MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile alumnus and military veteran Terry Lee Chatmon returned to his alma mater on Veterans Day, back to the campus where he re-found his faith after his military service.
Chatmon was among the many alumni, students, faculty and staff, and veterans who attended the University of Mobile Veterans Day event on Nov. 11. RamCorps presented the National Anthem, and University of Mobile graduate and USN Retired Navy Admiral Endel Lee spoke.
Growing up in Louisiana, Chatmon learned about the University of Mobile, then Mobile College, during his time in Germany and Vietnam. After retiring with over 20 years of military service, he decided to move to Mobile in order to pursue a degree and find the religion that he lost while in service. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in social sciences.
“Being here has brought back such great memories. After seeing the conditions in Vietnam and all over the world, I was really doubting God and wasn’t so sure if I believed anymore. I heard about the University of Mobile while I was overseas in the service and decided to attend to get my life straight,” said Chatmon.
Chatmon recounted his time at UM and remembered all who helped him earn his degree and re-find his faith in God. He remembered that his professors cared about his physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
“All of the professors on campus really helped us veterans out. They knew us by name and made sure to make time for us. I really love and have so much respect for this institution,” Chatmon said.
The University of Mobile provides multiple opportunities for veterans who are looking to earn a degree. UM is ranked in the Best Regional Colleges in the South for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report. The University also participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program.
During the Veterans Day event, USN Retired Navy Admiral Endel Lee delivered a message on how to be a spiritual spartan.
“Happy Veterans Day! It’s an honor to be here. I met my wife on this campus, and I’m privileged to be back,” said Lee.
He will be a visiting associate professor for the School of Christians Studies at UM starting in January.
“Our concerns should never overcome our trust with God. If you find yourself on a different path than God’s, turn around and repent. In repentance and rest you will be saved. I’ve experienced brokenness in my life, and God is a much better option,” Lee said.
Lee graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from UM in 1985. He then continued his education, earning a Master of Divinity, Master of Religious Education, and Doctor of Philosophy from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.
He joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1982, serving for 11 years as both an enlisted member and an officer, before being commissioned into the Navy Reserve as a chaplain in 1993. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and served for nearly a year with the Coast Guard in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He retired in September 2020 following 38 years of military service.
After his military service, Lee has been a senior pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, seminary professor, director of Pastoral Care and
Counseling in a hospital setting and National Coordinator of Disaster Spiritual Care for the Southern Baptist Convention. Currently, he leads initiatives for planting churches near military installations to support the spiritual needs of military communities.
After the ceremony, all veterans in attendance were given a gift for their service and thanked for their sacrifices.