News & Events

University of Mobile Grads Urged to Use Influence ‘Boldly with Compassion’

Encouraging the University of Mobile Class of 2014 to live intentional lives of influence, UMobile First Lady Marilyn Foley said receiving a diploma was a starting point, not a finish line.

“The rest of your life begins now – not Monday, not when you start that job, not when you get accepted to the next program, not when you get that next certification, not when you walk down the aisle. No, the present moment is life. The future motivates; but life is always now. Don’t miss it,” Foley said.

The Mobile Civic Center was filled with families and friends of graduates as the shofar, a ram’s horn, was blown to signal the start of the school’s 48th commencement ceremony May 10.

The university awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity to UMobile alumnus the Rev. Joseph F. Johnson, senior pastor of Mount Hebron Church Ministries in Mobile. The Shofar Award was presented to Dr. Dale Younce, retiring professor of Christian ministries, for “steadfastness in ministry.”

The university presented its top two awards to the outstanding male and female graduate selected by vote of the 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. The Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award was presented to Mallory Searcy of Fairhope, Alabama, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in humanities, honors with thesis. The William K. Weaver Jr. Excellence Award was given to Seth Brasher of Pell City, Alabama, who graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in worship leadership.

Additional academic awards were presented during the Honors Convocation on Friday, May 9 on campus.

Foley said that as a mentor, parent and wife of UMobile President Dr. Mark Foley, she has always felt that graduation was a bittersweet moment, as students she has known personally or admired from afar prepare to leave campus and spread across the globe.

“I’ve always wanted to stand in the lobby like a mom shouting final reminders and instructions to her children running out the door,” she said. “As a parent, as an educator, as a member of your team, your fan club, your cheerleading squad, I want you to leave UM with these final thoughts running through your head as you head out the door.”

Those reminders were: Know what you believe; use your life to influence for what you believe; and influence boldly with compassion.

“I think many people have misconstrued influence as he who can be heard the loudest, make the biggest waves, land the biggest punch. Jesus was none of that. Think about His life. It was marked by Truth delivered in love and serving others,” she said.

(The complete address is here.)

Johnson gave a rousing address after receiving the honorary Doctor of Divinity. He described his childhood as one of deep poverty, one in which the world said he would never amount to anything and eventually be institutionalized and, like his father, die in prison.

“Now, that was the plan the world had for me. But, by the grace of God, there was another plan,” Johnson said. “And God said, ‘this is the plan that I have for you – one of good and not evil. It sounded nothing like the plan of the world.”

“I would say to the world: How do you like me now?” said Johnson, whose ministry has grown from 200 members in 1996 to more than 5,000 with over 50 new ministries that impact the community through outreach programs and community-empowering projects.

Johnson praised his former professor, Dr. Dale Younce, who stood at his right on the stage and assisted President Foley in placing the academic hood signifying the honorary Doctor of Divinity over Johnson’s head.

“The man to the right became my dad. He taught me, “son, walk with integrity. Love God, and if you’ll love God, you’ll love His people,” Johnson said.

Younce, who received the Shofar Award, has been serving in ministry since 1954, beginning when he taught Sunday School and led worship at the age of 16. At 17, he was preaching once a week on “Youth Speaks,” a radio program. He has served in numerous church ministry positions, and first taught as an adjunct professor for UMobile in 1974. He joined the full-time faculty in 1994, and has been loved and admired through the years.

To see photos from graduation, go here.

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.

Graduates by hometowns are:




Eight Mile, AL – Julia Loretta Craig-Lucy, College of Arts and Sciences Achievement Award

Fairhope, AL – Malia Anne Bishop, honors

Mobile, AL – Erica Dees, Dawn M. DiQuattro, honors, Tiffani Lakeshia Luckett-Adams

Saraland, AL – Jenna Leigh Sasser

Semmes, AL – Sage Mary-Elaine Moye, honors

Gautier, MS –Sulo Jeff Leviskia, honors

Glen Rose, TX – Michael Chelsea Bryant, honors



Mobile, AL – Donna A. Cassidy, Demetria Lawrence, Yi Chun Lu

Saraland, AL – Laurel Hope Green

Melbourne, FL – Kalia Jade Jones, School of Business Achievement Award



North Augusta, SC – Landon Wynnford Williams, School of Christian Ministries Achievement Award, honors



