The University of Mobile Board of Trustees on Friday named Lonnie A. Burnett, Ph.D., president of the university.
Burnett, a UM alumnus, history professor and dean, was named interim president in May, with a term of 16 months. Board Chairman Fred Wilson said Burnett stepped into that role with vision, energy and a deep love for the Baptist-affiliated school.
“It quickly became obvious there was no ‘interim’ in Dr. Lonnie Burnett’s commitment to lead the university to becoming all that it can be. The board’s action today makes it official. Dr. Burnett is the 5th president of the University of Mobile, and we are enthusiastic about the future with his leadership,” Wilson said.
Burnett takes the reins as the University of Mobile, founded in 1961, seeks to expand its mission. The private school, affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention and sitting on a campus of over 880 acres, has traditionally been known for liberal arts studies. In the past three years, though, it has added a number of healthcare degree programs including the Doctor of Nursing Practice. It has also invested in a teaching lab for medical students filled innovative technology and patient simulation labs to enhance learning.
Burnett says the university will build on its strengths – strong academics, a vibrant college community, and Christ-centered mentoring to prepare students to pursue their professional calling. He steps into the presidency after serving most recently as executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
The new president graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mobile, then Mobile College. His wife, Lynne, graduated from UM in 1996, and daughter Lauren Burnett Wetzel holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, having graduated in 2009 and 2019. He earned a Master of Arts from the University of South Alabama and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi.
He has two books published with the University of Alabama Press, “Henry Hotze: Confederate Propagandist,” and “The Pen Makes a Good Sword: John Forsyth of the Mobile Register.” He has written numerous articles, book chapters and reviews, and received the university’s Mitford Ray Megginson Research Award in 2006.
He has served as a member of the Saraland city School Board since 2010.