UM President Lonnie Burnett Receives ‘2024 Alumni of the Year’ Award

Kathy DeanAlumni, News

MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile President Lonnie Burnett was surprised with the 2024 Alumni of the Year award in a ceremony Feb. 1 that also recognized alumnus Ronald Moore as the 2024 recipient of the Samuel Boykin Medal of Excellence.

In recognition of Burnett’s lifelong dedication to the university and the unique role he has played as a student, alumnus, professor, dean, senior administrator and, since 2019, as president, the name of the award that will be given each year is the “Dr. Lonnie Burnett Alumnus of the Year Award.”

Director of Alumni Relations Haley Haney said the Alumni Council recommended Burnett be honored in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the various roles he has served his alma mater since graduating in 1979.

Burnett said, “Being an alumnus here is something I’m proud of. This is a special place.”

Burnett plans to retire as UM president on May 30. After graduating from UM, he taught history for 25 years in the Mobile County Public School System. Upon his retirement from the MCPSS, he joined the University of Mobile faculty as a professor of history, eventually serving as executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, associate vice president, and president. 

Along the way, he compiled an impressive scholarly research record that includes two books published through the University of Alabama Press. He continues to be active in the community, where he has served as a member of the Saraland City School Board since 2011 and was named to the 2017 All-State School Board by the Alabama Association of School Boards.

His wife, Lynne, and daughter, Lauren Wetzel, are also UM graduates.

For information about the University of Mobile Alumni Association and the Alumni Council, visit

Pictured from left are Erin Harris, alumni council chair; Dr. Lonnie Burnett, Haley Haney, Charlie Brown, alumni council.

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, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.