Eight Mile, AL – Carol Janice Washington-Clark, School of Education Achievement Award, Area Award: Alternative Elementary Education

McIntosh, AL – Deborah Anne Lang

Mobile, AL – Tiffany Nicole Brown; Janna Michelle Corley, honors; Jennifer Marie Fetner, honors; Regina T. Greene, honors; Tahnea Antrice Martin, Naomi Shaw, Teshay Rankins Winfield, honors

Mt. Vernon, AL – Billie Byrd Johnston

Saraland, AL – Brenneka LaShondra Ruggs

Moss Point, MS – Deirdre Renee Johnson, honors



Barlow Bend, AL – Pamela Latrese Taylor

Mobile, AL – Jannie Gardner Brooks, Terri Y. Burroughs; Namuna Singh Maharjan, honors; Sherry Leonard Marhs; Tasha Jones Martin; Meredith McMullan Meadows, School of Nursing Achievement Award, honors; Donald E. Nelson; Taeyang Park

Saraland, AL – Shannon Crystal McDonald, Area Award:  Master of Science Nursing




Auburn, AL – Matthew Kyle Teel

Bay Minette, AL – Brandon Hayes Conway

Berry, AL – Codi Morgan Feltman, Area Award: Sociology

Chatom, AL – Melanie Diane Singleton, cum laude

Chelsea, AL – Anna Jean Cox, Area Award: Psychology, magna cum laude

Citronelle, AL – Andrea Cheyenne Myers

Coffeeville, AL- Tammy Rae Motes, Area Award: Social Science, magna cum laude

Cullman, AL- Will Justice Drake, Area Award: Humanities, summa cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate

Daphne, AL – Charsy Anderson, cum laude

Dothan, AL – Benjamin Nelson Granberry, Daryl Keith Granger II, Area Award: Political Science, Scholar Athlete Award, magna cum laude

Fairhope, AL – Sara Grace McClain, Area Award: Art; Mallory Renee Searcy, Annie Boyd Parker Weaver Excellence Award, magna cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate

Frankville, AL – Erica Renee Thompson-Mason

Guntersville, AL – Samantha Lynn Mowdy, Area Award: English, magna cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate

Heflin, AL – Crosby Lea Morrison

Helena, AL – Benjamin Cameron Stith, magna cum laude

Irvington, AL – Rhonda K. Wright

Jones, AL – Matthew Logan McCullough

Leroy, AL – James Matthew Watkins

Mobile, AL – Antoin Bernard Adams; Holly Elizabeth Bell, Area Award: Marine Science; Katie Belue, Area Award: Biology, summa cum laude; Jasmine K. Bennett; Angelique R. Brown; Regis Augustine Burkhardt III, cum laude; Honors with Thesis Graduate; Anita Miller Carter; Beatrice Charles; Sondra Jeanette Davis; Nikita Duwana Dumas; Kyrstie Elaine Godwin; Marguarite Shanta Hale; Natalie Rochelle Hannon; Khristin Amanda Hicks; Emily Darlene Jackson; Eitwanda Day James; Sherika Lashay Witherspoon Law; Tarrah Danielle Lucas; Shashann Macknight; Philip Doyle McDuffie, Area Award: Communication; Brooke Elizabeth Morrison; Melvia Lakeia Moye; Anastasia Victoria Rhodes, College of Arts and Sciences Achievement Award, summa cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate; Richard Patrick Schaffer, cum laude; Sheri Nicole Sewell; Shontal Monique Taite; Michelle Amber Tew; Monsenya Latinga Thompson

Mt. Vernon, AL – Carneshia Chicara Love

Opelika, AL – Carolyn Jayne Williams

Opp, AL – Anna Marie Hall

Prichard, AL – Carrie Williamson Robinson, Kimberly Yvette Wicks-Cooper

Saraland, AL – Lee Michael Allen, Liana Christine Clanton, Kayla S. Dutruch, magna  cum laude; Lizzie Vineice Martin, Area Award: Leadership and Cultural Studies, cum laude; Cynthia Grace Summersgill, Area Award: Secondary Education, magna cum laude

Satsuma, AL – Jessica Diane Bates, Joshua Ryan Blaylock, Sharol Renise Stinson Kemp

Semmes, AL – Victoria Michelle Wilson

Spanish Fort, AL – Jordan Gregory Chancey

Trussville, AL – Alana Alyse McDaniel

Tuscaloosa, AL – Margaret Anne Johnston, cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate

Wilmer, AL – Courtney Leann Lavender

Woodland, AL – Dakota Lee Cantrell, Area Award: Psychology, cum laude

Sierra Vista, AR – Molley K. Ward

San Diego, CA – Alexa Marie Da Rosa

Crawfordville, FL – Kiara Banine Gay

Lake Charles, LA – Kevin Blair Calloway

Greenville, MS – Michael Allen Southerland

Lucedale, MS – Jenny Marie Higgins, Brittany Kayla Hilbun, Honors Program Graduate

Pascagoula, MS – Charles Hunter Joplin, magna cum laude, Honors with Thesis Graduate

Portland, OR – DJ Giaritelli

San Antonio, TX – Rebekah S. Counce, Area Award: General Studies

Seguin, TX – Hollie Lauren Cooper, Area Award: Art

Powhatan, VA – Anna Angeli` Filliben, Area Award: History

Dunboyne, County Meath, Ireland – Eoin Dolan




Athens, AL – Rachel Suzanne Jones, Area Award: Marketing

Axis, AL – Juan Shundel Caster

Bay Minette, AL – Katy L. Ganey

Calvert, AL – Dasha Witherspoon

Chunchula, AL – Sheryl W. AuCoin, magna cum laude

Citronelle, AL – Riffeth Chase Jordan

Daphne, AL – Justin A. Myers, School of Business Achievement Award, Area Award: Management, cum laude

Fairhope, AL – Tara W. Coker

Flomaton, AL – Denver L. Hawsey

Grand Bay, AL – Jesika Carolyn Stork

Irvington, AL – Joanna Janell Canning, Area Award: Global Business

McIntosh, AL – Charlie Elroy Chestang Jr.

Mobile, AL – Jade Bolton; LaSheta Brand; Michelle R. Brown; Austin Guthrie Curtis; Terell L. Dennis; Katheryn Elizabeth Eubanks; Dorothy Marie Harris; Jameson Douglas Hathcock, magna cum laude; Mattie N. Jackson; Billy Ray Musgrove; Judson Armstrong Perkins; Charita Renee Russell; Jennifer Lynette Russell; Laile Dean Stagner

Pelham, AL – Alexander Riley Swan

Peterman, AL – Abby Laine Turberville

Prattville, AL – Sara Elizabeth Buster

Saraland, AL – Ty Miles Copeland; Laurel Hope Green, Area Award: Finance, cum laude

Satsuma, AL – Jared Michael Brannon, John Patrick Pledger

Stockton, AL – Eleanor Elizabeth Jaye, cum laude; Jordan Chace Whitfield, magna cum laude

Theodore, AL – Molly Carolyn Bull

Gainesville, FL – Tyler Leslie Crane

Melbourne, FL – Kalia Jade Jones, cum laude

Pensacola, FL – Stephani Gonzalez

Dalton, GA – Kalyn Holly Bridges

Hurley, MS – Susan Inez Mason, Area Award: Bachelor of Business Administration, magna cum laude

Lucedale, MS – Marc Pierre Dupont, President’s Scholastic Award, Area Award: Managerial Entrepreneurship, summa cum laude

Sacramento, NM – Daniel M. Waldon, Area Award: Computer Information Systems, cum laude

Edmond, OK – David Brent Walker, President’s Scholastic Award, cum laude

Quakertown, PA – Adam Spinieo

Houston, TX – Jared D. Darby

Americana-Sao Paulo, Brazil – Guilherme Scapim Arcaro

Bogota, Colombia – Camilo Salcedo




Bay Minette, AL – George Robinson Wimberley

Geneva, AL – Justin Alan Hall

Mobile, AL – Eric Raymond Elmore, Thuan Mai, Jacob Daniel Rainwater, Johnny Ray Thornton Sr.

