University of Mobile Announces May 11 Commencement Speaker Dr. Rick Lance; Roger Breland to Receive Honorary Doctorate

Kathy Dean News

Dr. Rick Lance

MOBILE, Ala. – Dr. Rick Lance, executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention, will deliver the commencement address at University of Mobile on May 11. Lance leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission ministries for the Convention’s more than 3,2000 churches and more than 1 million Alabama Baptists.

GRADUATION UPDATE: Due to the the possibility of inclement weather, the May 11 graduation ceremony has been moved to Cottage Hill Baptist Church, where two ceremonies will be held. The 10 a.m. ceremony is for all Master’s Degrees (regardless of school), Alabama School of the Arts, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Graduates in the 10 a.m. ceremony should arrive by 9 a.m. The 1 p.m. ceremony is for all School of Health and Sports Science, School of Nursing, School of Business, School of Christian Studies, School of Education, Alabama College for Professional and Continuing Studies, and Associate’s Degrees. Graduates in the 1 p.m. ceremony should arrive by 12 p.m. More info at
Approximately 250 graduates will receive diplomas. The ceremony will be live-streamed on the University of Mobile Facebook page at

The university will award the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to John Roger Breland in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments in Christian music and as co-founder of the university’s Roger Breland Center for Performing Arts and the university ensemble Voices of Mobile.

Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. He has served as a pastor in Alabama Baptist churches in Birmingham, Cullman and Tuscaloosa, and in New Orleans. He has extensive denominational service that included leadership roles as president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and trustee of the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Mission Board.

He holds a Doctor of Education in pastoral counseling and preaching from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity in biblical studies and pastoral ministries, also from NOBTS, and a Bachelor of Arts in religion and speech from Samford University. He has been awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters from Samford University and the Doctor of Divinity from Judson College.

He and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.

The university is honoring Roger Breland as his touring career draws to a close. In 47 years, he traveled more than 4 million miles across 47 countries, presented over 12,000 concerts and produced 100 albums. His 31 years with TRUTH, one of the first internationally successful contemporary Christian groups, helped launch the careers of artists such as Avalon and 4Him. He and TRUTH were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2000, and Breland holds an honorary doctorate from Liberty University.

He spent another 16 years on the road with Voices of Mobile, an ensemble he co-founded with Dr. Al Miller, dean of the Alabama School of the Arts at University of Mobile. They led an expansion of the Alabama Baptist university’s music program that includes the school’s first doctoral degree in musical arts. Along with faculty whose expertise ranges from opera to worship leadership, they have prepared thousands of graduates to pursue their professional calling as musicians, educators, worship leaders, missionaries, music industry professionals, music ministers and more.

This fall, Breland will make the transition to executive director of Voices of Mobile and work toward establishing the Roger Breland Endowed Scholarship to help the next generation have the advantage of a Christ-centered higher education. In his new role, he will assist in fundraising for scholarships and special projects, while continuing to assist in the Roger Breland Center for Performing Arts.

More information about graduation is online at


About University of Mobile

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 degree programs in over 90 areas of study. Founded in 1961, 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 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 assistant 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.