Tracey Henry Award Graphic

UM Alumna Dr. Tracey Henry Named 2021 Boykin Award Honoree

Kathy DeanAlumni, News, Sciences

MOBILE, Ala. – Dr. Tracey Henry, a physician and professor with Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, was awarded the 2021 Samuel Boykin Medal of Excellence by her alma mater, the University of Mobile.

“We are so proud that you are a graduate of the University of Mobile,” said UM President Lonnie Burnett, announcing the honor in a virtual ceremony on Feb. 26 that can be viewed at

“On behalf of all of us at the University of Mobile, I would like to thank you, Dr. Henry, for your sacrificial and tireless service to others, for being an advocate for students and patients, and for living out your Christian faith on a daily basis,” Burnett said.

The Samuel Boykin Medal of Excellence was established in 2019 to honor the life of the late Samuel M. Boykin, the first African American graduate of the University of Mobile. The award recognizes outstanding African American graduates of the Christian university who reflect the ideals of virtuosity, faith and charity that Boykin exemplified throughout his career, family and community.

Dr. Henry is a 2002 graduate of the University of Mobile with a degree in psychology. She attended medical school at Georgetown University and earned her Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Now a practicing physician and professor with Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, in 2017 she was chosen as one of 60 U.S. Presidential Leadership Scholars.

Long an advocate for relieving the burden of student loan debt on the medical profession, Henry has testified before the U.S. Congress about the average student loan debt that hampers students in healthcare fields.

A profile in the university’s Fall 2020 TorchLight alumni magazine said Henry enjoys helping people achieve wellness, and part of that wellness is spiritual wellness. In addition to her medical expertise, she is eager and willing to share scripture and the Gospel with those around her.

Henry is the first recipient of the award, which was established in 2019. Due to the pandemic, the award was not presented in 2020.

Samuel Boykin, second from right

UM Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Wilson presented the first medallion to Boykin’s widow, Ellen Hardiman Boykin, during a Chapel service Feb. 27, 2019, on the university campus. Mrs. Boykin traveled from California for the ceremony that honored her late husband, as family, friends and hundreds of university students looked on. Boykin died Dec. 11, 2018.

In a 2011 interview for the university’s TorchLight alumni magazine, Boykin said he took pride in graduating from Mobile College, and in being the first African American to do so.

He was a graduate of Mattie T. Blount High School in the Mobile County Public School System and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1969 from Mobile College, now University of Mobile. He served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, moved to California, graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, and worked in accounting and administration.

“He grew up to become a good, hard-working man,” reads his obituary.

About the University of Mobile

The 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, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs. Founded in 1961, the 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 the University of Mobile, visit the website at or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is associate vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.