Higher education for a higher purpose

New students gather for a photo in front of Weaver Hall after the President’s Commissioning ceremony that marks the start of their University of Mobile journey.

Higher education for a higher purpose

By Kathy Dean
Assistant VP for university communications, University of Mobile

The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 by Alabama Baptists who chose the first phrase of Proverbs 9:10 as part of the college seal:

“The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom, and Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Now more than ever, the world needs men and women who have gained the wisdom, knowledge and understanding that “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose” provides. In partnership with Alabama Baptists, the University of Mobile has sent over 13,000 alumni into the world to pursue God’s calling for their lives and make a difference in His name.

Enrollment gains

Students and families see the value of UM’s Christ-centered education. Despite a global pandemic, Fall 2020 enrollment was its highest in five years at 2,016. New academic programs include the Master of Athletic Training program launching in Summer 2021 and, starting Fall 2021, a School of Nursing doctoral program and a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies. Currently, UM offers on-campus and online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs.

UM has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Value School,” was the highest ranked regional college in Alabama for veterans and is among the best regional colleges in the South. UM’s campus and dorms are among the Top 20 in the U.S., according to the ranking site Niche, which combines research with student reviews. UM was named No. 1 Best Small College in Alabama with the No. 1 Best Dorms in the state, according to the 2021 rankings.

Recent and ongoing capital projects made possible by generous donations and grants include the renovated Weaver Auditorium, now the George & Pat Dorsett Auditorium, and the refurbished Lyon Chapel. Groundbreaking was held for the J.L. Bedsole Strength and Conditioning Complex, which is to replace the 35-year-old weight room in Pharr Gymnasium. Funds continue to be raised for the complex.

“The U,” the new University of Mobile Store, opened at the site of the former bookstore in Bedsole Commons. Visit “The U” on campus or shop online at universityofmobilestore.com.

Know and Be Known

By Lonnie Burnett, Ph.D.
President, University of Mobile

Here at the University of Mobile, we like to highlight the phrase: “Know and Be Known.” One key aspect of this slogan is to know your purpose.

First is the pursuit of God’s purpose. The psalmist asked God to show us His ways and teach us His paths. In like manner, we want our students to pursue God’s unique plan for their lives.

God’s purpose

Second, there is a precedence of God’s purpose. I firmly believe that God will bless the student who recognizes that there might be a purpose far beyond his or her own, often well-intentioned, plans.

It is important that our students understand the eternal consequences of following their God-ordained calling. We are told in Proverbs that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Power of God’s purpose

Next comes the power of God’s purpose. While there is certainly no guarantee of health and wealth, there is a blessing for the person who has been called according to His purpose.

Finally, there is the payoff of God’s purpose. In 2 Timothy 2:20–21, we see what I believe is the clearest expression of the mission of the University of Mobile. We are told that if we choose a special (higher) purpose over the common, we will be “made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

It is my desire that these are the outcomes of a student’s time here at the University of Mobile. I have never been more excited about a school year and our potential impact on this generation of students.