University of Mobile Ambassadors is a new group of passionate, intelligent student leaders devoted to serving the university and the greater community. Through a rigorous interview and selection process, 11 students from varying backgrounds were chosen to be in the inaugural class and are considered ambassadors until they graduate.
Ambassadors must go through an intense training process that includes interaction with senior university administration, customer service seminars, emotional intelligence training, and even an overview of dining etiquette. This prepares ambassadors for interaction with community leaders and to represent the university at professional functions.
“They have so much more appreciation for the university after going through this process,” says Lauren McCaghren, senior director for alumni programs and annual giving. “The skills that they’re learning now they will carry throughout the rest of their lives.”
Andrew Felts, a senior majoring in communication, agrees.
“Being a UM ambassador has molded me more than I could have imagined this past year,” says Felts. “I have noticed growth in my professional and social skills.”
Since being selected in March, UM Ambassadors have been hard at work. They led campus tours for the 50th anniversary of UM’s first graduating class, served at the annual scholarship banquet, and joined the president for community engagements.
Claire Richburg, a senior majoring in sociology and intercultural studies, has enjoyed multiple opportunities to engage with UM alumni.
“My favorite aspect of being an ambassador has been the opportunity to meet and talk to the people who give so much of their lives to UM,” she says.
This fall, ambassadors will continue working as university representatives during major events, including Move-in Day, Ram Rush, Homecoming, Christmas Spectacular and more.
UM Ambassadors’ mission comes from Mark 10:43-45 – specifically Jesus’s words: “whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” According to McCaghren, students selected to be ambassadors must have a servant mindset.
“The entire UM Ambassador experience is ultimately about service,” she says. “We want students who want to be servants to each other and to the university as a whole.”
McCaghren established the UM Ambassadors shortly after beginning her role in the Office for Advancement. She believes UM students will be challenged and grow professionally by working and serving together for the university.
“This is one of the most fruitful things that I get to do in my role,” she says.
Because the ambassadors is comprised of students with different interests, students gain a greater respect for their peers and the varying challenges they face as students, athletes, performers and leaders.
“They are very diverse – different majors, representing different areas of university,” McCaghren says. “It’s really impressive to see the interaction between them and how they challenge each other.”
Felts believes this experience has given him an even greater respect for the faculty, staff and student body.
“I am looking forward to plugging into the community and promoting University of Mobile,” says Felts. “UM is a university of excellence that genuinely cares for and prepares us for our future career in the real world.”
Overall, McCaghren is impressed with the initiative of the student ambassadors and their eagerness to serve.
“To embody the professionalism, the passion, the hearts they have for the university at that age blows me away,” she says. “They inspire me each and every day.”