Mobley Was “Simply Amazing”
By Sherrell Wilkerson
To characterize her as a great woman would do nothing to highlight her name. To say anything short of everlasting would do nothing to highlight her legacy.
But to say that there are no words to fully describe the life of Sybil Collins Mobley is what embodied the hearts of those who reflected on her Oct. 8 at Florida A&M University’s Lee Hall Auditorium.
Hundreds of FAMU School of Business & Industry members from then and now, along with family, friends and those just wanting to pay respect gathered not to mourn, but to celebrate the life of such an amazing woman.
“I remember when she asked me if I was applying to be the president of FAMU and I said yes,” said Frederick S. Humphries, former FAMU president. “And then she replied, well, in that case I won’t apply.”
Followed by a few laughs from the crowd, he went on to say, “I then thanked her because I would have lost.”
He continued to say, “You especially had to appreciate how different she was. You never knew what she was going to say. Sybil was not predictable. I actually had to think during our conversations, and that was she. That was Sybil.”
Aside from her character, Mobley’s work spoke for itself.
The effort she put into perfecting her own skill and the passion she drilled into that of her students and staff is one that never went unnoticed.
She completed her doctorate from the University of Illinois in three semesters in what the average student completed in five. She started as a secretary at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1945 and became the founding dean of the School of Business and Industry in 1974.
Along with implementing her world renowned Professional Development Program in FAMU’S SBI, Mobley also served on the board of directors of Southwestern Bell Cooperation, Sears, Discover and many more.
“Every morning we would come into the office looking at a basket full of love notes and these notes had on them everything she wanted to get accomplished for the day,” said Doris D. Corbett, FAMU SBI retired administrator.
“One time Sybil was telling me everything she wanted to get done that day and I had to tell her hold on, let me just go ahead and turn this to Jesus,” said Corbett through some soft laughs.
Everyone reflected on Mobley as the educator, the leader, the motivator and most importantly, the mother.
She changed the lives of not only her children, but of every person she came into contact with.
“She once told me that her only regret was not having three more kids like the ones she has already been blessed with,” said Larry A. Frieder, SBI Professor Emeritus.
“And she was a mother to me as well. The things she did for me will forever live in me.”
She was simply amazing. Not many people can say that they touched the hearts of the world, but not many people had the pleasure of knowing Sybil Collins Mobley.