The Honorable Jeff Sessions, United States senator from Alabama, will deliver the commencement address during the 47th graduation exercises for the University of Mobile on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m. at the Mobile Civic Center.
The university will award Sessions the honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) during the ceremony. Approximately 370 students will be awarded associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Christian university.
Also, UMobile will present the Shofar Award for faithful service by an Alabama Baptist minister to the Rev. Jerry Boyd, pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church in Jasper, AL.
The William K. Weaver Jr. Excellence Award and the Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award will be presented to the outstanding male and female students selected by vote of the university faculty. Other academic awards will be presented during an Honors Convocation on Friday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at Ram Hall on campus.
Sessions has represented the people of Alabama in Washington, D.C., for more than 14 years and is known throughout the country as a strong advocate for the rule-of-law and an unwavering supporter of American’s men and women in uniform. He believes in limited, constitutional government that allows Americans to fulfill their highest dreams.
He currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, a critical role in a time of economic turmoil. Senator Sessions is also a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which oversees our nation’s military, the Judiciary Committee, and the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Born in Selma, Alabama, Sessions grew up in the rural community of Hybart. He attended high school in Camden, became an Eagle Scout, and has received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. He worked his way through Huntingdon College in Montgomery, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, then received a law degree from the University of Alabama in 1973.
He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1973 to 1986, ultimately attaining the rank of Captain – a period he considers one of the most rewarding chapters in his life.
His interest in the law led to a distinguished legal career, first as a practicing attorney in Russellville, AL, and then in Mobile, a place he now calls home. Following a two-year stint as Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama (1975-1977), he was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed by the Senate to serve as a United States Attorney for Alabama’s Southern District – a position he held for 12 years. He was elected as Alabama’s Attorney General in 1995, serving as the state’s chief legal officer until 1997, when he entered the United States Senate.
He has received numerous awards while serving in the Senate, including: the Reserve Officers Association Minuteman of the Year Award, the National Taxpayers Union Friend of the Taxpayer Award, the Watchdogs of the Treasury Golden Bulldog Award, the National Federation of Independent Business Guardian of Small Business Award, the Coalition of Republican Environment Advocates Teddy Roosevelt Environmental Award and the Alabama Farmers Federation Service to Agriculture Award.
Sessions has served as a lay leader and Sunday school teacher at his family’s church, Ashland Place United Methodist Church in Mobile. He served as chairman of his church’s Administrative Board and has been selected as a delegate to the annual Alabama Methodist Conference. He and his wife, Mary Blackshear Sessions, have three married children and five grandchildren.
The Rev. Jerry Boyd will receive the Shofar Award, which is awarded to an Alabama Baptist State Convention minister for faithful service that may never otherwise be recognized.
Boyd was born March 19, 1941 in Jasper, Alabama. He was baptized in July of 1959 and ordained in 1974. He started Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown in December 1976, where he serves as bi-vocational pastor.
Throughout the Walker Baptist Association, he is known as truly humble servant leader with a Christ-like spirit who loves the people he serves unconditionally. Rev. Boyd helped launch the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen, and helped facilitate a tutoring school through a partnership with First Baptist Jasper and a local school in west Jasper. Much of the funding for the church’s various ministries has come directly from his pocket. He works tirelessly for his congregation and community, not only feeding people spiritually, but also feeding and clothing the needy. By his faithful example, he has inspired many other congregations in the county to join him in ministering to those who need it most.
For more information on the University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu, or call Enrollment Services at 251-442-2222, or toll free at 1-800-WIN-RAMS.