Calling it a “great honor” to serve, Lonnie Burnett was formally installed as the fifth president of the University of Mobile in a celebration held May 7 on the campus’ Great Commission Lawn. Burnett was named president in November 2019, but his inauguration was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Little did Dr. Burnett know then that right out of the gate, he would lead this university through a global pandemic, two hurricanes and nationwide unrest,” said Fred Wilson, chair of UM’s trustee board.
But Burnett has led well, said UM President Emeritus Mark Foley, who expressed confidence in Burnett’s leadership going forward.
“He is the right man, in the right place, at the right time, doing it the right way. May God cast His blessing upon him,” Foley said.
Thanks to Alabama Baptists
In his inaugural address, Burnett thanked Alabama Baptists, who “support us financially, pray for us and send us students.”
Elaborating on the university’s theme, “Know and Be Known,” Burnett said UM will continue to strive to help students better know God, themselves and their vocational and Christian calling. He called the UM community to be known for excellence, faith, love and devotion.
He also spoke about his journey at UM from student to president and his vision for the future.
“Through the decades, two things have remained constant. First, we have remained true to the mission, and second, the faithfulness of God. It is a great honor to be the fifth president of this university,” said Burnett.
Burnett graduated with his bachelor’s degree from then-Mobile College in 1979. He also holds a master’s degree from the University of South Alabama and a doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He taught 25 years with the Mobile County Public School System and began teaching full-time at UM in 2005. Prior to being named president, he served as chair of the social and behavioral sciences department, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and vice provost for UM. He is the author of two books and has received several awards.
Burnett and his wife, Lynne, are members of Redemption Church in Saraland, where he taught an adult Bible study class for more than 20 years. (TAB Media, UM contributed)