Coming Home

Kathy Dean Fall 2019, Features Leave a Comment

Allie Normand Ratcliff is coming home. And she’s inviting all of her University of Mobile family to come home, too.

The 2015 graduate is UM’s new director of alumni programs. She has returned to her alma mater to handle alumni relationships, coordinate the university’s Ambassadors program for student leaders, and develop special alumni events.

“We are focusing on bringing our alumni back home and encouraging them to return to campus and be involved with the University of Mobile. Allie brings a lot of energy and passion to her role and will be a good catalyst for growing that alumni support,” said Dr. Bruce Earnest, vice president for advancement.

This new role marks Ratcliff’s return to the university where she served in 2015 as enrollment counselor, then in 2017 moved to the role of director of student experience in the Office for Student Life. In that capacity, she was responsible for all student life events for both current and prospective students, including preview days, Ram Rush, athletic tailgates, concerts and more. From July 2018 to August 2019, she served as director of admissions for another alma mater, Mobile Christian School, before returning to UM on Aug. 26.

Ratcliff said she is excited about the opportunity to build on the sense of community that UM graduates experienced as students.

“The University of Mobile is definitely home for me. It always has and always will be. A sense of community is one common denominator that those of us who graduated from this place we dearly love have in common. It’s such a huge thing – if you graduated from this place, it really molded you into the person you are,” she said.

“It will be fun connecting with people and finding out more about our alumni and what they have been up to since graduation. I am looking forward to keeping alumni informed about what is happening in the University of Mobile community, and creating new events for alumni to get connected.”

Ratcliff graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in communication, with concentrations in marketing and public relations. As a University of Mobile student, she served as a cheerleader, resident assistant, and on the Ram Rush committee.

Among her most memorable experiences is The Bridge trip to Boston over fall break, where she was part of a team of students who helped a church with outreach projects. While the actual experience was eye-opening and exposed her to life outside the Bible Belt, one aspect she remembers most is the race to be among the first to sign up for the limited number of spots on the team.

“Back in the day, they had signups for the Bridge trip at midnight or 12:30 a.m. The location wasn’t announced until a minute before, and it was a mad race, with everybody running and hoping to get to sign up. This time the signup location was in the women’s bathroom in Weaver Hall. A ton of people from all over campus were running straight for the bathroom, and everyone crowded in. It was so loud, and it was pure chaos, and it was awesome!”

Ratcliff took a year-long break between her junior and senior year to participate in the Disney College Program, and alumni can expect to see some of that Disney magic in future alumni programming.

“I worked in food and beverage. I learned a lot about customer service and working long, hard hours. It shaped me into the worker that I am. I’m very Disney-minded, making sure that no matter what I’m doing, it’s the absolute best, that customer service is top notch, that I’m making people happy and creating unforgettable experiences,” she said.

Although husband Wes is not a UM grad, she says he has attended so many UM events that he has earned the title of “honorary grad.” They dote on their rescue dog, Chipper, who will be expected to attend UM alumni events as well.

Ratcliff said her time at UM, both as a student and employee, have taught her important lessons beyond those learned in her major.

“It taught me the importance of slowing down and taking time to invest in people – no matter how small you think the act is, whether it’s going to lunch in the cafeteria or grabbing a coffee at

Commons Grounds on campus, taking the time be present with the people you are around. The University of Mobile taught me that it’s not all about me,” she said.

For more information about alumni events at the University of Mobile, visit the website at umobile.edu/ alumni, call the Office for Advancement at 251.442.2587, or email Allie at aratcliff@umobile.edu.


About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.

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