University of Mobile Graduates Challenged to Focus on Christ in Fulfilling Their Calling

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Fall Commencement held Dec. 16 at Redemption Church

MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith challenged graduates to be open to fulfilling the unexpected opportunities that God will place in their lives.

“While the view outside may look very clear today and you may have your life planned based on your equipping from your academic preparation, I ask that you keep your eyes open for the unexpectedness that will come from Him,” Smith said, during fall commencement ceremonies held Friday, Dec. 16 at Redemption Church in Saraland, AL.

University of Mobile awarded 67 diplomas at its first fall semester graduation in 18 years. The university has held fall semester graduation only three years previously: in 1996, 1997 and 1998. All other years, students who completed their requirements for graduation at the end of fall semester would participate in graduation ceremonies held the following May.

Smith told the biblical story of the birth of Christ during his commencement address, highlighting the roles of the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away, and the shepherds who responded.

“Some recognized what was happening while others missed Him and the picture that God was creating before the very eyes of Man,” Smith said.

“At the end of this commencement, you will walk out those glass doors and you will begin to navigate the world in accordance to the shepherd or the innkeeper. In other words, you will begin to maneuver through life with a focus on this world as an innkeeper, or a focus on Christ as a shepherd in allowing Him to direct you in this world,” Smith said.

“It is my prayer and encouragement that you choose to be a shepherd with a focus on Christ in allowing Him to direct your world instead of you taking on the world yourself. I can promise you that if you would take this path, you will not have to worry about the rules of life because He will be the guide of your heart and mind that will lead to actions directed by Him,” Smith said. “And as this occurs, expect the unexpected.”

Graduates by hometowns, including degrees awarded and honors earned, are:

College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Arts

Fairhope, AL – Paige Talley Ellison

Irvington, AL – Rhonda Kay Wright

Mobile, AL – Lucas Allen Hester; Ruby Elaine King Pettway

San Diego, CA – Alexa Marie Da Rosa

Saint Paul, MN – Leslie Ella Johnson

School of Business

Master of Business Administration

Enterprise, AL – Adrienne Nicole Hall

Mobile, AL – Earnest Alexander Morton

Navarre, FL – Madison Nicole Rodwell

Chattanooga, TN – Abigail Elizabeth Pressley

Foz do Iguassu, Parana, Brazil – Marcio Dal Pont

School of Christian Studies

Master of Arts

Evergreen, AL – Eric Tyrone Andrews

Mobile, AL – David B. Cagle; Joshua Michael Wilson

School of Education

Master of Arts

Mobile, AL – Nekea Kiana Hall

College of Arts and Sciences

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

Eight Mile, AL – Cassiopia Alise Long

Mobile, AL – Olivia McEachin Benton, magna cum laude; Kristen T. Carlton; Ashley Latrice Gardner; Kendall Joy Hall, magna cum laude; Latondra Jonneice Hudson; Liljunia Belynzel Mickels

Monroeville, AL – Haley Mashell Ikner, cum laude

Mount Vernon, AL – Ashley Nicole Lofton

Pell City, AL – Courtney Danielle Campbell

Phenix City, AL – Chandler Bryan Durham

Pine Level, AL – Melissa Kay Posey, magna cum laude

Saraland, AL – Steven Edward Goff

Semmes, AL – David Warren Haney

Sylacauga, AL – Benjamin Dean Higginbotham

Thomasville, AL – Jessica Leighann McKinley

Tuscaloosa, AL – Brandon Keith Privette

Wagarville, AL – Lana K. Smith

Phoenix, AZ – Cecilia Mercedes Duarte

St. Augustine, FL – Samantha Brooke Stichberry

Slidell, LA – William Newman Hornsby

Picayune, MS – Cooper Matthew Esslinger, cum laude

Modesto, CA – Katherine Becerly Alvernaz, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, summa cum laude

Ontario, CA – Olivia Kaye Stump

School of Business

Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Science

Daphne, AL – Sylvia Lessa Skultety

Enterprise, AL – Adrienne Nicole Hall

Franklin, AL – Sarah Noelle Hicks, magna cum laude

Hueytown, AL – Kayleigh Nicole Clinkenbeard, cum laude

Mobile, AL – Amy Jean Deakle, magna cum laude; Krista Simison Bryars; Tyler L. Parker

Sharpsburg, GA – Anthony Blake Greenlee

Lucedale, MS – John William Rogers, cum laude

Red Lodge, MT – Maggie Lee Michelle Merck

Marion, PA – Audrey Lynn Birkhimer, summa cum laude

Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina – Santiago Ernesto Quiros Casucci, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, summa cum laude

Foz do Iguassu, Parana, Brazil – Marcio Dal Pont, cum laude

Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil – Marianna Alves dos Santos Velozo, summa cum laude

Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick, Canada – Elissa Chamberlain, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, summa cum laude

School of Christian Studies

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science

Arab, AL – Matthew Wayne Jordan, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, magna cum laude

Daphne, AL – Robert James Williams, Jr.

Geneva, AL – Joshua Joseph Hall

School of Education

Bachelor of Science

Grand Bay, AL – Marian Dawn Rivers, cum laude

McIntosh, AL – Delilah Nicole Busby

Mobile, AL – Symone Marie Mixon

Navarre, FL – Jordan Anne Grissom

Jackson, MS – LaTesha A. Fleming

Chesterfield, SC – Makayla Jenelle Scott, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award, summa cum laude

Vaughan, Ontario, Canada – Roman Luke Testani, cum laude

Ramsgate, Kent, England – George William Stannard, cum laude


School of Nursing

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Mobile, AL – Sonja Monic Kiel-Lamar; Chloe Tenniel Taylor, President’s Scholastic Achievement Award

School of Worship Leadership

Bachelor of Science

Bullard, TX – Benjamin David Butler

Adult & Professional Studies

Associate of Science

Mobile, AL – Aerika Denise McClarence

About the Author
Trey Taulbee

Trey Taulbee

Trey oversees all facets of the university’s creative process, including photo, video, design, print and digital media. He received his Bachelor of Science in Communication from UM and his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University. Prior to his current role, Trey worked in enrollment services and student life. Additionally, Trey co-owns a photography business with his wife, Michelle, specializing in wedding and portrait photography. He lives on Alabama’s eastern shore with Michelle, son, Jack and dogs Cammie & Malone.

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