ’91

modern and personal amenities. But in the midst of these coordinated efforts lies an enhanced student living experience that has kept campus housing at or near capacity of 734 for several years. Back in the Day Before automated laundry systems and keyless dorm entry, dorm life was


slightly different. Jimmy Messer ’91 recalls his early days of writing roommate and room selections on chalkboards. “It was real old-school,” Messer said. “We met each spring and let returning students and their roommates select the exact room they would live in the next year.” As director of student development

from 1998-2001, Messer was responsible for residential life, campus discipline, and summer operations for M-Fuge camps. Assisting him at the time were “dorm moms,” ladies who lived in the dorm apartments and befriended the students, checked for curfew, and cooked goodies for the dorm. “The ‘dorm moms,’ who were usually retired women from local churches, oversaw each dorm,” Messer said. “They had a sub who came some

weekends and other scheduled times to give them a break, but we also had some assistant coaches who lived on campus and helped monitor the students’ behavior.” Messer’s own positive experience as an on-campus student compelled him to spend as much time with students as possible. “As a staff member, I enjoyed getting to know the students,” Messer said. “I ate lunch in the cafeteria quite often, had an open-door policy and helped 73

with intramurals sports.” Vanessa Neely Wallace ’02 remembers her time on campus as being “special because of the relationships.” Those relationships eventually landed her in the role as director of Residential Life. After an unfortunate accident derailed Wallace from pursuing medical school, she was approached by then–Director of Residential Life Sara Parker to consider becoming a “resident coordinator” in one of the dorms. Wallace obliged and joined


UMobile as a full-time employee to invest in the lives of students. Soon after, she transitioned to director. Significant changes followed. Plans for new dorms were started. Guidelines were developed to allow more male and female visitation opportunities, and lobby hours were extended. Prior to these changes, students were limited to visitation only a few times per semester. “We wanted to provide more freedom for our students within appropriate boundaries,” says Wallace.

Constructing Change Two private-style dorms were built during Wallace’s tenure as director, from 2004 to 2009. In 2004, Samford Hall was completed with more than 100 beds and, at first, housed women in one wing and men in another. In 2006, Karlene Farmer Faulkner Hall was completed, housing over 150 women, and Samford became an all-men’s residence hall. These new dorms offered a unique, more modern experience than the typical community-style dorm, including private bathrooms, media room, and a full-service kitchen. In 2009, the student affairs area


underwent a major structural change. The areas of student leadership, campus ministries, and residential life were combined into one office to provide a comprehensive, unified approach to the on-campus experience. Now referred to as Campus Life, this department is responsible for housing placement, leadership and spiritual development, student activities, service opportunities, and the living experience. The Director of Residential Life and Director of Campus Life would now work together as one unit in order to streamline all student activities and provide a cohesive on-campus experience. Additionally, Campus

Photos by G.M. Andrews

Life coordinators were established as full-time, live-in staff members that are responsible for the daily operations of their dorm, as well as an activity area of Campus Life. These areas include Campus Activities Board, Athletic Ministries, Campus Ministries, Intramural Sports, First Year

Experience, and Publicity & Media. Kris Nelson ’01, who served as the Director of Residential Life from 2009 – 2014, saw this approach not only increase the number of residents on campus, but also improve the camaraderie among staff and students. “Our goal was to focus the entire 75

“We spent more time being proactive and intentional about knowing the residents, attending sporting events, supporting the CPA, investing in our student’s lives. When you connect and invest in people, you earn trust and respect and can have lasting influence.” Kris Nelson ’01

Photos by Dan Anderson

residential staff on intentional influence,” Nelson said. “This approach connected with the student body because they realized that we cared about their success and well– being.” Residential staff went beyond their job duties to intentionally invest in students and, as Nelson says, “care about the small details in their lives.” Nelson, now vice president for facilities, remembers the balance of appropriate boundaries and freedom. “We were slow to ‘write up’ or worry as much with ‘enforcing’ rules, but we never sacrificed who we are as an organization or a school,” Nelson said. “We spent more time being proactive and intentional about knowing the residents, attending sporting events, supporting the CPA, investing in our


student’s lives. When you connect and invest in people, you earn trust and respect and can have lasting influence.” The residential population continually increased and, in 2012, a state-of-the-art, apartment-style dorm called The Timbers was completed. This included a suite-style setup with a central living space, four private rooms, shared bathrooms, and kitchenette, with accommodations for 96 students. Food options have expanded to include Ram Deli, Java City Coffee Shop, and Grille Works, in addition to “The Caf,” Ingram Cafeteria. But numbers and physical improvements are only half of the story – UM has experienced a dramatic increase in on-campus

student involvement through leadership development and service opportunities. “We have more energy at events and a more connected campus,” said Nelson. “We also experienced an increase each year of students applying to be resident assistants and graduates applying to be campus life coordinators.“ Current Director for Residential Life Greg Johnson ’10 believes his time living on campus was defined by “the deep friendships” he made. Now, he strives to provide those same relational opportunities by incorporating an intense hiring process for residential assistants each year. These 26 RAs are given the role of “making the living experience the best it can be.” “We believe the core of our on-campus experience is rooted in the quality of our RAs,” Johnson said. “We look to them to help provide an excellent customer service experience, build community on their halls, and look for discipleship opportunities among their peers.” Lasting Memories One of Wallace’s favorite memories was her relationship with Ben Hedrick ’12. Hedrick was a specialneeds student with cerebral palsy who came to UM to pursue his dream of graduating college. Wallace coordinated multiple efforts to ensure Hedrick would have the same on-campus experience as other students. This included a specially designed dorm room with an accessible shower, accessible walkways on campus, and accommodations that were made

5 77

Photos by Dan Anderson

to ensure Hedrick’s service dog, Kirra, was able to stay with him. “The fact that his mom trusted us to make it happen – that will forever be etched in my mind,” Wallace said. Courtney Colbey McGehee ’12, who worked as a Campus Life coordinator from 2012 -2015, remembers the particularly hectic night before Move-in Day 2012. Due to construction setbacks, the brand new Timbers apartments would not be ready for students to move in. Additionally, the area was still a construction zone, with machinery, gates, dirt, and equipment visible for new families that would be arriving on campus by morning. But that night before, under the direction of Nelson, the campus community came together to make it ready. Athletes who had already moved onto campus began moving the new furniture into the dorm. Student leaders cleaned rooms, and campus maintenance worked through the night moving equipment

78 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 79

(top) photo by Trey Taulbee (left) photo by G.M. Andrews

and cleaning the parking lot for cars to unload the next day. “I was completely blown away by the generosity of everyone on campus working together to make the day successful,” McGehee said. “I remember, as I finally was able to climb into bed for a few hours before the next day, knowing that this place was special and that I was proud to be a Ram. “Helping to build a community and a family was what I believed to be a part of my job, and that night was one of the greatest examples


of community that I have ever experienced.” Johnson, who has experienced the major residential growth since his time as a student, believes our best days are still ahead of us. “I think our on-campus experience has only gotten better since I was an on-campus student,” Johnson said. “I don’t think there is a better time to be a Ram, and I’m excited to help shape and create an excellent on-campus experience for current and future Rams for many years to come!” 81

Master Advantage The

Introducing the Newly Revised MBA By Lesa Moore

Making what seems impossible possible is a traditional role for a successful concierge. The same can be said for J.B. Locke ’00 & ’04. Though she doesn’t work at a hotel, you will find her tirelessly assisting students as a success coach for University of Mobile’s School of Business. Photos by Trey Taulbee

