The University of Mobile: The Place for Me

Marlee MontalvoNews

I have lived in the Mobile area since I was about 12 years old, and I am located approximately 10 minutes away from the University of Mobile in Satsuma, AL. I always had this big plan of moving and going off to college. I knew about the University of Mobile because my father, uncle, and grandfather graduated from there, but I had little knowledge of what the university had to offer.

My first real encounter with UM began on a tour that I took as a sophomore in high school. From first stepping foot on campus, I knew something was different about this university, but I was so set on doing things my way that I ignored what was right in front of me. 

My senior year of high school was when things began to change. Since I was young, I have had a passion for music. I started singing on my church’s worship team and in the choir at my high school, but I never thought I could do it in college. My true passion for singing was sparked by my student teacher in choir, Hannah Cherry Clardy, who is now an employee at UM! From there my love for music only grew stronger, and the Lord began to open doors at the University of Mobile. 

My senior year in high school, I got an opportunity to audition for the Alabama School of the Arts, and I knew I could not pass it up. I remember being so nervous, but I kept reminding myself to just go in and worship. I ended up getting a callback and found out I had been accepted into ASOTA and placed in the ensemble SoFree! I was confident that the Lord had a place for me at the University of Mobile. 


When I started college, I was undecided about my major, however when I began the Ambassador program, a student leadership group that represents and serves UM, I was encouraged by my leader to explore Communication. She saw something in me that I did not see in myself. Being an Ambassador has been one the most challenging yet rewarding things I have done during my time at UM. I have the privilege of serving my school, the students, and the community through acts of service. Because of this, I am not only an Ambassador for UM, but for Christ. This program challenges me to fully humble myself to serve and love others like Jesus. 


I am currently a junior, majoring in Communication, and I recently completed a minor in music! My journey in the Alabama School of the Arts has taught me that I can achieve the unexpected. I never saw myself pursuing music in this capacity, but here I am! One of my fondest memories when I was younger is of my mom taking me to see Christmas Spectacular and dreaming of one day being on that stage, spreading the gospel. How cool is it that I have been given the opportunity to participate in Christmas Spectacular for three years now?! During my time in SoFree, I learned to be confident in the gifts that God has given me. SoFree showed me just how beautiful authentic worship can be. It is special to see people with diverse backgrounds, stories, and talents come together and collectively praise the name of Jesus. 

I ended up falling in love with my Communication and music classes and will be graduating next fall! Since being at the University of Mobile, I have genuinely loved every moment. The friendships and community I have built are like no other. Everyone I encounter genuinely cares about me. I have grown academically, spiritually, and individually. I am so glad I let go of my plans and followed the Lord’s, because it led me to the University of Mobile. I cannot wait to see where the Lord takes me after graduation, and I know I could not do any of it without UM! I will forever be grateful for everything the University of Mobile has given to me.