Honoring Dad

Jessica Sawyer Purpose

Adjunct history professor Wayne Sirmon knows a thing or two about giving back. 

Throughout his experiences as an Army officer, teacher, business owner and community leader, Sirmon has been guided by his father’s principle that in everything we do, we should honor God and help our fellow man. He doesn’t just work at University of Mobile – he believes in it. He believes in it so much, in fact, that each year he donates his salary back to University of Mobile.

That generosity is poured into the William J. Sirmon Jr. Scholarship Fund, which he and his wife established in memory of his father. 

“We don’t need the income to survive on – most adjuncts never say that,” Sirmon said. “But I had retired early from business and my wife was in a full-time medical practice, so we said, ‘Well how about starting a scholarship fund in Dad’s memory.’”

His father was an active Baptist, serving the church in multiple capacities throughout his lifetime.

“I can’t remember when he didn’t teach Sunday school,” Sirmon said. “UM was a really good fit – it’s a way we can give back to the university while also honoring my dad.”

The gift not only honors his father: it also matches Sirmon’s gratitude for what he has been given as an employee.

“I’ve been around a number of universities, and at UM I have found the complete freedom to use my style of teaching,” he said. “This scholarship is a way to say thank you to the university for giving me this opportunity.” 

The scholarship awards $1,000 a semester to a selected undergraduate student, with preference given to history or social science education majors. The amount, which Sirmon hopes to see increase, allows students to worry less about finances and focus more on college. 

“They can be involved in college life and be more successful – they can not only attend UM, but graduate,” Sirmon said.

For information on how to establish an endowed scholarship fund at University of Mobile, contact the Office for Advancement at advancement@umobile.edu or 251.442.2587, or visit giving.umobile.edu.

About the Author

Jessica Sawyer