82 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 83

If students have any questions, need some encouragement or just need to know that they are not alone through this path, I will be there. J.B. Locke “As the Master of Business Administration (MBA) Success Coach, I work with students from their point of interest in the program all the way through to graduation,” said Locke. “I guide students through the application process and registration, then follow their progress throughout the program, offering advice on coursework and career planning. I even serve as a sounding board if a student needs one.” This personalized process is referred to as “UM’s concierge model” for adult and graduate studies. Through this model, students benefit from a personal success coach who will support them throughout their academic journey. Locke said that, as a success coach, she works with the student to facilitate admission, scheduling and even helps with textbooks. “If students have any questions, need some encouragement or just need to know that they are not alone through this path, I will be there,” she continued. “I believe that students should have the smoothest process possible so that their main concern is the actual coursework in the classes. I will work with them to ensure they register for the right courses during the right semester to keep them on track to graduate on time.” Program Enhancements In addition to the concierge model, the newly revised MBA program offers a reduction in credit-hour requirements along with a flexible pace and convenient online or seated formats. “The UM program is designed to be ‘user-friendly,’” said Dr. Jane Finley, dean of the School of Business. “The enrollment process is streamlined and personalized for the convenience of prospective students, and the flexibility in course scheduling enables


students to meet their goals for degree completion.” The non-cohort 30-credit-hour program allows students to begin classes at any time – fall, spring or summer – and complete their degree at their own pace in one or two years. The hour requirement has been streamlined by removing a 3-hour comprehensive examination requirement and modifying the capstone course to emphasize integrative leadership skills. The MBA is offered in three formats to fit students’ preferences and schedules: online, seated and in a hybrid format. “Graduate faculty members collaborate to lead the program’s capstone course,” said Finley. “In addition to case analysis and application of concepts from all the core MBA courses to examination of an actual firm, class members benefit from experiential learning that takes place through a simulation where they make decisions through team collaboration. Our program boasts teams that consistently score among the top teams in this global competition.” Finley said students with nonbusiness undergraduate degrees now may take “self-paced, flexible, online foundation courses” to meet prerequisite requirements at an affordable cost. Successful Graduates Among the positions that UM’s MBA graduates currently hold include president and CEO, FBI special agent, chief financial officer, vice president for operations, marketing director, and critical facilities manager, to name a few. With advanced study in business and an emphasis on ethics from a Christian worldview, earning this degree frequently results in broadened

career opportunities. “When you figure out what you want out of life – work toward it – work hard toward it and when you do that, you’ll get it. It’ll happen,” said Jared Freeman ’11, president and CEO of Alabama State Employees’ Credit Union, speaking on his own academic and business career. Davis Pilot III also earned his MBA at University of Mobile in 2011. Since then, he has been promoted to Critical Facilities Manager at Southern Light where he oversees the data center operations department, companywide facilities management and facilities network growth strategy. He is a Certified Data Center Specialist and a Certified Data Center Facility Operations Manager, serves on the Board of Trustees for UMS-Wright Preparatory School and the Dumas Wesley Community Center, and recently accepted a position on the board of Volunteers of America, Southeast Region. “What really set this program apart was the hands-on experience with faculty that you get here,” said Pilot. “You can tell the business faculty care about the students. They want to see you succeed. They get to know you on a personal level.” “The MBA graduate from UM can be confident of having completed a full, standard MBA curriculum that includes a balance of critical thinking skills, integrative skills, technical skills, communication skills and an ethical approach to business decision making,” explained Finley. “Employers report that they highly value these skills. “Further, the general MBA is highly useful in careers outside of business, including government and the nonprofit environment. Any competing organization can benefit

from leadership that uses an integrative approach toward sustainability, understands external impact, and takes an ethical approach in decision making.” UM’s School of Business is accredited by Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, modeled on the Baldrige National Quality Program. By virtue of the accreditation, UM hosts a chapter of the international Delta Mu Delta honor society that recognizes

students who strive for academic excellence. Finley said, “Employers will find value in knowing the applicant or employee graduated from a school that uses the same standards as those used by business, health care providers, and others to recognize excellence.” “University of Mobile will provide students with the tools needed to be successful and the added Christian and ethical perspective that employers

are seeking,” said Locke. “With an extremely competitive job market, earning this MBA degree will give students an advantage over other candidates vying for the job.” For more information on UM’s MBA program, contact J.B. Locke at or 251.442.2219. 85

This music video produced by the University of Mobile’s 8Eighty Records label highlights the talents and volunteer service of our students. It features performances across the university’s 880-acre campus by students in the UM Center for Performing Arts. The inspirational video also includes footage from local and international service and mission projects, plus musical performances by UM students. View this video at


䄀一一伀唀一䌀䤀一䜀 䌀伀䴀倀䔀吀䤀吀䤀嘀䔀 䌀䠀䔀䔀刀䰀䔀䄀䐀䤀一䜀 䘀伀刀 吀䠀䔀 ㈀ ㄀㘀뫶㈀ ㄀㜀 匀䔀䄀匀伀一

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⌀戀攀欀渀漀眀渀  簀 甀洀漀戀椀氀攀⸀攀搀甀  簀                                 䀀甀洀漀戀椀氀攀爀愀洀猀  簀   㠀  ⸀圀䤀一⸀刀䄀䴀匀 ∠ ㈀㔀㄀⸀㐀㐀㈀⸀㈀㔀㤀㔀 87

alumni relations

Our 50th Anniversary Alumni Initiative


t’s hard to believe that students graduating in 2017 will be the 50th graduating class of University of Mobile. 50 years! That’s about 12,000 alumni across the world who share memories of walking across campus, taking exams in Weaver Hall, eating at The Caf, and surviving late night study sessions. Since that first graduating class of 1967, home addresses have changed, people have gone online, switched email addresses, or changed telephone numbers. Our records haven’t kept up. Our connections with one another are too important to lose! That’s why our goal during this 50th graduation anniversary year is to update alumni information and get reconnected. This fall, you may receive a call from a current UM student during our Phonathon. I believe you will enjoy talking with current students about their UM experience, and I hope you also will consider giving a gift to your alma mater. Most importantly, this will be the perfect opportunity for you to give us your current contact information so we can better keep in touch. Just in case you miss our call, you can go online now and update your information at Or, give us a call at 251.442.2226. We want to hear from you! Kevin Wilburn Vice President for Advancement and Assistant to the President for Church Relations


CLASS notes

Herman Shoemaker:

‘An Ordinary Man Who Had an Extraordinary Impact’

March 20, 1936 – January 10, 2016

Herman Shoemaker, 79, of Mobile, AL, retired executive vice president at the University of Mobile and former administrator in the Mobile County Public School System, died Jan. 10 following a lengthy illness. He left a legacy of encouragement and faith in both his personal and professional life, making a positive impact not only in his family, but also through mentoring students and co-workers at University of Mobile. “He is an example of an ordinary man who has had an extraordinary impact,” said Chris Bell ’00, a UM graduate who performed in Vision, a vocal ensemble Shoemaker started as a recruiting tool for the Christian university. Bell said his mentor was a big personality who always had the best interests of students at heart. “People mattered to Herman Shoemaker. He made you realize you were special to him,” said Bell, now pastor of 3 Circle Church in Mobile and Baldwin counties. “Whatever he was part of, he gave it his all. The University of Mobile was very important to him, and he wanted it to be to us, too.” Kim Leousis ’86 & ’89, UM vice president for enrollment, said Shoemaker was “a genuine, thoughtful caretaker of students.” “He will always be remembered fondly by former students who usually have a favorite recollection, whether it is a light-hearted moment of confession about a campus prank from years gone by, or a life-altering moment of compassion and provision orchestrated by Mr. Shoemaker,”

