Nothing is Impossible

Patricia Dorsett '81

When Pat Dorsett ’81 sets her mind on a goal, she pursues it with the determination of knowing that nothing is impossible.

As a little girl in Knoxville, TN, she dreamed of one day becoming a nurse. Even as a child, she was determined to make this dream a reality, writing to various nursing schools to find out which classes she should take in high school to prepare her for this career.

She completed the diploma program from University Hospital in Birmingham in 1957 and began working as a registered nurse. By the late 1970s, Pat realized that she wanted to be a clinical nursing instructor and took a job at Southwest State Technical College in Mobile (which later merged with Bishop State Community College). It did not take her long to decide that she needed to pursue an advanced degree in nursing to benefit her students the most.

Balancing a full-time job and a family with four children, Pat began taking classes at Mobile College.

“If you want something bad enough, you can do it,” she said. “Nothing is impossible if you stay focused and put your trust and faith in God.”

By 1980, with the encouragement and support of her husband, George, Pat took a leave of absence from her job and focused on being a full-time student.

“Everyone on campus was so helpful,” she recalled. “I felt like I was right at home. My education experience at Mobile College and memories about the difficulties I faced during that time make me so thankful for the superb quality education I received.”

Pat went from being a clinical instructor and mentoring students to the one being instructed. She found herself wearing a student nursing uniform and being assisted by her own clinical instructor.

“I could not have been successful had it not been for the faculty at Mobile College,” said Pat. “Dr. Hilda Reynolds took me under her wing and helped me so much in planning my schedule. Dr. Eugene Keebler (dean of students) gave me so much advice and was outstanding in assisting this nontraditional student. Receiving so much personal assistance and encouragement made me want to work hard to accomplish my goal.”

Pat graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Mobile College in 1981 and went on to complete her master’s degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham a year later. She resumed her position as a clinical nurse instructor where she served until she retired in 1992.

Immediately following her graduation from Mobile College, she joined the alumni association. Recalling fond memories of alumni meetings, theatre productions and music programs such as Christmas Spectacular, she has continued to stay involved in the University of Mobile ever since.

World Changer

Prominently displayed on a bookshelf in her study are numerous awards bestowed to Pat from the University of Mobile. Included is the Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in Healthcare awarded in 1993; the World Changer Award presented in 2000; and the Door Opener Award dated 2006.

“We are so proud to have an alumna like Pat Dorsett,” said Brian Boyle, vice president for institutional advancement.

“Her influence has been deliberate in recruiting students, supporting events and promoting the mission of the university. She has been successful not only in her profession, but in the positive, intentional influence she has made in the lives of those around her. She is a great example of a graduate who has made an impact by ‘changing lives to change the world.’”

One way she has made a difference in the lives of others is through an endowed scholarship.

“My husband felt like he was part of the university, too,” Pat said. “He encouraged me to stay involved. Before he died, we discussed setting up an endowed scholarship at the University of Mobile.”

The George and Patricia Dorsett Scholarship for Religion and Nursing was established in memory of George and benefits students wishing to pursue careers in Christian ministries or nursing.

“I am so proud that my family can be a part of assisting a student to gain a Christ-centered education at the University of Mobile,” she said.

Dr. Mark Foley, president of the University of Mobile, appointed Pat to the Board of Trustees in 2002. She continues to serve in this capacity today.

“I enjoy returning to campus for board meetings and occasionally to just have lunch in the cafeteria,” said Pat. “I have developed many friendships at UMobile and am so grateful for my education experiences there.”

Leaving a Legacy

“There is something about driving up the front entrance toward Weaver Hall,” she said. “It brings back so many memories. If not for UMobile, my life would be so different. I will always be appreciative to the University of Mobile.”

The love and appreciation that Pat has for the University of Mobile has spread to family members as well. Her son, Dr. Wayne Dorsett ’76, graduated from Mobile College and is now serving as pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Warner Robbins, GA. Granddaughter Erin Dorsett Vaughn ’00 graduated from the University of Mobile with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Another son, Martin Dorsett, currently serves on the UMobile Board of Trustees.

Pat’s determination and persistence in pursuing her education has been an inspiration to those around her and will continue as students follow in her path.

“I have watched the changes take place over the years on this beautiful campus,” Pat said. “I am so pleased with the influence the University of Mobile has had on the state of Alabama and to students beyond the state. I believe it is truly the best Christian university in the country.”