All Fun & Games
AS WE ENTER THIS YEAR’S altered holiday season with our Auburn-inspired face masks and ever conscious of health concerns, I am incredibly grateful, hopeful and optimistic for the future. Even though 2020 has presented countless challenges and disruptions, it has been very rewarding in some ways. It has reinforced the importance of our connectivity to each other, reminded us how resilient we can be, and forced us out of our comfort zones to explore new ways to solve problems. Most importantly, this year has amplified the necessity to explore ways to move forward together, despite our differences.
The Auburn Alumni Association has used these lessons to stay true to its mission while launching innovative communication and engagement initiatives. We have been inspired, energized and gratified by your enthusiastic response. During our November 2020 annual meeting, alumni board President Van Henley officially welcomed Regenia Sanders as his successor. LuAnne Hart was recognized as our incoming vice president and new directors Maria Baugh, Fred Blatchford, Metrick Houser, Josh Jarrell and Denise Slupe were formally introduced (see our story on p. 24). We look forward to their collective leadership and accomplishments. The program also spotlighted Fiscal Year 2019-20 achievements:
• 136,635 alumni and friends engaged through association initiatives. New virtual programs include 18:56 Facebook series and the 2020 Black Alumni Week.
• 2021 Lifetime Achievement Awards honorees were announced and include: Stan Harrell ’58, Raymond Loyd ‘61, Brooks Moore ’48 and Allen Reed ’70. Additionally, Dr. John Dykes ’05 was selected as the 2021 Young Alumni Award recipient.
• New communication initiatives reached a record number of Auburn alumni and friends. The association’s Facebook page has an impressive 50,000 followers and the Forever AU App enjoys nearly 12,000 users.
• Membership gifts continue to generate critical resources to support our mission. Special thanks to contributing, life and sustaining life members for their investment.
• Alumni Association—related scholarships, including those generated through the Auburn Clubs programs, provided a total of 395 students with scholarships valued at $680,600 for the 2019-20 academic year.
• The Buy One, Give One mask initiative provided more than 3,700 masks to fellow Alabamians and were distributed through the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to areas of greatest need.
• The association continues to run fiscally sound to steward its resources.
I applaud our alumni board of directors for their recent decision to establish a need-based scholarship endowment to support underrepresented, deserving students. It has been aptly named in
memory of Dr. Josetta Matthews, Auburn’s first African American master’s graduate and faculty member. We hope it will inspire, enable and positively impact deserving students from Alabama who want to pursue an Auburn degree but face a financial barrier.
Please accept my gratitude for your unwavering support through 2020’s uncharted waters and uncertain times. May your holidays be filled with joy as you reconnect with family and friends. I wish you great health, peace and prosperity in the new year.
War Eagle Always!
Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86
Vice President for Alumni Affairs &
Executive Director, Auburn Alumni Association
Gwen Whitlock '83
Jessica King '02
Todd Deery '90
Kate Asbury Larkin
Kate Cole '07
Derek Herscovici '14
Lenzi Womack '20
Julie Barnhill '11
Collin Madden '20
Lyn Long '88
Lynn Pauley '90
Don Jackson '97
Sydney Fuller '17
Danielle Fields '02
Taylor Logan '06
Janet Bryant '85
Steve Inabinet '78
Erin Hutchins '09
Rebecca Feldman '20