FAMU School of Business and Industry pioneer, Dr. Sybil C. Mobley, 89, died early Tuesday morning at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare after a brief illness.
Dr. Mobley began working at FAMU in 1963 after earning an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. She immediately developed a leadership program for students ranking in the top five percent nationally while she also served on the boards of Hershey Foods, Anheuser-Busch and Sears.
Prior to Dr. Mobley’s employment, there was no business school at FAMU. She spent the first several years of her career building the program and gathering educated and qualified faculty in pursuit of developing the school’s accreditation. Nearly a decade later, the School of Business and Industry was created and Dr. Mobley was its founding dean, a position she held until her retirement in June 2003.
With 40 years of Dr. Mobley’s service and 12 years since her retirement, FAMU SBI students are still reaping the benefits of the unparalleled educational experience her efforts created.
SaQuoya Stokes, a fourth-year FAMU business administration student from Fort. Lauderdale, expressed her appreciation of Dr. Mobley’s contributions.
“The manifestation of her dream has produced some of the top business executives of our time and SBI continues to produce leading business professionals,” Stokes said. “At yesterday's forum, you could feel the somber energy in the room as we vowed to keep Dr. Sybil Collins Mobley’s legacy alive. The students appreciate Dr. Mobley and send prayers up for her family and close friends grieving at this time.”
Fourth-year FAMU business administration student, Jaya McFarland, from Atlanta, Ga., also spoke of the lasting impression that Dr. Mobley's instruction left on her academic career, as well as her experience as SBI's co-president of Exchange.
"Dr. Mobley's legacy has fortified and cultivated young professional African Americans," McFarland said. "Her vision has enabled me to immerse myself in a network of successful FAMUans globally, and out-perform my counterparts professionally, socially and technically."
Dr. Mobley is remembered for personally recruiting the best and the brightest to SBI, and ensuring their success while in the program. Under her leadership, students were required to complete three internships prior to graduating; a measure that ensured job availability and security for all SBI graduates. These academic standards laid the foundation for SBI to become one of the most competitive business schools in the nation and ascend to the forefront of Fortune 500 corporate recruiters. In 2007, the university named the School of Business and Industry building complex in her honor.
The news of Dr. Mobley's death has not only impacted current students, but SBI graduates such as alumnus Jarveal Baker, a senior consultant at Ernst & Young.
“I’m so honored to be a product of her tutelage and programming at the School of Business & Industry," said Baker. "Shifting paradigms, developing pivotal strategy, and literally creating a different world–Dr. Sybil C. Mobley was one of the best to ever do it! The attributes of the Professional Development Program within SBI still resonates within me today, and I plan to return to FAMU to ensure that it remains supreme."
Beyond Dr. Mobley’s contributions to the School of Business, she served as a consultant to the United States Agency for International Development in Africa and was a 1984 inductee into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. She was also a dedicated member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a 2009 recipient of the FAMU Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Mobley was the wife of the late James Otis and is survived by their three children, James Otis Mobley Jr., Janet Mobley Sermon and Rev. Melvin Edward Mobley. She also leaves behind a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending.