MOBILE, Ala. – A Great Commission Globe fountain and lawn project that is the centerpiece of a new graduation tradition and symbol of University of Mobile’s purpose was dedicated Tuesday, May 9.
University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith said the Great Commission Globe “serves as a reminder of our responsibility before God as a university to prepare graduates from various disciplines for their Great Commission calling.”
The Great Commission refers to Scripture found in Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus instructs his disciples to spread his teachings throughout the world.
Smith said the black granite globe fountain in the center of the Dr. Fred and Sue Lackey Great Commission Lawn also serves as a visible reminder to students of their personal calling before God.
“For students at University of Mobile, the Great Commission calling begins as the student arrives on campus, touching the globe and asking God to prepare him or her for His calling upon their life,” Smith said.
He said as students at the Baptist university progress through their educational journey, they are prepared for their calling through three process:
– First, the student is encouraged to come to know God and seek His wisdom – this describes our calling to Him;
– Second, the student comes to understand who he or she is in God’s creation as the imago Dei or image-bearer of Him – this describes who we are in Him;
– Third, the student then comes to realize he or she is being transformed by Him – this describes our transformation by Him.
“Then, at graduation, the student touches the globe once again, signaling to God as stated in Isaiah 6:8: ‘Here I am, send me,’” Smith concluded.
Graduating senior Abbie McAuley said she is proud to be in the first class to start the new tradition during commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 13. For the first time in 41 years, graduation will be held on the University of Mobile campus at the site of the first graduation in 1967. Members of the charter graduating class of 1967 will attend as part of their 50th reunion.
“This tradition will bring unity to the graduating classes, as we see this globe as a symbol and reminder of our purpose. It is a tangible connection between classes, and a marker of the beginning and end of one’s journey at University of Mobile. For me, it represents the future, as it is an acknowledgement of the commitment to the command in Matthew 28 to ‘Go.’ Regardless of where I am, I know that my time at UM has challenged, equipped and grown me for this purpose,” McAuley said.
The Dr. Fred and Sue Lackey Great Commission Lawn honors the late Dr. Fred Lackey and his wife, Sue, of Athens, Ala. Dr. Lackey served more than 60 years in Christian ministry and died at the age of 81 on July 2, 2016.
“It’s a wonderful tribute to Fred,” Sue Lackey said. “He loved this university so much.”
Known affectionately as ‘Brother Fred,’ Dr. Lackey embraced life with an energy and passion for sharing God’s love with every person he met. His dedication to University of Mobile and its students, faculty, staff, and alumni spanned over three decades, and included service as a member of the Board of Trustees, Board of Regents, assistant to the president for church and convention relations, and more.
Dr. Lackey was active in the Southern Baptist denomination on the local, state and national level, having served as president and vice president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention, president of the Alabama Baptist Pastor’s Conference, trustee of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home, and chairman of the Executive Committee and member of the Administrative Committee of the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He was named ‘Man of the Year’ by the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission in 1990.
He served four churches in his career: Calvary Baptist in Prattville, Alabama; First Baptist Church of Athens, Alabama; Westside Baptist Church of Jasper, Alabama, and Clements Baptist Church in Athens, Alabama.
The Dr. and Mrs. Fred Lackey Great Commission Tradition campaign provided financial resources for lighting, sidewalks, irrigation and landscaping. The Great Commission Globe was made possible by the estate of Doris M. Davis, which also established the Doris M. Davis Endowed Scholarship. For 60 years, Davis was legal secretary to T. Massey Bedsole, Sr., who was a member, Life Trustee, and former chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1969 until his death in 2011.
Davis assisted Bedsole in his legal work as well as his volunteer and community leadership, which included the birth and development of University of Mobile. She and husband John were married for 38 years until his death. Mrs. Davis died at the age of 93 on September 4, 2014.
Curry Adams of Mobile, daughter of Bedsole and executor of the Davis estate, said the globe also represents Davis’ own response to the Great Commission.
“It’s her way of going forth and touching someone, too. She left such a wonderful legacy,” Adams said.
About University of Mobile:
University of Mobile is a Christ-centered liberal arts and sciences institution with a vision of higher education for a higher purpose, founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions through rigorous academic preparation and spiritual transformation. Core values are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. The university offers on-campus and online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in over 40 areas of study. Founded in 1961, University of Mobile is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and is located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama on a campus of over 880 acres. For more information about University of Mobile, visit the website at www.umobile.edu or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.