My UM Story: Chip Travis ’89

It was a set of very unusual circumstances that led to me getting to the college – I received an offer to come play tennis. I was 21 at the time and had only been playing tennis since graduating high school. The summer of 1985 I won a couple tennis matches against some prominent local players, and this caught the eye of a local tennis pro who became the first coach for Mobile College, as it was known back then. He asked me if I would like to come play college tennis. Almost the very first day – in fact it was at new student orientation – I saw this girl. She was in front of Weaver.

It took a few weeks of seeing her around campus and a chance passing, when I overheard her tell someone she was going to the bookstore. I pretended that I didn’t know where the bookstore was and asked for directions. She said she would show me. I introduced myself and she told me her name – Aurelia Green.

I had to go to chapel and Aurelia also invited me to go to church with her. Through messages in chapel and going to church with Aurelia, I heard about God. I was at a high point in my life, receiving a tennis scholarship and now dating the most beautiful girl I had ever gone out with, and I could hardly believe my situation. One night in November 1985, while doing homework, my thoughts were about this God I had heard about recently. I had no problem understanding that I was a sinner. I had trouble believing that God wanted a relationship with me. I knew I did not have what Aurelia and others that I recently met at Mobile College had, a relationship with God. I was not at a low point in my life. In fact, it was quite the opposite. But I did realize that I didn’t have a relationship with God. So that night by myself my prayer was, “If you’ll have me…” Seemingly not a very powerful prayer nor much faith to go along with it. What I came to realize is that it’s not how much faith you have, but who you have your faith in.

Fast-forward to Christmas break 1986. I made a date with Aurelia and took her to the front of Weaver Hall where I first saw her and asked her to marry me. Christmas break two years later we were married and lived our last semester in married student housing in the back of the campus. When we graduated in May of 1989, Aurelia won the overall education award, and we were inducted into the honor society. Later, I served as youth pastor at Lafitte Baptist Church from 2008 to 2014. Since 2015, I have served as youth pastor at Creola First Baptist Church. Aurelia and I have been taking youth on summer mission trips to south Louisiana since 2006.

Our youngest daughter, Claire, has followed in both our footsteps. She played tennis at UM like me and became an elementary school teacher like her mother. She graduated in May 2021 and is married and in her first year of teaching. My son Barrett became a fireman and my oldest daughter, Kayleigh, is married and a teacher in Japan.

As you can tell, God has used UM to bless me and my family in a mighty way.

Today, I am also a teacher and a high school tennis coach. When one of my players asks me about my college tennis experience, it always is an opportunity for me to tell them how God used the University of Mobile to introduce Himself to me.

About the Author

Chip Travis