July 30, 2020
Lonnie A. Burnett is president of University of Mobile. (Photo courtesy of University of Mobile)
By Lonnie A. Burnett
President, University of Mobile
From the fall of 1964 when I started Bienville Elementary School in Prichard, Alabama, to today as president of the University of Mobile, I have experienced 56 consecutive first days of school. While each has been exciting in its own way, this fall might be the most significant. As our new and returning students arrive on our beautiful campus this fall, they will return to an institution that, although it might look and feel a little different, is focused on a never-changing mission that has never been more important.
The events of last spring sent shockwaves throughout the world of higher education. While the University of Mobile’s faculty, staff and students did a Herculean job of transitioning almost overnight and finishing the spring semester completely online, there are several reasons why, if we can all safely pull it off, the return to on-ground instruction this fall is so vital.
First, our students need reassurance that life is returning somewhat back to normal. To young adults who have experienced disruptions ranging from schools closing to parents losing employment, and to personal or family sickness, the return to a normal routine will be a welcomed relief.
A second but equally important need is the opportunity for our students to interact with their peers. Like the Old Testament illustration of “iron sharpening iron,” there is a wonderful result when university students experience the benefit from interacting with other students, many from diverse backgrounds.
Finally, the most important benefit in our return will be the hands-on spiritual mentoring that takes place in our Christ-centered university. This is what makes a place like the University of Mobile unique.
A school our size and with our Christian worldview has the amazing opportunity to not only provide our students with the very best in academic training but also to lead them into seeking and following their God-given purpose. It is that mission, with its eternal significance, that excites me most about this upcoming return of the Rams.
Fall 2020 highlights:
- Classes will begin as scheduled on Aug. 17. All on-ground classes will end on Nov. 24.
- Faculty will have the option of giving a final exam during the last class meeting or in an online format Nov. 30–Dec. 3.
- Clinical experiences and internships will follow their regular schedules.
- Commencement ceremonies for the spring and fall 2020 graduating classes will be moved from Dec. 12 to Dec. 5.
- Fall break, which was scheduled in October, has been cancelled.
- For more information visit, umobile.edu/coronavirus.