University of Mobile Establishes Samuel Boykin Award Honoring First African-American Graduate

Kathy Dean News

MOBILE, Ala. – University of Mobile established the Samuel Boykin Medal of Excellence to honor the life of Samuel M. Boykin, the first African-American graduate of University of Mobile. The award will recognize future outstanding African-American graduates of the Christian university who reflect the ideals that Boykin exemplified throughout his career, family and community.

UM Board of Trustees Chairman Fred Wilson presented the first medallion to Boykin’s widow, Ellen Hardiman Boykin, during a Chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 27, 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.

“Throughout his life, Mr. Boykin upheld the Christian ideals of virtuosity, faith and charity,” said Lauren McCaghren, senior director of alumni programs.

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.

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 credited history professor Dr. Virgil Davis with encouraging him at the school and urging him to continue his education.

He said he learned appreciation at the college – appreciation for hard work, for earning what you receive, for professors who took an interest in him.

“I learned how to appreciate people,” Boykin said in the article. That appreciation extended to his college. “I still make contributions to the school,” he said then. “They’ve been good to me, and I try to repay my gratitude to them.”

In addition to his wife, Boykin is survived by son Dominic (Linda) Boykin; daughter Michelle Boykin; granddaughters Meosha (Ronald) Menefield, Artesia Boykin and Krystal Boykin; grandson, Murray Wilson; sister-in-law Mary Sullivan (Robert) and brother-in-law Kevin Hardiman; aunt Willie Virginia Bolden Gwinn; aunt-in-law  Evangelist Valerie Austin; and numerous great grand-children, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins.




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 www.umobile.eduor 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.