Weaver Hall Summer

The Power of Work, Sonneborn Foundation

Martha Simmons Purpose

As the first president of the McDonald’s Corporation hamburger empire, Harry J. Sonneborn was “a financial genius” who believed in the power of work, according to Greg Luce, a longtime friend.

That’s why University of Mobile scholarships funded by the Harry J. and Aloyis Sonneborn Charitable Foundation are awarded to students with the greatest needs and to prepare them for a bright future in the workplace.

“Sonneborn is a small foundation created with the idea of helping students where there is a legitimate need, both financially and in terms of disabilities, such as ‘Wounded Warriors,’” said Luce, who serves on the foundation board. UM partners with Sonneborn to identify and prioritize students with the greatest such needs, he said. 

“We also want to award scholarships to students who want to earn credentials in a field that’s likely to be a fertile place for employment,” Luce said.

University of Mobile’s School of Nursing, for instance, marries well with those objectives. 

“University of Mobile has a strong reputation for training nurses,” Luce said, noting a high demand for well-qualified nurses.

Luce was friends with the Sonneborns – both now deceased – for half a century. “I knew these people for 50 years. I spent time with them. I know what they were about and what they wanted to do with this foundation.”

What they wanted, Luce said, was for students’ education to prepare them for good jobs.

“When people can get a good job, it can change their lives. It can change their families’ lives,” Luce said. That force for positive change reverberates throughout the community.

“We really want to focus on local communities and students in Mobile and Baldwin counties,” Luce said. “We’re not trying to cure the world. We’re just trying to do our part where we are.” 

Do you serve a foundation or organization that seeks to make an impact? Contact the Office for Advancement to learn how UM helps foundations achieve their goals and make a real difference in the lives of students: advancement@umobile.edu, 251.442.2587 or giving.umobile.edu.

About the Author

Martha Simmons