University of Mobile’s commitment to being a Christ-centered institution focused on rigorous academics within the context of a Biblical worldview will be symbolically represented with a new campus centerpiece currently under construction – the Great Commission Globe.
The Great Commission Globe is a granite sphere engraved with a map of the world. Water emerging from the top will cascade over the globe into a pool at the base of the fountain. It will be located on the lawn in front of Weaver Hall, the university’s first building and a signature landmark for the institution.
“This will be a reminder for each of us that our primary focus as a Christ-centered academic community is to point students to Christ in preparing their minds and hearts for service to our Holy God,” said University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith.
Smith, who was named the fourth president of the 55-year-old university in April 2016, said the project “evolved out of the establishment of our new biblical worldview that serves as the educational framework for this institution, and appreciation for Dr. Fred Lackey, for his many years of ministry and service to the church, community and university.”
The overall project provides other much-needed landscape enhancements, including the installation of lighting, sod and sidewalks on the front lawn. Combined with the Great Commission Globe, the overall project is a visible expression of the heart of the university.
The project will be completed in time for graduation ceremonies in May 2017, which will be held on campus for the first time in 41 years. The upcoming graduation will mark the 50th graduating class of the Baptist-affiliated university. Previously, graduation was held on the front lawn from 1967 to 1976, then commencement moved off campus. Most recently, graduations were held at the Mobile Civic Center arena.
Students, faculty, and staff will now look forward to a warm send-off in the same environment that has profoundly impacted their lives.
“I’m looking forward to graduating on campus because my college experience will end in the very place it began,” says Jared Lowe, an upcoming Spring 2017 graduate. “Commencement will feel like a family affair, and our university’s beautiful facilities will be given the recognition they deserve.”
The globe will be an integral part of this new UM tradition that connects students, faculty, and staff to their Great Commission calling. This tradition begins and ends with students placing their hands on the globe, first as they start their college journey during Ram Rush and again as they graduate.
The first touch during freshman commencement symbolizes each student’s intention during his or her college career to prepare academically and spiritually to fulfill a professional calling.
The second touch upon graduation indicates their intention to use their academic preparation and spiritual growth to pursue their Great Commission calling. The Great Commission refers to Scripture found in Matthew 28:18-20, where Jesus instructs his disciples to spread his teachings throughout the world.
“The new Great Commission Globe is a reminder of why we (students) attend a school like University of Mobile,” says Tara Bosarge, SGA president. “It is a wonderful way to remember that we are meant to be disciples not only when we go out into the world with our diplomas, but also while we are earning them as well.”
Honoring Dr. Lackey
The project is being funded through donations to the “Dr. and Mrs. Fred Lackey Great Commission Tradition” campaign. It honors the late Dr. Fred Lackey, who died July 2, 2016, and his wife, Sue, of Athens, AL.
Lackey had more than 60 years in the ministry, including leadership positions at the highest levels of Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist Convention life. He served the university for three decades and with three presidential administrations in various volunteer, full-time and part-time capacities.
UM held a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 10 for family and friends of Dr. Lackey, as well as donors for the project.
Kevin Wilburn, vice president for advancement, said, “Dr. Lackey dedicated his life to serving the Lord and loving people. The Great Commission Globe offers an opportunity to honor his memory and passion for sharing God’s love as a pastor, University of Mobile trustee and regent, Alabama Baptist State Convention president, and leader in Southern Baptist life.”
For information about the Dr. and Mrs. Fred Lackey Great Commission Tradition project, contact the Office for Advancement at 251.442.2223 or go to giving.umobile.edu.