Leousis said. “They remember a man who walked with the familiar jingle of change in his pocket, a spring in his step and a twinkle in his eye who inspired thousands of men and women that they, too, could make a difference in someone’s life.” A native of Hartselle, AL, Shoemaker graduated from Morgan County High School. He was a quarterback at Livingston State University and graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of science in physical education. He earned a master’s degree in school administration in 1965 and AA certification in school administration in 1974 from the University of Alabama. Longtime friend and co-worker Otis Brunson, retired head of MCPSS human resources, first met Shoemaker when they were in graduate school. “I saw him as someone who enjoyed life and wanted to laugh,” Brunson said. “It’s been more than 50 years; it went from being a professional relationship to a personal relationship, and we became very good friends. I respected him, I liked him, I enjoyed being around him.” Shoemaker started his teaching career at Slocomb High School in Geneva County in 1958, where he taught English, social studies, science and P.E. and coached football, basketball and baseball. He moved to the Mobile County Public School System in 1962, taught and coached at Toulminville Junior High School and K.J. Clark, and in 1967 was named assistant principal at B.C. Rain High School. He became principal at Sidney

Phillips in 1969. When he was named principal of Vigor High School in 1972, he took over a school that was racked with racial strife and had four major riots that resulted in the school being closed all or part of 50 days due to the fighting or tension. That ended when he became principal, and the school remained open during his tenure. He moved to the central office in 1975 as administrative assistant responsible for the daily operation of high schools in Alabama’s largest school system, then director of employee relations. From 1980 until 1987, Shoemaker was legislative lobbyist for MCPSS. He joined University of Mobile in 1987 as assistant to the president for enrollment management and subsequently served as vice present for enrollment management, vice president for student services, and executive vice president. He retired from full-time work in 1999 and continued as a parttime consultant for many years. During his tenure, Shoemaker developed a highly effective recruiting and student development system, resulting in dramatic enrollment increases. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Barbara; two daughters, Angela (David) Santom and Mandy (Brian) Boyle; three granddaughters, Caitlyn Koh, Savannah Boyle and McKenzie Boyle, and one grandson, Jonathan Koh. Memorials may be made to the Herman Shoemaker Endowed Scholarship at the University of Mobile, 5735 College Pkwy., Mobile, AL 36613. 89

alumni stories

This Is What It Means To Be Family by Rebecca Capone Johnson ‘08

Rebecca Capone Johnson Tim Johnson, and Mazie Grace Johnson



hen I was a student at the University of Mobile, we talked a lot about the “University of Mobile family.” It’s amazing how, in just four years, you can become so close to people who once were strangers, that you really do feel a special bond. During graduation season, I think back to when I graduated and was leaving my Mobile family. While it was an exciting time, it was also a bit sad, because we were all going our separate ways. The college brochures had talked about “friendships that last a lifetime,” but … would they? Fast-forward a few years, and something interesting has happened. Even though I moved to another state and started a family of my own, the University of Mobile family is still part of my life. And in a really unique way! My husband, Tim, and I are both Mobile grads on staff at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. And we aren’t the only Mobile grads to serve at this incredible community of Christ-followers we consider family. So it was really a family celebration all the way around when our church held an ordination service led by Senior Pastor Michael Catt in January. Three University of Mobile graduates and another with connections to Mobile were ordained into the Gospel ministry. The worship and ordination service was marked as “historical” because seven men total were recognized for ordination in one ceremony – the highest amount of candidates for ordination in one service at Sherwood. Here’s how my Sherwood family and my Mobile family intersect: Seth Brasher, a 2014 graduate

Kristin Oliver Crosby and Adam Crosby

Wyatt Family, Bruce, Alaina, Letecia and Clay

Katie Compton and Seth Basher

Photography by Brian Kelly

with a degree in worship leadership, serves as worship associate pastor and is engaged to be married to Katie Compton, who just graduated in the University of Mobile Class of 2016. My husband, Tim Johnson, graduated in 2008 with a degree in

worship leadership graduate, and he serves as youth worship associate pastor. I graduated the same year with a communication degree, and I’m on staff as marketing associate at Sherwood Baptist Church. Adam Crosby was also ordained, and although he isn’t a Mobile graduate, he is married to Kristin Oliver Crosby, who did graduate from Mobile in 2010 as an elementary education major. Adam is the sports and recreation associate pastor and Kristin is on staff as the children’s ministry associate. Clay Wyatt, a 2014 University of Mobile theology graduate, was also ordained. He serves at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as the high school ministry associate. Clay is a native of Albany, and his home church is Sherwood Baptist. Three others were also ordained: Brian Dougherty, Dan Mingo and William Stanford. It was an amazing experience to celebrate the ordination of Seth, Tim, Adam and Clay on the same day. What made the day extra special is the bond we share as University of Mobile graduates – members of the Mobile family. To add to the connections at Sherwood, our Mobile family is growing! We’re excited to welcome Emily Danforth, a 2016 graduate majoring in vocal performance, who will serve in the Worship Ministry and oversee our children’s music program. Emily was the 2015 Miss University of Mobile. Yes, I can say that the University of Mobile family ties are strong. And what can be better than being part of a family that serves God together? 91

alumni stories


A New Day, A New Age, A New CEO By Kathy Dean Photos by Trey Taulbee

Jared Freeman ’11

President/CEO, Alabama State Employees Credit Union


he biggest obstacle Jared Freeman had to overcome to be president and CEO of one of Alabama’s oldest credit unions was his age. “Age discrimination is real, and I found that it works the other way – you’re too young, you don’t have any gray hair, you don’t have enough life experiences, you don’t know enough, there’s no way this 27-year-old guy can lead a multi-million-dollar organization,” said Freeman. “It’s made me work harder.” The University of Mobile graduate is responsible for over $230 million in assets for 29,000 members of the Alabama State Employees Credit Union. He manages employees twice his age, and works with a Board of Directors who are contemporaries of his grandparents. “I think my age is an advantage in some ways,” he said. When the new, young CEO questions why something is being done a certain way, it encourages employees to break away from the way things have always been and begin to think creatively about how things could be. “It’s a new day, it’s a new age, it’s a new CEO,” Freeman said. It has taken drive, determination and passion to reach his goal – qualities that Freeman is using to energize and lead the credit union to the next level. “I knew I wanted to be in a position

of influence and a position of authority, and I knew I wanted to be there before I was 30. I had that vision, and I worked toward it,” said Freeman, who stepped into the top spot at ASE Credit Union on Oct. 1, 2015. He graduated from the Christian university in Alabama in 2011, earning both a Bachelor of Science in finance and a Master of Business Administration through the school’s 5-Year Integrated M.B.A. Program. A two-term Student Government Association president, cross country runner and Center for Performing Arts scholarship recipient, Freeman had a college experience that included meeting national leaders George W. Bush, Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee during the school’s annual Leadership Banquet fundraiser. The financial industry was also part of his college experience, as Freeman worked to put himself through school. “I was literally working for it every single day. I’d get up at 6 a.m. and drive down Schillinger Road to work at Regions Bank as a teller, drive back to class, drive back to work, drive back for cross country practice, and then go to a night class,” he recalled. When he started his career after college, it was his ability – and willingness – to make decisions that set Freeman apart. “We live in a world where nobody wants to be wrong, nobody wants 93