Prattville, AL – Amy Anne Smith, Area Award: Christian Ministries, cum laude, Honors Program Graduate

Satsuma, AL – Dane Thomas Owen

Thomasville, AL – Matthew Michael Jacobs

Pace, FL – John Tarleton Soutullo, School of Christian Ministries Achievement Award, magna cum laude



Auburn, AL – Casey Elizabeth Page

Bay Minette, AL – Jennifer Nichole Stabler, cum laude

Birmingham, AL – Halie BriAnne Cooper, cum laude

Calvert, AL – Elizabeth Hartmann Johnston, magna cum laude

Chatom, AL – Christian F. Baker, summa cum laude

Chickasaw, AL – Jolanda Fernae Keeby, Area Award: Prospective Educators Program Elementary and Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude

Chunchula, AL – Stacy Malinda Lewis, magna cum laude

Daphne, AL – Emily Jayne Kolakoski

Decatur, AL – Sarah C. Calhoun, cum laude

Eight Mile, AL – Gala Binder Nobles

Fairhope, AL – Jordan Taylor James, cum laude

Gulf Shores, AL – Lori Louise McDuffie

Maylene, AL – Savannah Jo Thigpen, Area Award: Elementary Education, cum laude

McIntosh, AL – Ebony Shaundra Hill, Cynthia Lorraine Reed

Mobile, AL – Megan Nichols Abrams; Kia Ross Adams; Marilyn Marie Batteaste; Whitney Diane Broadnax, magna cum laude; Mabis A. Bush; Brittany Skye Chlystek; Kelly Garvin Clifton, cum laude; LaTisha Annice Terrell Cox; Gary Mitchell Dean; Holly Lanee Dunnam, President’s Scholastic Award, School of Education Achievement Award, summa cum laude; Tayler Marie Houseknecht, Area Award: Early Childhood Education, magna cum laude; Kayla Rae Killingsworth, magna cum laude; Marcy Yvette Montgomery; Tabitha Lyndsey Pierce; Alicia Renee Robertson; Jessica Lynn Rogers, cum laude; Sylvia D. Sawyer; Audrey Camille Streeter; Tonasha Renee Tolbert-Randolph

Montgomery, AL – Layton F. Rankin

Mt. Vernon, AL – Clara D. Cole

Opelika, AL – Courtney Leigh Payne, magna cum laude

Prichard, AL – Ka’Ron LaTesa Evon English

Satsuma, AL – Schyler Warren Reed; Hilary Elaine Salter, Area Award: Elementary and Early Childhood Education, cum laude

Semmes, AL – Mary Havard Allen

Theodore, AL – Mary Parrish Spencer

Tuscaloosa, AL – Shelby Nicole Townsend

Whistler, AL – Harzetta L. Chambers, Zeonobia T. Evans; Sherry M. Flowers

Wilmer, AL – Christopher John Walsh Jr., Area Award: Athletic Training; Morgan Leanne Woodward, cum laude

Wilsonville, AL – Judi Lauren Vigneulle, Area Award: Human Performance and Exercise Science, summa cum laude

Jacksonville, FL – Kara S. Jones

Pensacola, FL – Brittany Danielle Dunson

Loganville, GA – Elizabeth Reagin Boggs

Vincennes, IN – Courtney Christine Fenwick, summa cum laude

Accra, Ghana – Stephen Okai





Auburn, AL – Dontavius Martez Tidwell

Brewton, AL – Lauren Suzanne Kirkland, President’s Scholastic Award, School of Music Achievement Award, summa cum laude

Coden, AL – Benjamin Michael Folse, magna cum laude, Honors Program Graduate

Fairhope, AL – Jessica Lauren Hughes, cum laude

Indian Springs, AL – Colton C. Brooks

Mobile, AL – Justin James Gipson, Magan Whitney Wade

Opelika, AL – Addison Ruth Garner, Area Award:  Musical Theatre, magna cum laude

Tuscaloosa, AL – Matthew Tyler Magnuson, Area Award:  Theatre

Ft. Myers, FL – Shadoe Shaen Valentin, Area Award:  Vocal Performance

Okeechobee, FL – Alyssa Lanaé Wright, cum laude

Pensacola, FL – Katherine Loris Chen

Summerfield, FL – Jennifer Lynn Gonzalez, Area Award:  Music Education, summa cum laude

Wiggins, MS – Jeremy Andra Robinson, cum laude

Fredericksburg, VA – Abigail Elizabeth Pressley, Area Award:  Music, summa cum laude



Auburn, AL – Melissa Jean Maddox, Area Award:  Bachelor of Science in Nursing, cum laude

