Advancing Growth

We all want to make a difference through our lives. The University of Mobile Office for Advancement exists to make that happen. It works as a matchmaker of sorts, matching the calling God has placed on your heart to a university need or project that can help you answer that call. The results can be life-changing – both for yourself and for future students and the university. Meet the matchmakers in the Office for Advancement who can help you advance God’s kingdom and respond to His call through a Christ-centered university.

Dr. Bruce Earnest

Vice President for Advancement

  • Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi
  • Post-Doctoral Studies/Philanthropy & Advancement, New York University
  • Master of Music, University of Miami
  • Bachelor of Arts/Arts Administration, Westfield State University

Dr. Bruce Earnest leads the university advancement team to develop overall fundraising strategies that include major gifts, capital projects, annual giving, legacy giving, community engagement, grants and corporate gifts. He arrived at UM as a faculty member in the Alabama School of the Arts, then moved into areas of university administration. He continues to serve as associate professor of music and theatre as well as a freshman seminar instructor. A member of First Baptist Fairhope and president of Mobile Opera, he and wife Darla have two children.

“I love to tell people what God is doing at the University of Mobile. I have a heart for our students and the importance of Christ-centered higher education. In the Office for Advancement, we want to develop a culture of giving while serving our friends in a measurable and sincere way. Though the financial need is great, we will always prioritize our constituents over financial gain.”

Favorite Scripture: Isaiah 6:8

“I believe that God calls us each for His own purposes. We should be ready to answer the call and go where He sends us. Sometimes this does not make worldly sense, but He is still God and we need to make sure our hearts answer ‘Here I am, Lord.’”

Brian P. Boyle ’94 & ’15

Executive Director,

University of Mobile Foundation

  • Master of Arts/Theology, University of Mobile
  • Bachelor of Science/Business Administration, University of Mobile

Brian Boyle oversees all aspects of planned giving, the President’s Advisory Council, and major fundraising events such as the annual Scholarship Banquet. This year’s banquet will be held in fall 2021 featuring football legend Archie Manning.

Brian and wife Mandy Shoemaker ’90 are members of First Baptist Tillman’s Corner and they have two daughters and a son-in-law.

“To have the opportunity to serve my alma mater by pairing enthusiastic donors with UM is incredibly rewarding. In my 22 years of serving on staff, I’ve found that so often people want to demonstrate generosity, toward, UM because they are grateful for some aspect of what the university has done for them – whether that be from someone who was impacted as a student on our campus, or someone who was influenced positively by our mission, our events or our people. To be able to help them express their gratitude by making a tangible gift that enables UM to carry on its mission is truly a blessing in itself.”

Favorite Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11

“This passage reminds me that humility and servanthood are the traits that Christ chose to exhibit, even though He was and is Lord of all creation. His example reminds me that I should strive to think less of myself and more of those around me, because it’s the only way I can truly demonstrate the message of the Gospel.”

Allie Ratcliff ’15

Director of Alumni Programs & UM Ambassadors

  • Bachelor of Science/Communication, University of Mobile

Allie Ratcliff is responsible for alumni engagement, updating alumni information, and overseeing the UM Ambassadors as they serve the university at events both on and off campus. She plans alumni dinners locally and out of town, recruits alumni volunteers for events such as Scholars Weekend, and recruits alumni as guest speakers for RamLegacy, UM’s organization for first-generation college students.

She partners with UM Career Services to connect current students with alumni in their field of study. Allie and husband Wes are members of Mars Hill in Mobile and are the proud parents of their first daughter, Sa- die, born in September.

“I love hearing stories from alumni about their time as a student. I also love seeing our alumni become more connected with one another. I just spoke to someone from the very first graduating class in 1967 who met two grads from 2011 at one of our alumni dinners. The three of them are planning to go to lunch together in a few weeks! I also really enjoy working with our student ambassadors as they serve the university.”

Favorite Scripture: James 1:2-12

“These verses talk about trials and living in a temporary world. We are not promised an easy life as Christians, but we are told when we face these trials to ask God for wisdom. I need to be reminded daily to turn to God for help! I am so glad I do not have to face the trials of this life alone.”

Caleb Croom

Annual Giving & Stewardship Coordinator
Anticipated Class of 2021

  • Completing 5-year Integrated Program, Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science/Accounting, University of Mobile

Caleb Croom is responsible for the areas of stewardship, annual giving, data, research and processing donations. He helps coordinate events for donors, handles all donations from initial processing for accounting to donor stewardship after a gift is received, and manages the advancement database. He has been a member of Englewood Baptist in Jackson, Tennessee, for over 15 years and attends Redemption Church in Mobile.

“What I love most about UM is how wonderful everyone at the university is. I love working in the Office for Advancement because all of our work is to improve this great university in many different ways.”

Favorite Scripture: Matthew 23:12

“It is a reminder to not judge others and exalt yourself above others, because we are all sinners.”

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean uses her passion for storytelling and "playing with words" to share the stories of people, place and purpose that make the University of Mobile unique. As associate vice president for university communications, she manages media relations, edits the TorchLight alumni magazine, and oversees university communications. A former award-winning journalist, she is a two-time recipient of the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing. Kathy and her husband, Chuck, live with three extremely loud miniature schnauzers.