On November 22, 2019, University of Mobile alumnus Lonnie Burnett, PhD, was named the institution’s fifth president by the Board of Trustees. Previously, he served as professor of history and executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and has held a variety of administrative positions, including assistant vice president of academic affairs for planning and evaluation. Dr. Burnett has served as a member of the Saraland City School Board since 2010 and was one of five school board members statewide to be named to the 2017 All-State School Board by the Alabama Association of School Boards. Dr. Burnett has compiled an impressive scholarly research record. He has published two books 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 served in leadership positions or has been a member of professional organizations including the Alabama Historical Association, Society of Civil War Historians, and Southern Historical Association. He serves as managing editor for The Alabama Review, a quarterly journal of Alabama history published by the Alabama Historical Association in cooperation with the University of Mobile.
He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts from University of Mobile, then Mobile College. He earned a Master of Arts from University of South Alabama and Doctor of Philosophy from University of Southern Mississippi. He taught regular and honors U.S. history at the high school and middle school levels in the Mobile County Public School System from 1980 to 2004, serving as chairman of the history departments at Semmes Middle and Satsuma High schools. He taught several years as an adjunct history instructor at UM, retired from the public school system, and focused on his second career as a college professor and author. He served as visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2002, where he earned a Ph.D. Dr. Burnett joind the University of Mobile in 2005, eventually becoming chair of the UM Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences and a full professor. He gained tenure in 2012. He has written numerous articles, book chapters and reviews, and received the university’s Mitford Ray Megginson Research Award in 2006. He is an active member of Redemption Church in north Mobile. His wife, Lynne, and daughter, Lauren Burnett Wetzel, are both UM graduates.
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