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U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions Challenges Grads to Lead at Critical Time in Nation's History

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions challenged University of Mobile graduates to stand for truth, work hard, live responsibly and be leaders in their families, communities and country, during his commencement address at the university’s 47th graduation ceremony May 11.

Sessions, R-Ala., was awarded the honorary Doctor of Laws (L.L.D.) and approximately 370 students received associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the ceremony at the Mobile Civic Center.

Sessions told graduates he has “supreme confidence in your future.”

“You all have the mind and the faith to weather the obstacles that face each one of us. And as you work to build this future for yourselves and for your country, I hope you will build it on the foundation of the fundamental ideals that have made this nation so exceptional,” he said.

Among those ideals is a commitment to truth, he said.

“In a post-modern, post-religious world – a world that you may be now entering – one of the first casualties is respect for truth. I feel it every day in Washington. Our entire constitutional, political and judicial heritage is designed to discover truth and then to follow it,” Sessions said.

He added, “You were raised right, you have been well educated, and you are ready to lead at this critical time in our nation’s history.”

Sessions said, “You will need to be engaged in this battle for truth in the years to come. I don’t see how our government can function if current secular trends lead to a collapse in belief in objective truth.”

Sessions told graduates, “By living with goodness and decency and honor, you will strengthen America. Each generation in America has been handed from their fathers and mothers a legacy of freedom, justice and opportunity. It is now on your shoulders to safeguard that birthright, to build on it, and to pass it on to the next generation of sons and daughters.”

UMobile President Foley reminded graduates “what was said to each of these men and women since they came to the University of Mobile was, ‘go change the world.’ I am looking forward to seeing how you do that world-changing in the days ahead.”

Retiring Professor of Christian Ministries Dr. Cecil Taylor carried the university’s ceremonial mace and led faculty and graduates into the Civic Center. Taylor, who has served as dean of the School of Christian Ministries and founded the University Missions program, gave the benediction.

Several awards were presented.

UMobile presented 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 were presented to the outstanding male and female students selected by vote of the university faculty. Both awards are presented to graduates who exemplify the mission of the university and selection is based on scholarship, Christian character, leadership and service. Receiving these highest recognitions possible for UMobile seniors were Sara Michele Dye of Huntsville, AL, and William Dorminy of Dothan, AL.

Other academic awards were presented during Honors Day Convocation on May 10 at Ram Hall on campus.

The Rev. Jerry Boyd of Jasper, AL, received 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, or call Enrollment Services at 251-442-2222, or toll free at 1-800-WIN-RAMS.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions delivers University of Mobile commencement address

Sara Dye receives the Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award

William Dorminy receives the William K. Weaver Jr. Excellence Award

The Rev. Jerry Boyd receives the Shofar Award

Retiring professor Dr. Cecil R. Taylor carries the ceremonial mace

Approximately 370 students graduated from the University of Mobile on May 11.
Congratulations to each member of the Class of 2013! Now, Go Change the World!
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