The Promise

When the pandemic forced spring graduation ceremonies across the nation to be canceled in spring of 2020, University of Mobile President Lonnie Burnett made a promise. The Class of 2020 would have their graduation ceremony.

On Dec. 5, 2020, both spring and fall semester graduates gathered on the Dr. Fred and Sue Lackey Great Commission Lawn. This graduation looked different from years past due to COVID-19, as graduates were socially distanced and donned masks, but the significance of this day was unchanged.

The university presented awards usually announced in the spring, including the Weaver Awards for the top two graduates, A.J. Nipper and Erica Burleson Lyn. Former UM President Mark Foley carried the ceremonial mace and led the procession of faculty and graduating students.

UM alumnus the Rev. Chris Bell, lead pastor of 3Circle Church in Baldwin and Mobile counties, delivered the commencement address. “You win the contest,” Bell said. “This is the most unique of years. I commend you for being here and completing what you began.” He urged graduates to glorify God in everything they do.

After receiving diplomas, the new graduates participated in the Great Commission Tradition and touched the Great Commission Globe to represent going out into the world to make an impact.

See the graduation video at

About the Author

Zac Douglas