The words of “thanks” and “welcome”

“Thanks” and “welcome” are two words that have been echoing in my mind in recent days. During the last trustee board meeting for the University of Mobile, I used these words to describe the transition from president Mark Foley to incoming president Tim Smith.

Mark Foley is completing his tenure at the university, and during these recent months he has led a smooth transition for the leadership of the new president, Tim Smith.

Mark Foley has stood tall during this transitional time as he has throughout his entire tenure of service.

In 1998, at the end of a troubled period in the history of the university, Mark Foley left his position at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to become the third president of the University of Mobile.

The university needed his optimistic, cooperative and hardworking leadership to rebuild trust and to work through some rather difficult challenges at the university. He was a perfect match for the presidency of the university.

During his more than 18 years as the leader of the University of Mobile, these tumultuous times settled into ancient history. Gone were the days of mistrust and concern about the future. Mark Foley personified his love for the Lord and God’s people which became infectious.

During our time working as partners, I have often thanked Mark Foley for his friendship, partnership and leadership. The word “thanks” seems so inadequate, but it is heartfelt. I love, admire and appreciate Mark and Marilyn Foley. They have served the Lord and Alabama Baptists so well during these almost two decades in our history.

The word “welcome” has been used recently to help begin the new tenure of leadership for Tim Smith, the newly elected president of the University of Mobile.

Tim Smith is a highly-qualified academic leader who will be well received by Alabama Baptists. He will be one of us, and we will learn to love and appreciate him just like we did Mark Foley.

Tim Smith has served in strategic places of leadership at Union University in Tennessee and Anderson University in South Carolina. Tim is eminently qualified experientially and academically to lead the University of Mobile into a bright and promising future.

Tim and I have many mutual friends, and I feel as though I already know him well. He is affable and approachable as a person and as a leader. He and his wife, Penney, have been well received everywhere they have served.

The trustees at the University of Mobile are of one mind in their selection and reception of Tim Smith as their new president. They have an unequivocal faith in him as a leader. They are completely convinced that he is the person to lead the university into the next chapter of its history.

Thanks, Mark Foley, for being used of God in restoring the trust in the University of Mobile.

Thanks for being a brave and innovative leader who saw the university as a Christ-focused change agent in this culture of confusion.

Thanks for being a devoted partner in ministry. Thanks for being a rock-solid Alabama Baptist who served as one of us.

Welcome Tim and Penney Smith to the Alabama Baptist family. We look forward to your leadership as the new president at the University of Mobile.

We are delighted to serve as a partner with you in Kingdom service.

I have witnessed a number of transitions in my ministry but none any smoother than the one being experienced at the University of Mobile.

This is a tribute to many people, but Mark Foley and Tim Smith stand out as the main contributors to this cause.

Thanks, Mark Foley, for all you have allowed the Lord to do through your life.

Welcome, Tim Smith, to a family of faith who will pray for you and work with you.

Executive Director of Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions

State Missionary Rick Lance was elected in June of 1998 to serve as executive director of the State Board of Missions and treasurer of the Alabama Baptist Convention. Rick leads state missions efforts and facilitates Great Commission Ministries for the Convention's 3,200+ churches and more than one million Alabama Baptists.

Rick and his wife, Pam, are members at First Baptist Church, Montgomery. They have two daughters.

Any requests for Rick Lance to speak in or visit your church should be directed to Billie Davis at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 253 or (334) 613-2253, [email protected]

For questions about Dr. Lance's Facebook and Twitter accounts or his blog site, you may contact his social media assistant, Keith Hinson, at 1-800-264-1225, ext. 289 or (334) 613-2289, [email protected]