alumni stories

to make a mistake. Therefore, they don’t like making decisions; they’re bringing it to somebody else to make a decision,” he explained. “Truthfully, I just took a leap of faith and started making decisions. Right or wrong, I was going to make a call. I think that’s what got people’s attention. It’s definitely the reason I got the role of Chief Operations Officer at my last job. “Somebody’s got to make the decision. If you’re willing to take that leap of faith and be the one, you’re definitely going to gain some positive attention.” It was a different leap of faith that brought Freeman to the University of Mobile, when many of his friends were deciding to attend large public universities. “I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be someone different,” he said. When he drove on campus for the first time, “I just felt instantly

emotionally attached. It’s one of those things you can’t really put into words, that you just knew – this is it. This is where I want to go,” he said. But his parents said “no.” There was no money for a private college education in a family whose income put them in the lower middle class. After three months, “I literally pulled my mom aside one day and said, ‘I’m going, regardless. I’d really like it if you were on board.’ She just broke down in tears and said, ‘We’re going to do this.’” Freeman remembers vividly when he paid for his first semester with the savings he had been earning from part-time jobs since he was 16 years old. “I wrote a check for $9,386.84 which was every dime I had for my first semester of college, and sat on the floor in Weaver Hall and cried my eyes out, because I knew I didn’t have another dime, and I had only paid for

For more of Jared’s interview, go to


one semester.” Faculty and staff helped him get scholarships that, along with student loans, covered tuition each semester. “I think it’s incredible that you know you’re where God wants you to be when, against all odds, you go somewhere you know that you can’t afford. It’s incredible the way God provided that and made a path,” Freeman said. He brings that understanding of financial struggles to his career in the financial sector, where he helps people in “very realistic, tangible, practical ways.” “Money tends to be a stress point in a lot of people’s lives and in a lot of people’s marriages,” he said. “To be able to sit across the desk from someone and counsel them in such a way that you know you’ve just given them freedom from that worry and anxiety; that’s the most rewarding thing ever.”

That ability to make a difference is important to recent college graduates, Freeman said, “especially our generation of workers. They have to feel an emotional connection of some sort. They have to believe in it, to have a purpose.” His own purpose is clear. “At the end of the day, not only as a believer but as a business person, success is the building up of others. If we as believers and business people invest in others, and that becomes our product – people and building them up – then the income will take care of itself, the growth will take care of itself. All those things will happen because you’re investing in people.” Freeman loves being a CEO. “It’s intoxicating that I get to do what I do every day. It’s so rewarding; it’s so much fun, even though I’m working 60 or 70 hours a week. I hope that passion rubs off on people, that they become passionate about helping people and doing what they do,” Freeman said.

Young Alumni Award Finalist The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities named Jared Freeman a Finalist in its first CCCU Young Alumni Award contest. The contest recognized outstanding alumni from CCCU-member institutions who graduated within the last 10 years and have achieved uncommon leadership or success in a way that reflects the values of Christian higher education. 95

alumni stories


A Gospel of Grace By Kathy Dean Photos by Denise Webber

Jordan Van Matre ’07 Owner/President The Law Office of Jordan K. Van Matre, P.C.


ordan Van Matre has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments since he was Student Government Association vice president and a member of the award-winning RamTonz barbershop quartet at University of Mobile. He graduated with a law degree and the distinction of being one of the most decorated law competition students at Liberty University. He married Whitney, the love of his life. His law career has taken off – he started in bankruptcy law and soon was managing one of the largest bankruptcy caseloads in metro-Atlanta. Next, he joined the district attorney’s office as a prosecutor, fulfilling a dream of becoming a trial lawyer. His successes as a prosecutor were impressive. He had never lost a case, and won an important case before the Georgia Supreme Court, clarifying a complex area of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. He opened his own law practice and today is a criminal defense attorney in McDonough, GA. They are accomplishments made possible through hard work, talent and determination. But those attributes didn’t help when he and Whitney faced the heartbreaking and seemingly insurmountable obstacle of infertility. “I always thought, ‘this was my life,’ that things always work out like I planned. Our journey through infertility and adoption forced me to accept that some things don’t always work out, no matter how hard you work at it,” Jordan said.

Together, they faced two-and-a-half years of dashed hopes, unsuccessful infertility procedures, and celebrations of their friends’ growing families as they ached for a child of their own. Then, on Nov. 4, 2014, Jordan and Whitney started an amazing journey toward adoption that they shared openly on their Facebook page, Baby Van Matre’s Journey Home. There were ups and downs, times of doubt and moments of deep certainty, all shared with crystal clear honesty. It was also a spiritual journey. “I had to own the fact that God owes me nothing, and come face-toface with the idols in my life,” Jordan said. “My struggle was more about sacrificing an idol I didn’t want to admit I had, this pursuit of a perfect life. “This made me realize in my own personal journey that I have to be totally reliant on God in my heart. I had known that in a textbook way. This grounded me spiritually, in a way,” Jordan said. They had always wanted to adopt, but assumed that would come after they had a natural birth first. Whitney wrote about the moment their journey turned in a new direction. “After three failed procedures…God brought me to my knees. He made me stop in my tracks and reminded me that He was there in the moments of agony. I was treasured by Him and He wanted me – us – to take a step of faith and follow His story for us. “On November 4th, I laid it down. Now, let me be clear, I ‘laid it down’ crying and screaming out to God, but nevertheless that was our day of 97

alumni stories

beautiful, painful surrender. “And so began the conception of our baby – only to be grown in the womb of another woman.” Jordan said most adoptions take at least two to three years to complete, usually costing between $40,000 -$50,000. They started fundraising in early December 2014. Friends started a Go Fund Me page, Jordan built and sold wood furniture, they held creative fundraising projects, they even tried out for the Family Feud game show with the idea that any winnings would be put toward adoption. Only four months later, by April 2015, they had raised $30,000. “The only way we can figure it is the Lord knew Kennedy was on his way, and we were going to be parents,” Jordan said. That same month, they were in an airport ready to board the plane for a vacation celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary. The phone rang – it was a friend of Jordan’s from law school with the news that a woman in Orlando, FL was pregnant and wanted to give the child up for adoption. Her due date was May 3. The home study process required for adoption that usually takes six months was completed in one week. The Van Matres hurried to get ready for the baby girl the birth mother said she was carrying. “On the way to work, we got a text – Baby is here. It’s a boy,” Jordan said. The birth mother had not had an ultrasound and assumed she was carrying a girl. They arrived at the hospital to meet Jordan Kennedy on his birthday and were awarded custody the next day. The adoption was finalized in September 2014 – less than a year after the couple decided to stop trying to control their future and trust God’s control. Because the adoption happened so quickly, the money they raised covered the entire cost, plus