Citronelle, AL – Gwendolyn Nicole Rose

Creola, AL – Tereca Pollard Bettis, Chelsea Noelle Dew

Decatur, AL – Sarah Jane Lancaster

Eight Mile, AL – Denesha Johnson

Fairhope, AL – Catherine Lauren Cusa, Carolyn Ann Hailey

Grand Bay, AL – Linda F. Montgomery

Gulf Shores, AL – Jessica Lynn Gunn, President’s Scholastic Award        

Mobile, AL – Tabitha J. Box; Miranda Jacqueline Carr; Charles Armand Carter; Charmine D. Collins; Tracy Leann Cullum; Walt Christopher De Laney; Summer Hinsdale Fountain; Kimberly D. Giddens, magna cum laude; Airanita Monique Gray; Essie Denise Harris; Tchelinda C. Hunter; Sharie Reese Jackson; Connecyt Patrick Jenkins; Sarah Dawn Liska, President’s Scholastic Award, Center for Adult Programs Achievement Award; Morgan Nicole Mathison; Tchernavia Medella Mckinnis; Paula LaVette Rivers; Adrian Scheviette Rodgers; Nicolette M. Smith, President’s Scholastic Award, Area Award: Career Nursing Area Award, cum laude; Jessica Renee Whitfield; Taryn S. Wiley

Prattville, AL – Ellen Marie Easley

Robertsdale, AL – Jessica Danielle Lloyd

Saraland, AL – Marinda Dawkins Lawrence, Carrie F. Williams, Scott Alan Wilson

Silverhill, AL – Lauren Elizabeth Carnley

Theodore, AL – Lorie Allison Bush

Wilsonville, AL – Joy Esther Vigneulle, cum laude

Panama City, FL – Wendy C. Kennedy

Pensacola, FL Hyun Jung Eom, cum laude; Caitlin Danielle Perkins, School of Nursing Achievement Award, magna cum laude

Pascagoula, MS – Bethany Bell Whitlock

Terry, MS – Summer Shea Morrison

Houston, TX – Rachel Fiona Rebecca Kotlan, cum laude, Honors Program Graduate

Kathmandu, Nepal – Pratima Aryal



Auburn, AL – Kelsey Cassandra Moore, Honors Program Graduate

Gordo, AL – Jacob Alan Carver, cum laude

Montevallo, AL – Joshua Phillip Pike

Montgomery, AL – Christian T. Hilley, cum laude; Jack Britton Johnston Jr., cum laude

Moody, AL – Brooke Alice Bowman, School of Worship Leadership Achievement Award, magna cum laude

Pell City, AL – Seth Alan Brasher, William K. Weaver, Jr. Excellence Award, cum laude

Frostproof, FL – Joshua Allen Dailey

Canton, GA – Taylor Miles Anderson

Peachtree City, GA – Jessica Claire Rexrode, Area Award: Worship Leadership, summa cum laude

Senoia, GA Drew J. Miller, summa cum laude

Warner Robins, GA – Ryan Gabriel Schoch, cum laude

Decatur, MS – Paula Joy Vaughn, magna cum laude

Ridgeland, MS – Aaron Jacob Collier, Richard Joseph Kennedy

Amarillo, TX – Landon Charles Brantley, cum laude



Mobile, AL – Amy Jean Deakle, cum laude; Dewayne Donaldson, cum laude; G’Viere Mn’Toya Hill; Wendy Marie Hodges, cum laude; Cedrina Marquetta Runderson; La Toya Patrice Williams

Summerdale, AL – Tamara Callender Hadley

Hurley, MS – Jennifer M. Horton, cum laude



Citronelle, AL – Kristen Jordan Jones

Daphne, AL – Mildred Carroll

Grand Bay, AL – Tamikia Danielle Kelly

Mobile, AL – Kenya Berry, Sonya Eileen Chiniche, Jessica McNaughton Delaney, Charmaine Monique Jones, Alicia Marie Lee, Brittney Marchelle Lewis, Jeremy Keith Lundy, Lakeshia Freeman Mabry, Tara L. Stewart

Saraland, AL – Debra Sapp Bolton

Spanish Fort, AL – Melanie Ann Caldwell

Theodore, AL – Shawana KaCher Gibson

Callahan, FL – Stephanie Anne Schilling, cum laude

Marble Falls, TX – Jessika Linn Covington

Huntington, WV – Edith A. Beals, Area Award: Associate Degree in Nursing, magna  cum laude

Nigeria – Doris Omon John-Osobase, cum laude

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