Sacred Calling

Grace Thornton Learning, Spring 2021

Katherine Rogers says Dr. Buddy Landry saw something in her before she saw it in herself. As she was finishing up her bachelor’s degree in psychology, he kept encouraging her toward getting a Master of Arts in marriage and family counseling. She said no — she “could never be a counselor” — until one day she felt God asking her …

The Art of Becoming

Grace Thornton Experience, Spring 2021

Stewart Hawley says the feeling is strange and a little hard to describe, but a lot of theatre people have it. “There’s a yearning; you feel like acting is what you have to do to use your art to connect with and reach people,” he said. “There’s a need — kind of like being a minister — it’s something you …

Finding Purpose in ‘Plan B’

Grace Thornton Experience, Fall 2020

Julie Hatcher Ralph ’92 Julie Hatcher Ralph said one thing she’s learned over the years is this — sometimes Plan B is better than Plan A. It was a lesson that started the moment she set foot on the University of Mobile campus, a place she hadn’t planned to go.  “I was born and raised in Mobile and all through …

Known for Possibilities

Grace Thornton Fall 2020, Learning

Dr. Julie Biskner has no problem admitting she didn’t care for politics when she was younger.  “All the way through high school, I hated history.  I hated politics. I thought it was really boring,” she said.  The topic she loved was psychology, but as she commuted back and forth from her classes at Central Michigan University to her job at …

Known for Compassion

Grace Thornton Fall 2020, Learning

Dr. Sarah Witherspoon ’94 & ’96  Dr. Sarah Witherspoon ’94 & ’96 says she loves to read people. She starts doing that the minute students walk into her classroom on the first day of a new semester — and she lets them know it’s happening.  But she says that shouldn’t make them feel nervous — if anything, she hopes it …

Personal Chemistry

Grace Thornton Experience, Spring 2020

All the students who walk into Wanda Jones’ classroom are walking chemistry experiments — they just may not realize it yet. “We live this kind of science all the time,” she said. “For instance, if you get sick, you take medicine.” And that’s just one example — she’s got many. If you pump gas, Dalton’s law is involved. If you …

Art that Speaks

Grace Thornton Experience, Spring 2020

Phillip Counselman says verbal expression isn’t his natural comfort zone. He’s a man of few words. And of all the topics he thought he might spend those words on this year, his boat definitely wasn’t one of them. “I never really thought I’d be talking to anyone about it,” he said. But it’s hard to avoid the subject when people …

Expect a Surprise | Dr. Karen Dennis

Grace Thornton Fall 2019, Learning

Karen Dennis says she vividly remembers the day when she realized all the things she had been trained to do weren’t enough. Her nephew was struggling to read, and it seemed no one could help him. Dennis, a young teacherat the time, decided to give it a shot — and she couldn’t help him either. “He has dyslexia,” she said. …

Understand the Past | Dr. Matthew Downs

Grace Thornton Fall 2019, Learning

Matthew Downs says the first thing he asks every new class is simply this — “Do you like history?” “They can tell me ‘no’ — that’s totally fine,” he said. “But what I want them to know and take away is that we all have a past — I do, you do, Mobile does, and Alabama does. If we don’t …