nursery supplies. They brought Kennedy home eight weeks before taping an appearance on Family Feud with family members including Jordan’s father, Jim Van Matre ’79 and brother Kory Van Matre ’15. The segment aired in February 2015 and included a memorable scene where Jordan takes to the dance floor, proving he isn’t a “stuffed shirt lawyer.” “I get a lot of compliments in my professional career that I can relate to anybody, and the University of Mobile played a role in that,” said Jordan, who earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and humanities, with a minor in philosophy. “UM exposed me to a diversity of people and life experiences that helped shape my understanding of the world and helps me relate to people with different world views.” His faith is key to his work as a criminal defense attorney. “Just like Christ is an advocate before us for the judgment seat, I want to be an advocate to be sure that what they do receive is fair and just. As wrong as it is to think someone should get off…it is equally wrong to think criminals should be punished more than what is fair. Justice, like anything, is always found in the balance,” he

explained. Jordan said he hopes the future holds more children in store for their family. His long-term goals are to be a leader in his community, raise a family, and have a successful law practice or be elected district attorney. But, as Jordan discovered, while there are limits to what he can plan for his life, there are no limits to what God can accomplish through it. “I’m thinking about going back to school and seeking degrees in apologetics, ministry or theology,” Jordan said. “I’m not able to deny the pull in my heart toward ministry.” Through experiencing heartache and facing adversity, he felt as if he finally understood the Gospel in a way he hadn’t before. “I’ve got this outward appearance that I’ve got it all together,” he said. “But God knows my heart, and I know the condition of my heart. Despite that, Christ loves me and accepts me as I am. The Gospel is about accepting that fact, and living your life as a response to the Gospel – the Gospel of grace.”

Achieving My Dream

By Renee Busby

Megan Brazel ’10

Park Ranger, Cape Hatteras National Seashore National Park Service


egan Brazel isn’t a school teacher, but when she goes to work every day she teaches people from around the world the importance of protecting the natural environment. The University of Mobile 2010 graduate is a park ranger for the National Park Service at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Megan has worked in all three districts of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, as well as three lighthouses within the Seashore. She is also certified for wildland firefighting. “Every day I educate the public on why protecting the natural environment, as well as our history, is important,” said Megan. “I help people see the world around them in a different light so that they may see why these things are worth saving.” Megan said it is not unusual to hear someone calling “Ranger! Ranger!” For Megan it is a “welcome sound,” because it is usually a cry from a young

person who wants to learn more about something they have discovered at the National Seashore. She attributes her success to her professors and University of Mobile, where she majored in history and English. “I was always encouraged by my professors,” said Megan, who still keeps in touch with them. “It is nice to go to a university that really cares about the success of its students.” University of Mobile, she said, helped her achieve her dream to be a park ranger, which is a very competitive job. She applied for almost 300 different positions before she was hired, then budget cuts resulted in a layoff. She spent two years re-applying and was eventually hired for the job she currently holds. “It has been a challenging journey to get where I am today,” said Megan, who never gave up on the job she

always wanted. “Even when I thought I would never get to achieve my goal of becoming a park ranger, I still did not quit.” Among her personal accomplishments are cycling more than 2,000 miles along the Outer Banks of North Carolina; reeling in her first shark, a blacktip caught on the beaches of Cape Hatteras; observing humpback whales migrating through the Atlantic from the beaches of Nags Head; and climbing to the summit of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a 13.5 mile trip, in 3 hours and 15 minutes. This summer, she started a new assignment at Elkmont Campground in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. In her spare time Megan is an avid kayaker, backpacker, cyclist and fisherwoman who is currently learning to surf. 99

alumni stories

Shining Light By Renee Busby Photo by Trey Taulbee


Morgan Carnley ’11

College & Career Counselor/Volunteer Coordinator/Special Events Coordinator/Camp Hope Director Light of the Village


organ Carnley is grateful to University of Mobile for lighting the path to her future. Today, Morgan is a shining example of how giving back to the community leads to opportunities. “Had I not attended the University of Mobile, I would never have met John and Dolores Eads and joined their team at Light of the Village,” said Morgan. John and Dolores are co-founders of the Light of the Village, a front-line, hands-on Christian ministry designed to share Christ’s message of faith, hope and love to the inner city, one person at a time. The organization started in the Alabama Village inside the City of Prichard and has expanded into surrounding areas of Prichard and Chickasaw. Morgan first volunteered at Light of the Village when she was a freshman at University of Mobile in 2007. Her devotion to helping children and teens living in impoverished and crime-ridden neighborhoods set the stage for her career. “She has been with us ever since,” said John Eads. The UM graduate has multiple jobs at LOV, where she is a full-time staff member. She is the college and career counselor, volunteer coordinator, special events coordinator and Camp Hope Director. She spent time at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles to learn from what many consider the nation’s “best practice” in gang intervention and job development. She has also visited Urban Promise in Camden, NJ and has helped LOV follow that model in expanding to multiple

satellite campuses. Morgan said Light of the Village offers many services and programs to assist people with their physical needs, but as a Christian ministry, it offers much more. “The longer I work inside the Alabama Village, the more clearly I see that I am not capable of changing the lives of others,” said Morgan. “Only Christ can do that. We know that an individual can lose his job, his home, or even his life. But no one who truly has Christ will ever lose Him.” Morgan majored in business administration with concentrations in finance and management at UM. Her minor was music. She was president of the Student Government Association her senior year. She graduated with honors in 2011 and received the Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award, the highest honor given to a graduating female. While working at Light of the Village, she continued her studies at the University of South Alabama, earning a Master of Business Administration in 2013 from USA’s Mitchell College of Business. Eads said Morgan has a unique ability to see opportunities and find new ways to reach out to the community. “When she volunteered at Vigor High School, she saw a need to have an ACT prep program” at the school for students, said Eads. With Morgan’s helped, Vigor added the program. When Morgan started working with Vigor’s girls basketball team, Eads said, she developed relationships with the student athletes.

“She identifies a need and God helps her figure out how to solve it,” he said. “She is very passionate for Christ, and that’s what drives her motivation.” The list of her professional accomplishments is numerous. Among those successes, Morgan launched three eight-week summer Bible camps for children in Prichard, Chickasaw, and Baldwin County that serve over 375 children each summer combined; expanded the college internship program at Light of the Village to accommodate growth in camps and ensure consistency among them; and found employment for over 35 inner-city youth and adjudicated adults. Morgan is a member of the 2015 class of Mobile Bay Magazine’s Forty Under 40, a listing of outstanding young community leaders, and a member of Coastal Alabama’s 20/20 Vision Project. She also serves as a children’s leader for Bible Study Fellowship and is a member at South City Church. “I am forever thankful to the University of Mobile for the opportunities I had there to serve and to lead and the lessons I learned while doing both, for the life-long friendships forged there and the support and encouragement those individuals still offer, and for the introduction I received there to Light of the Village, ” said Morgan. “We are changing our little piece of the world by introducing individuals to the One who can change them from the inside out,” Morgan said. 101

Alumni stories

Alumni Baseball Day

Celebrates ‘Good Ol’ Days’ By David Cagle Photos by Dan Anderson


ach year our University of Mobile Baseball program puts on an “Alumni Baseball Day.” On Oct. 31, 2015 we had 25 UM alumni, along with their families, who came back to campus for a family-friendly afternoon of reminiscing about “the good ol’ days” as well as seeing if they still had what it took to take the field! Coach Mike Jacobs started off the night with a welcome for the former players and their families along with an opening prayer. Proud children and spouses watched their dads and their former teammates suit up and take the field as they started off with a Home-run Derby. Then the former players teamed up with current players for the alumni game. Plans are already underway for next year’s event. Check for updates at

102 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 103

campus corner

Ben May Building Campus Corner By Shannon Mason


n October of 1997, the University of Mobile Board of Trustees voted to name the first of three buildings in the university’s new Academic Park the “Ben May Building.” The 11,000-square-foot facility, then housing a bookstore and food court, honored a business leader known as “Mobile’s quiet philanthropist.” His generosity touched people throughout Mobile, the nation and the world. His legacy, the Ben May Charitable


Trust, continues to improve the lives of people through grants to many community organizations, including the University of Mobile. In 2013, campus-wide renovations were made and the Ben May Building was one of the buildings re-imagined. It is now the home of the College of Arts & Sciences, with five classrooms and 10 faculty offices. You will also find the Marilyn Foley Art Gallery here.

