Leadership Banquet VIP

Mike Pompeo: UM’s Faith-Based Mission is ‘Noble and Important’

Kathy DeanAdvancement, News


MOBILE, Ala. – Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about faith and leadership during UM’s 17th Leadership Banquet on April 6, drawing on his own experiences of serving the Lord and serving America through leadership roles in government.

He also emphasized the importance of the University of Mobile’s mission.

“This faith-based mission you are leading is noble and important,” Pompeo said in his opening remarks during the interview-format event held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center in Mobile.


Sharing the stage with Pompeo and conducting the interview was Gen. Paul Hankins, president of the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Alabama School of the Arts ensembles Deliverance and Voices of Mobile performed. The Leadership Banquet raises funds for the Christian university’s programs and scholarships.

During his service as the 70th U.S. Secretary of State in the Trump Administration, Pompeo was instrumental in bringing three American Christian missionaries home who had been held captive in North Korea.

“It was faith and my trust in my Savior that gave me any hope of executing my mission,” said Pompeo, who previously had served as director of the Central Intelligence agency and was a four-term congressman representing the Fourth District of Kansas. 

Prior to his public service, Pompeo graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army, leading troops patrolling the Iron Curtain. He left the military in 1991, then graduated from Harvard Law School, having served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review. For almost a decade he led two manufacturing businesses in south central Kansas, first in the aerospace industry and then making energy drilling and production equipment.

Pompeo spoke about the responsibility and pressures associated with his role as Secretary of State in making decisions every day to keep Americans safe.

“I don’t know how anyone could perform those functions, how you would live in that cauldron … of constant challenge, if they were unmoored from faith,” Pompeo said.

He concluded with words of encouragement to young people and the advice to take advantage of all the University of Mobile has to offer:

“I will share with young people here tonight what I have tried to impart to our son for all these years. If you work hard…tell the truth, and keep the faith, then – not every day, but most days – good things will happen. 


“My encouragement for the young people, for the students here today, is you have this incredible blessing to be in this place, at this university. Drink deeply from this place. Use this time – it will go fast – use this time to grab everything you can. Watch the leaders around you. … Take on the leadership traits of those you have been around that you know have been successful, and bring other followers of Christ to do good work. 

“Be fearless. That means working hard, it means staying at it, it means when people say you can’t do it, you think, ‘I’m going to chip away at that every day, I’m going to climb that particular mountain’…If you do those things, then the Lord will reward you. And America will reward you, too. You will have a successful life, as you define it. 

“You are very lucky to be at this special place,” Pompeo said.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known. Located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, on a campus of over 880 acres, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs.The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 and is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit umobile.edu, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.