James Crotty ’03 moved to London two days before the Iron Bowl in 2013, and he sat down to watch the game with a few new friends from Britain and Ireland. Failing to understand the rules of American football, a few of them dozed off by the fourth quarter.
Then the “Kick Six” happened. They understood that.
Crotty, now events coordinator for the newly established London Auburn Alumni Club Affiliate, has found a group of people to celebrate iconic Auburn moments with.
Associate Vice President in the Office of Development Tara Jones ’94 and Provost Bill Hardgrave hosted a reception in London for Auburn alumni in November 2017, where they proposed an Auburn Club in London.
“The response from the group was overwhelmingly receptive, and since that time we have been working closely with the Auburn Alumni Association and Office of Development to set up the new affiliate,” Crotty said.
Originally from Tampa, Florida, he and his wife have loved living in London. Embracing the British culture has been one of their favorite parts about their time in the country. They will be returning to the U.S. in July with two young girls and plenty of fond memories.
Crotty said he will miss the meetings, as they are informal and always fun. The events are typically held in pubs around the city and at the newly-opened US Embassy. They held a small viewing party at one of the bars in London that carried the NCAA basketball tournament. Crotty said the game was on very late.
Crotty said the club is fairly diverse and Auburn alumni hold positions and careers of all kinds around the city. Many are involved in the financial sphere, but some hold positions in architecture, business, engineering, public service and everything in between.
Katelyn Williams ’06 has always seen London as a second home. She grew up in California, moved to Atlanta when she was 14 and, while looking for colleges, fell in love with Auburn. She will be getting married in June and has 16 Auburn alumni ready to watch her walk down the aisle in London.
Williams said being away from family in an unfamiliar country can be a difficult adjustment, but being around the Auburn Family helps tremendously.
“When we all meet, it is truly like meeting up with family, which I think we all find comforting,” Williams said. “Whether it’s catching up about football, friends we have in common or our cravings for the unobtainable Toomer’s lemonade and Mama’s Gs.”
Crotty said it is always nice to see a friendly face and being away from home brings people closer together. Fellow alumni are very supportive of each other and willing to help in many ways.
“The term Auburn Family gets used a lot, but it really rings true when you see the instant connections and support shown for our fellow alumni in London,” Crotty said. “Collectively, it is really an impressive group of people serving as unofficial ambassadors for the University.”
The goal of Auburn Clubs is to foster the Auburn spirit by engaging members of the Auburn Family in their respective communities, supporting current and future students through scholarship funding.
When the London-based alumni first met with Hardgrave and Jones, they were a group of strangers standing around. After less than an hour passed, they were planning the next opportunity to meet up.
“In a country full of new experiences and people, it is comforting to have a group of people that believe in Auburn and love it,” Williams said.
by Lily Jackson ’18