When the final brick was set into place, a massive three-story building stood on a red dirt mound surrounded by hundreds of acres of dogwoods, oaks, and azaleas. That building - the University of Mobile's first classroom and administration facility - represented a dream come true. For thousands of Alabama Baptists, as well as other church and civic leaders in Alabama, the opening of the liberal arts college was the result of a decade of hopes, hard work, and prayer. The first building represented the great things that could be accomplished when a community and denomination joined hands for a common goal - higher education in the Christian tradition.
Chartered in 1961 as Mobile College, the institution celebrated decades of growth and success in 1993 by changing its name to the University of Mobile. The story of the university began in 1952, when the Mobile Baptist Association appointed a committee to study the feasibility of starting a Baptist-affliated college in Mobile. In 1959, the Alabama Baptist State Convention agreed to build and operate a college if the Mobile community would raise $1.5 million within two years. Only one year later, area churches, businesses, and industries pledged more than $2 million to the effort.
Dr. William K. Weaver, Jr., was appointed president of Mobile College on April 1, 1961, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1984. When Alabama Governor John Patterson signed the college's charter in 1961, Mobile College became the first senior college to be chartered in the state in 57 years. The college's first administration and classroom building, now named Weaver Hall in honor of the institution's first president, was completed in 1963. The college gained accreditation in 1968 from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The second president, Dr. Michael A. Magnoli, was inaugurated in 1984 and oversaw a period of continued growth.
On February 13, 1998, the University of Mobile Board of Trustees unanimously elected Dr. Mark R. Foley as the third president. Under Dr. Foley's leadership, the University of Mobile entered the new millennium with the express purpose of preparing students academically, socially, and spiritually to impact the world. New academic majors have been added as the university anticipates and responds to changing needs. Renovation of Weaver Hall, including a hipped roof with cupola and portico, provided a new focal point for the campus. Samford Hall, a 101-bed residence hall, was completed in 2004. In 2006, the 151-bed Karlene Farmer Faulkner Hall opened. In 2009, Ram Hall expanded the cafeteria and provided a state-of-the-art auditorium for student events and concerts. A master plan for the campus guides the ongoing renovation of classrooms and laboratories to accommodate additional academic programs.
Throughout the decades, the university has maintained a highly dedicated faculty providing quality Christian higher education. From its rich past to a future bright with promise, the University of Mobile continues to be a thriving institution dedicated to helping students grow academically, socially, and spiritually.