Photo by Trey Taulbee

Photo by G.M. Andrews

Photo by Trey Taulbee

Photo by G.M. Andrews 105

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Betty (Sellers) Dobbs ’67 lives in Satsuma, AL. Betty has recently completed and co-published a book of early childhood memories written by her late husband, Dr. W.C. Dobbs, who was a professor at UM from 1965-1984. The book is available for purchase at www. Jerry Smith ’67 and his wife, Mary, live in Charlotte, NC. Jerry is an app systems engineer for Wells Fargo. After graduating from UM, he attended the University of Mississippi prior to being drafted. Previous positions included teaching school and interning with NASA. James Blakeney ’69 has retired from the Office of Sunday School, Alabama State Board of Missions after 19 years of service. He continues to serve part-time with emphasis on Vacation Bible School. James and his wife, Janis Gilbert Blakeney, have a daughter, Dr. Lamenda Blakeney, and two sons, Grant and Keeton. James and Jan have seven grandchildren.


Julie (Kernells) Paterson ’72 and her husband, Craig, live in Hattiesburg, MS. Julie is an LCSW private practice at Personal Growth Center. She has been in practice for 39 years. The Patersons have five children and 10 grandchildren. Gene Force ’76 lives in the Republic of Costa Rica where he serves as director and missionary for the World Wide Christian Ministries Center.


Mark Wakefield ’81 and his wife, Debbie, live in Prattville, AL. Mark recently received his Doctorate of Ministry in chaplaincy from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He presently serves as the chaplaincy strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Tim Hebson ’81 and his wife, Jo, live in Tuscaloosa, AL. Tim has served as dean of students at the University of Alabama since 2007. The Hebsons have been married for over 20 years.


Deryl Pendleton ’82 and his wife, Merle, live in Mobile where he is the CEO at Pendleton & Associates. They are proud grandparents of Audrey Durr, 3, and Troy Durr III, 1. Jerry Peebles ’82 and his wife, Oma, live in Gulf Shores, AL. Jerry is pastor at Oyster Bay Baptist Church. The Peebles have four children, one of whom recently graduated from UM in December 2015. They also have four grandchildren. Gary W. Griffin ’83 and his wife, Teresa, live in Elizabethtown, KY. Gary is an information technology specialist for the U.S. Government Department of Defense. Doug Chappelle ’85 and his wife, Vickie (Owens) Chappelle ’86 & ’89, live in Wetumpka, AL. Vickie is an education specialist with the Alabama State Department of Education/Alabama Reading Initiative. Vickie facilitates and coordinates development activities and supports schools in 15 school systems in the Auburn Region. Doug has served as pastor of Thelma Baptist Church for over 9 years. The Chappelles have been married for 33 years and have two married daughters. They are expecting their first grandchild in June. Allison (Henry) Lawrence ’86 and her husband, David, live in Mobile. Allison is a research tech for the University of South Alabama.

Lifetime Achievement” by Arkansas Business Magazine. Loren Robinson ’88 and his wife, Kathryn, live in Grove Hill, AL. Loren serves as director of missions for the Clarke County Baptist Association. Before accepting his current position, Loren pastored FBC Liberal, KS.


Pam (Perry) Parker ’90 and her husband, Hubert H. Parker IV, live in Mobile. Pam is a stay-at-home wife and active community volunteer. The Parkers have four children: Helen Gray, 17; Harry, 16; Callen, 14; and Dorsey, 11. Richard Harvey ’90 and his wife, Shannon, live in Bay Minette, AL, where he is senior pastor at Eastwood Baptist Church. The Harveys have three children: Justus, Graham and Wesley. Richard earned his Master of Divinity with a concentration in pastoral leadership from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2006 and is enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program with a specialization in church revitalization at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Rick Montoya ’92 and his wife, Tina, live in Navarre, FL. Rick is a wing chaplain of the 1st Special Operations Wing in Hurlburt Field, FL with the U.S. Air Force. He was recently promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on Aug. 1, 2015.

Shelisskia Melton ’87 lives in Mobile and works under Dr. Carl Brutkiewicz, Family Physicians. Shelisskia has recently published a book called “Health and Faith” which discusses topics such as healthy diets, exercise and rejuvenation of the mind and soul. She continues to pen additional resources for women including a work that is soon to be published, “Affirmations for Women” and “Conquering Adversity.” Shelisskia is the proud mother of her two lovely daughters, Paige Beretta and Porschia Bianca Melton.

Julie (Hatcher) Ralph ’92 and her husband, Andrew, live in Francisville, LA. Julie is an attorney at McGlynn, Glisson, & Mouton. The Ralphs have three children: William, 12; Catherine, 10 and Stuart, 8.

Barbara Grimes Goswick ’88 lives in Mayflower, AR, and is vice president for finance and CFO for the University of Arkansas System. In October 2014, Barbara was named “CFO of the Year,

Brian Smith ’94 and his wife, Carissa ’97, live in Germany where he is a brigade chaplain in the U.S. Army. Brian was promoted to major and given a brigade assignment in Europe

Jeff Motes ’94 and his wife, Donna, live in Jackson, AL, where he is president of Technical and Electrical Contractors. Jeff recently published a book of short fiction that has sold over 5,000 copies, titled “Once Upon an Apocalypse: Book 1 – A Journey Home” available on Amazon.

supporting operations in 14 countries and 3 continents. Shane Blake ’95 and his wife, Jennifer, recently had a second son, Isaac. Shane started a new job working from home last year as a software engineer for Paylocity. April (Crocker) Vogel ’97 and her husband, Adam, own and operate Selective Demolition Services LLC. The Vogels are expecting their 5th child this year.


