News & Events

First Lady of University of Mobile to Deliver Commencement Address; UMobile Grad the Rev. Joe Johnson to Receive Honorary Doctor of Divinity

The University of Mobile will award degrees to approximately 330 candidates for graduation during commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. at the Mobile Civic Center.

Marilyn Foley, First Lady of the Christian university, will deliver the commencement address. The university will award the honorary Doctor of Divinity to the Rev. Joseph F. Johnson, senior pastor of Mount Hebron Baptist Church in Mobile.

Also, UMobile will present the Shofar Award for faithful service by an Alabama Baptist minister that may never otherwise be recognized. 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 9, at 9 a.m. at Ram Hall on campus.

Marilyn Foley has served as First Lady of the University of Mobile since 1998, when Dr. Mark Foley was selected to be the third president of the university.

She is an accomplished former classroom educator, wife, mother, grandmother, community volunteer and church leader.  She is a supporter of the arts as well as an artist who creates unique pieces of ceramics and pottery in her home studio. She was recently recognized for her support when the school’s new art space was named the Marilyn Foley Art Gallery.

Foley mentors young women through volunteer activities and is sponsor of the Campus Women’s Ministry at the University of Mobile.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education and art from Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Johnson is senior pastor of Mount Hebron Church Ministries in Mobile, Alabama. Affectionately known as “Pastor Joe,” he began his ministry in 1996 with a congregation consisting of 200 members. Today, membership has grown to more than 5,000 with over 50 new ministries that allow Mount Hebron to further impact the community through outreach programs and community-empowering projects.

He served 20 years in the United States Air Force and retired at the rank of master sergeant. He is a graduate of the University of Mobile with a bachelor’s degree in religion, and holds a bachelor’s degree in health care management from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. In addition, he received an honorary doctorate from Saint Thomas Christian College.

He is married to Linda, his life partner and co-laborer in ministry. Their heart for missions has enabled Mount Hebron to build relationships worldwide by helping to launch a church in Kenya, support an orphanage in India and support a church in Brazil.

Through Pastor Joe’s leadership, Mount Hebron has initiated programs such as Community Cultural Enrichment, summer camp, a Christian dance studio, Community Development Ministries, and the Christian Child Development Center that employs over 25 people. Additionally, the church body ministers to the community as a whole on a monthly basis through its “Hour of Power” initiative. Many of the church’s outreach programs are made possible through the construction of the Family

Life Center in 2003 and a youth activity center in 2008, called the “Bright Spot.”

Pastor Joe partners with and encourages church members to volunteer with other ministries in the city. Along with his son, Timothy Johnson, he has piloted an after school program that allows students in the Trinity Gardens community to have a safe place of retreat while receiving free tutoring and spiritual development. The youth of Mount Hebron also launched a youth mentoring program that focuses on Vigor and Blount High School students.

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.

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