CONNECTING AND ENGAGING OUR ALUMNI
of the Auburn Alumni Association
for the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors
CONNECTING AND ENGAGING OUR ALUMNI
I will always remember a cloudy day in October 1971 when I first visited the Auburn campus as a 13-year-old. Through my dad’s influence, I had been an Auburn fan as far back as I could remember, and he had bought tickets for our family to attend the Florida game—Sullivan and Beasley versus Reaves and Alverez. It was a magical day as Auburn dominated and my loyalty was sealed.
I never could have guessed how that day would bring me to Auburn as a student, then 47 years later lead to my installation during Homecoming weekend as President of the Auburn Alumni Association. Serving on the association’s board for the past eight years has truly been one of the biggest highlights of my Auburn experience, and it was an honor for my immediate family and many friends from the Auburn family to be in attendance as outgoing president Beau Byrd passed the baton to me.
It has been a pleasure to serve on the board with Beau. We came onto the board the same year and through Beau’s leadership, the association is better and stronger today. My goal the next two years is to work with the board, Gretchen VanValkenburg and our outstanding staff to carry out the association’s mission: to enhance the engagement and connection of all Auburn University alumni and friends. Please let us know how we can assist you.
In this issue of Auburn Magazine, we celebrate the 40th anniversary of our beloved Aubie. As a student, I remember the first time Aubie appeared at an Auburn football game: he was immediately a celebrity on campus, and became a character that represents the Auburn spirit well. The record nine National Mascot Championships documents just how dominant Aubie is among his peers.
We also celebrate in this issue the 75th anniversary of Dr. George Petrie writing the Auburn Creed. Many feel Dr. Petrie described the Auburn spirit perfectly in this short writing, and it is no surprise how cherished it is by the Auburn family.
If you want to better understand the Auburn spirit and the history of the university, you should consider reading Auburn Man: The Life & Times of George Petrie. Arriving in 1887, just as Samford Hall was being built to replace Old Main, Dr. Petrie’s contributions were numerous, including coaching the first football team, selecting orange and blue as the university’s colors, setting up the first baseball game against another university, building the first tennis courts and cycling paths in Auburn, and playing a key role in the building of Auburn’s first golf course.
While his contributions to Auburn athletics and writing the Auburn Creed is what he is best known for today, the first Alabamian to receive a Ph.D. was more widely known while at Auburn as one of the top scholars in the country. He maintained a personal library with more volumes than the university library. Gratefully, he gave students access to his collection. George Petrie, a true Auburn Man.
The Auburn Alumni Association is one year into our tiered membership model. Please review your membership status and consider supporting the alumni association by making a higher-level tax deductible contribution.
The good Lord has been good to me and one of my blessings is to be a part of the Auburn family. I hope you feel the same way.
Until next time, God bless, and War Eagle!
M. Van Henley ’80
President, Auburn Alumni Association
The Auburn Alumni Association is dedicated to enhancing the engagement and connection of all Auburn University alumni and friends.
To advance Auburn University by engaging our global community and cultivating their passion for and loyalty to the university.
Past Executive Directors – Hover over images for information.
Past Presidents – Hover over images for information.