Candice Saltzman ’02 and her husband, Kyle, have been married for 13 years and live in Scott, LA. Candice is a high school art teacher at Acadia for the Acadia Parish School Board. In 2013 they adopted a precious child from China who is growing into a determined and active little 3-year-old. Kyle and Candice are in the process of adopting another little girl. Monica (Cook) Aplin ’03 and her husband, Erik, have been married 15 years and live in Bay Minette, AL. After Monica finished graduate school in 2010, she was hired by the Mobile County Public School System as a library media specialist. The Aplins have two children, Luke, 11 and Avery, 7, and are members of Crossroads Church of God in Bay Minette. Adrian Bates ’04 lives in Mobile. She received her associate degree in legal studies from Faulkner University in 2014 and will be taking the paralegal certification test in the near future. Tommy Hodge ’04 and his family live in Milton, FL. Tommy is minister of music at Pine Terrace Baptist Church. Shawn Kennedy ’04 and his wife, Elizabeth (Morgan) Kennedy ’04, live in Chickasaw, AL. They have three children: Ava, 7; Ellis, 6 and Vera, 3. They adopted their youngest, Vera, in the summer of 2014 from southern China. Melody Tucker ’05 received the prestigious Milken Educator Award in January, along with $25,000 to spend however she wishes. The Milken Educator Awards are the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition

program, considered “the Oscars of teaching” by Teacher magazine. Melody graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology with teacher certification and minor in music. She is a science teacher and chair of the Science Department at Citronelle High School in Citronelle, AL, and teaches regular, Honors and AP biology; Honors anatomy and physiology. The Milken awards are designed to attract, retain and motivate outstanding talent to the teaching profession. Beth Stanley ’05 lives in Birmingham, AL. Beth graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and serves as Latin America program director for Lifeline Children’s Services. Chernick ‘Nikki’ Shaw ’05 and her husband, Russell, live in Mobile. The Shaws have two sons: Russell III, 11 and Carlen, 8. Nikki is teaching at Dodge Elementary where she completed her student teaching. Karissa (Knutson) Krause ’06 and her husband, Jason, recently moved from Lake Oswego (a Portland suburb) to Greenwood Village (a Denver suburb) for Jason’s job with Nike. Karissa is a stay-at-home mom with their two boys: Kameron, 4 and Karter, 2. She has expressed that she would love to connect with any UM alumni in the Denver area. Lynn Strom ’06 lives in Texas, but travels around the world for her job. After her time at UM, where she served with REZLIFE on campus, she traveled to Colombia, S.A. to work with children. Lynn went on to get her M.S. in clinical counseling psychology. She is now an LPC and works with Wycliffe Bible Translators as a counselor to missionaries and their families. While Texas is her home base, she visits missionaries around the world. Lord willing, she plans to go to Africa to serve at a counseling center doing trauma healing, crisis counseling and preventative care. Lynn has expressed interest in reconnecting with other alumni and welcomes others looking her up. Mykell (McGlasker) Hudson ’06 and her husband, Rodney, live in Semmes, AL. They were married in 2006 and

have two daughters: Myla, 7 and Raquel, 3. Mykell is pursuing her master’s degree in marriage and family counseling. Thom Dumas ’07 lives in Washington, D.C., where he is director of family ministries at Foundry United Methodist Church. Michelle McDevitt ’07 is a strategic planner for the U.S. Army and recently completed her second deployment to Afghanistan. She has served in the Army for 8 years and is currently in graduate school at Spring Hill College. Wesley Chappell ’07 and Allyson (Hartman) Chappell ’02 & ’05 live in Mobile. Allyson is a math coach for a school in the Mobile County Public School System; she also works parttime for Concordia University and is the administrator for her church’s youth group. In their spare time, Wesley and Allyson enjoy traveling to third world countries to help children and teachers. The Chappells are blessed with 2-year old twin girls. Megan (Dean) Desko ’08 and Andrew Desko ’08 have moved to Hopkinsville, KY, after Andrew received a Master of Divinity in 2014 from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Andrew is student ministries pastor at Hillcrest Baptist Church, and Megan teaches middle and high school English at Heritage Christian Academy. They are the proud parents of Sarah Grace, 5 and Luke Andrew, 18 months. James Tate ’09 and his wife, Julie, live in Saraland, AL. James is director of operations for Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, and he retired from the State of Alabama - Department of Conservation. Theresa Forbes ’09 lives in Washington D.C., where she works with the Presidential Management Fellowship of the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Amanda Akey ’09 lives in Houston, TX, where she serves as girls ministry director at Sagemont Church. Amanda ministers to female students in grades 7-12. 107

class notes Natalie Jones ’09 lives in Mobile and works in special projects at Trubridge. Grismig Anadys Suarez ’09 lives in Yaracuy, Venezuela. Grismig graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business.


Jennifer (Ponder) Pepper ’08 and her husband, Joshua Pepper ’11, live in Robertsdale, AL. Joshua graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Christian Studies and is the newly appointed administrative pastor at First Baptist Robertsdale. Jennifer is completing her student teaching as part of the Teacher Ready program and will be certified to teach English/Language Arts in grades 7-12. Megan (Brazel) Leigh ’10 achieved her childhood dream of becoming a Park Ranger with the National Park Service under the Department of the Interior. She was stationed at Cape Hatteras National Seashore where she patrolled miles of beautiful beaches and assisted in protecting the cultural, historical, and environmental resources of North Carolina. In the area she was responsible for several species of threatened and endangered shorebirds as well as loggerhead and green sea turtles. On May 1 she was assigned to her dream location, Elkmont Campground in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. She reminisces about how many told her that a Bachelor of Arts in history would hold her back from doing anything significant, but she has experienced something different altogether! John Fincher ’11 and his wife, Megan, live in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. John is associate director of development at Navigators. Julisa Theodore ’11 lives in Bay Minette, AL. Julisa is associate trainer at Panera Bread and completed her master’s degree at the University of South Alabama. Daniel Doak ’12 and his wife, Candace (Early) Doak ’13, live in Maplesville, AL, where Candace is a 5th grade teacher at East Memorial Christian Academy. LaTasha Jordan ’12 lives in Mobile and is director of business & finance at the


Dearborn YMCA. She has served as the senior manager heading the financial and HR Department since February 2014. Michael King ’12 and his wife, Melissa, live in Auburn, AL. Michael is an Alternative School instructor as well as assistant varsity baseball coach for the Lee County School System at Smiths Station High School. In their free time, the Kings enjoy watching Netflix, playing with their dogs, and attending Auburn football games. Brady King ’13 and his wife, Emily (Kolakoski) King ’14, live in Mobile. Brady and Emily were married on New Years Eve 2014. Emily is a 1st grade teacher at Robert E. Lee Elementary. Weston Mason ’13 and his wife, Ashley (Shelton) Mason ’13, live in Selma, AL. Ashley is marketing director for The Morris Agency Inc. After graduating, Ashley served as the tourism director for two years at the Selma and Dallas County Chamber of Commerce. She also started a photography business, Ashley Brooke Photography, while attending UM and continues to run the business on the side. She recently started a partnership called Peach Perfect Patterns with another UM graduate, Candace (Early) Doak ’13. Seth Lamb ’13 and his wife, Amy (Wright) Lamb ’13, live in Mobile. Amy is associate director for church relations & partnerships at Open Doors USA. Austin Curtis ’14 and his wife, Rebecca (Vice) Curtis ’15, live in Pleasant Grove, AL. Austin and Rebecca were married in June 2015. Rebecca is an outreach athletic trainer with Champion Sports Medicine at Liberty Park Middle School. Austin works for Education Corporation of America in the Financial Aid Department. Austin is also working on his M.B.A. Erica (Thompson) Mason ‘14 and her husband, Ron, live in St. Stephens, AL. The Masons have two sons, Ronald Russell III and Ayden Mack. Matthew Jacobs ’14 and his wife, Shelby (Townsend) Jacobs ’14, were married in May 2015 and live in Wake Forest, NC. Matthew is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological

Seminary working on his Master of Divinity with a focus in expository preaching. Caleb Godfrey ’15 lives in Arab, AL. Caleb recently graduated with a degree in worship leadership and is now serving as minister of music and media at First Baptist Church Arab. Kelseylyn Hicks ’15 lives in Mobile. Kelseylyn recently was hired by Hallmark to design cards, signage and take photographs for their stores. Lindsay Taylor ’15 graduated with honors with an M.B.A. and also received a B.S. in accounting. Lindsay now lives in the Mobile area and serves as an accountant for Wilkins Miller, an accounting firm with offices in both Fairhope and Mobile.


Rianna (Freeman) Turner ’03 & ’05 and her husband, Steven Turner, welcomed their firstborn, Ellyana Joy, into the world Dec. 11, 2015. She was 5lbs 12oz and 20 inches. The family lives in Mobile. Rianna is a marketing/design consultant at the WMU Foundation and a freelance artist for her own company, RiDesigned. Rob Foley ’03 and his wife Leah welcomed their firstborn, Ryder, on Aug. 2, 2014. They are expecting their second child in August 2016. The family lives in Denver, CO. Rob serves as dean of students at Denver Seminary and has worked there for a little over 5 years. Leah is a native of Wisconsin and is a rehabilitation nurse (BSN, CRRN) working with patients with traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. Richie and Emily (Ellington) Ferguson ’08 welcomed their son Oliver James on Oct. 24, 2015. Oliver weighed 7lbs 4oz

and 20 inches. Emily and Richie were married in July 2011. The family lives in Georgetown, TX, where Emily is a marketing professional for Reynolds and Reynolds. Britney (Barentine) Allen ’09 and her husband, Bret, are enjoying their newest addition to the family, Kaylie Nicole Allen, who was born in February 2016. The family lives in New Orleans and Britney is a teacher at Calvary Baptist School. Ryan McPhail ’12 and his wife, Amanda (Roach) McPhail ’12, recently welcomed their second child into the world. Ellie Ray was born Sept. 26, 2015 at 6 lbs. and 19 inches. Their firstborn, Grayson Layne, was born March 25, 2014. The McPhails live in Southaven, MS. Trey Taulbee ’08 and Michelle Taulbee welcomed their son Jackson Silas Taulbee into the world on September 9, 2015 at 9:15pm weighing 8lb 8oz.

Marriages Marc Joseph ’12 and Jessica (Compton) Joseph ’13, were married Nov. 21, 2015, and live in Delray Beach, FL. Jessica serves as executive assistant to the CEO/ marketing director at Redwood Recovery Solutions. Gary Hamner ’16 and Rebekah (Dye) Hamner ’16 were married Dec. 19, 2015 and live in Saraland. Once Gary’s military career begins, they will be moving to Fort Benning in Columbus, GA. Chase Alford ’12 and Christina (Lachappelle) Alford ’13 were married July 10, 2015. The Alfords live in Mobile where Chase serves as director of Campus Ministries & Student Development at University of Mobile.


Travis Larry McIntyre, 69, of Grove Hill, AL, Class of 1973, passed away on Feb. 15, 2016 at his home. McIntyre was a member of Grove Hill Baptist Church, Clarke County Historical Society, Huxford Masonic Lodge and Clarke County Educators Retirees Association. He was also a former member of the Flying Bricks Community Band for which he played trombone. He is survived by his son, Joshua (Jessica) McIntyre of St. Cloud, FL and other relatives. Joshua is Class of 2008 and Jessica (King) McIntyre is Class of 2009. Stacy Shea Madison, 43, passed away on Sept. 24, 2015. She was active with the local SPCA and St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital. Stacy is survived by her mother, Betty Madison; step-mother, Alice Madison; and husband, Scott Bradley. She is also survived by her children, Janet Durant (Larry), Cody Bradley, Dolan Bradley, Devon Bradley, brothers, Joseph Madison (Alice), Mitchell Peters (Stephanie), sister, Amanda Cook (Steven), many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, other family and friends. Kelwanna Alis Bruno ’15 departed this life on Nov. 20, 2015 in Mobile. Bruno was employed by Springhill Memorial Hospital as a registered nurse. She leaves to forever cherish her memory her loving parents, Norman and Linda Bruno; grandmothers, Elvie Nathan and Rosa Bruno; brother, Adrian Richardson; five aunts, nine uncles, and a host of cousins, other relatives, and friends.

We want to hear from our Alumni!

Would you like to be included in a future edition of Class Notes? Just send us the latest information on you and your career accomplishments, weddings, births, and/or adoptions. High resolution (300 dpi) photos may be emailed to torchlight@umobile. edu; please include your contact information in the email. Class Notes are printed on a space-available basis. Mr. Mrs. Ms. Miss Dr. Name________________________ Maiden Name__________________ Spouse Name__________________ UM Graduation Year_____________ Major________________________ Degree Earned_________________ Home Address ____________________________ City__________________________ State________Zip_______________ Country_ _____________________ Home Phone_ _________________ Cell Phone____________________ Email Address ____________________________ Employment Information: Company_____________________ Title_ ________________________ Address______________________ ____________________________ Work Phone___________________ Other Information: ______________ ____________________________ _____________________________ Please list any news you would like to share with us. Copy and fax this form to 251.442.2512 or mail to: University of Mobile Alumni Office 5735 College Parkway Mobile, AL 36613 Or submit the online form at 109

A Final WORD

Brian P. Boyle Vice President for Information Technology Class of ’94 & ’16



t is said that there are two kinds of people: those who love change and those who hate it. People who know me, know that I enjoy change. Several of my colleagues delight in poking fun at me for how often I move my office desk around. My wife tells stories of my many construction projects through the years that were undertaken simply because I wanted to change something (oftentimes only to change it back again once she’d discovered what I’d done). It’s true there are people like me who enjoy change. But not just for change’s sake. In the life of our beloved institution, we have seen a lot of changes through the years: new buildings, campus expansion, new athletic programs, and the incorporation of technology, just to name a few. All of these changes occurred for a purpose: to fulfill the mission of University of Mobile. These types of significant changes continue today. Recently, our academic programs have expanded, and we now offer online programs in ever-growing fields of study, with new programs on the horizon. Our enrollment process is constantly being adjusted to best assist prospective students and their families with joining our UM family. And our alumni office continues to expand efforts to engage with as many of our graduates as possible. And, of course, the most recent and most prominent change has occurred in our presidential leadership. As you have read in this magazine, after more than 18 years of dedicated service, Dr. Mark Foley has stepped aside from his role as president, and Dr. Timothy Smith has taken the reins on what promises to be an exciting new chapter in the continuing narrative of University of Mobile. Other changes are coming as well. You have read about the new look in our branding and advertising, including the updated university seal. There will be new faces among our faculty and staff. As for me, change includes my stepping away from my current role with our incredible marketing team to work exclusively with our talented IT group. And, of course, there is a whole new group of students, eager to start one of the biggest seasons of change in their lives. John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who only look to the past or present, are certain to miss the future.” Here at UM, we are grateful for our past and the contributions of those like Dr. Foley; we are encouraged in our present, under the new leadership and vision of Dr. Smith; and we are excited about our future, as we continue to hold firmly to the one thing that doesn’t change: our commitment to the Christian principles that the University of Mobile was founded on.

110 TORCHLIGHT | FALL 2016 111

5735 College Parkway Mobile, Alabama 36613


Torchlight Fall 2016  
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