“Forever AU” —  is not just a logo for our new association app – it is a way of life. Whether you have stayed in the Loveliest Village or moved across continents, we want to stay engaged – forever. From the Forever AU app to the website, social media, special events, Auburn Clubs and affiliates and our award-winning Auburn Magazine, the Auburn Alumni Association is always looking for ways for alumni and friends to feel a part of the Auburn Family and to experience all the activities on and around campus. No matter how long ago you graduated or where life has taken you, we hope you are Forever AU.

Dear Auburn Family,

It is my honor to share the Auburn Alumni Association’s 2018-2019 annual report with you which reflects our mission of enhancing the engagement and connection of all Auburn University alumni and friends. Please explore the variety of ways in which the Auburn Family continues to make a positive impact through association-led communication, engagement and philanthropy.

It is my honor to share the Auburn Alumni Association’s 2018-2019 annual report with you which reflects our mission of enhancing the engagement and connection of all Auburn University alumni and friends. Please explore the variety of ways in which the Auburn Family continues to make a positive impact through association-led communication, engagement and philanthropy.

In the past year, we generated 39,000,000 communication touchpoints, including our award-winning Auburn Magazine, various social media platforms and the launch of our new app, Forever AU. Through all these channels, the association is growing its reach exponentially.

Additionally, creative programming offers a wide range of options for alumni and friends to be engaged throughout the year as evidenced by more than the 153,000 individuals who participated in association-supported events. Philanthropic gifts, including membership contributions, continue to generate critical resources to support our mission. A special thanks to contributing, life and sustaining life members for their continued investment which supports the alumni association’s endowment. Coupled with the Auburn Club Scholarship program, a total of 340 scholarships, valued at $598,241, were awarded for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Finally, our alumni association’s strategic plan continues to guide our efforts.Based on findings from a 2019 alumni attitude study, two new initiatives were launched: An alumni engagement grants program for university partners and a young alumni initiative, which will provide the groundwork for a new Young Alumni Council to be formed in spring 2020.

On behalf of the Auburn Alumni Association and our board of directors, please accept my gratitude for your unwavering support and for being Forever AU!

War Eagle!

Gretchen VanValkenburg
Gretchen Signature

Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86
Vice President for Alumni Affairs &
Executive Director, Auburn Alumni Association

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In 2018-2019, more than 30,000 alumni participated in events hosted by our more than 100 chartered Auburn Clubs and affiliates. Our Auburn Clubs awarded 174 scholarships valued at $299,841 to students coming to the Plains from all across the nation. Club participation through four AMBUSH events, annual club meetings, Freshmen Send-offs and game watch parties offered networking opportunities for alumni of all generations and keeps the Auburn Family forever engaged and connected to the university.


Auburn enjoyed an unprecedented spring as the Auburn Men’s Basketball Team made it all the way to the Final Four in the NCAA March Madness Tournament and the Auburn Baseball Team earned a trip to the College World Series for the first time since 1997. During the NCAA basketball tournament run, the Auburn Alumni Association hosted an SEC Tournament event in Nashville, followed by two second-round events in Salt Lake City and two Sweet 16 and Elite 8 gatherings in Kansas City, entertaining a total of 350 attendees. At the Final Four in Minneapolis, two additional events entertained more than 650 alumni and friends. Then in June, we followed the baseball team to Omaha, where we hosted two evening events for almost 150 alumni and friends. During a time where things were happening quickly, we used the Forever AU app to spread the word about when and where alumni would be gathering. It was truly a year in sports we will remember – forever.


More than 1,100 alumni and friends visited our Auburn Hospitality Tailgates prior to one home game and two away games in 2018 and the Music City Bowl pregame party in Nashville. More than 1,500 alumni and friends joined us to kick off the 2019 football season at our tailgate in Dallas and 500 stopped by our first home tailgate before the 2019 homecoming game vs. Kent State. These tailgates connected alumni, families and friends back to Auburn by offering visits from Aubie, the War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen, the Auburn Cheerleaders and Tiger Paws.

Annual_Report Stats 2018-2109
AU Cheerleaders
Alumni Events


The Class of 1969 has stayed Forever AU for 50 years and these classmates were inducted as Golden Eagles at the annual reunion held in April. More than 200 new and former Golden Eagles enjoyed a weekend of reminiscing, fellowship, tours and other events around campus. More than 430 alumni and friends gathered together for Black Alumni Weekend in September 2019, a weekend celebrating the 50th anniversary of the integration of Auburn athletics. Guests enjoyed a panel discussion, learning about the life of Henry Harris (Auburn’s first black athlete), an awards banquet, Friday night party, Saturday tailgate and a closing brunch on Sunday. The 18th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented on March 2, 2019 to four remarkable alumni. The 2019 honorees were Neil Owen Davis ’35 (posthumously), Thomas Gossom Jr. ’75, Richard C. Ingwersen ’70 and Jeffrey I. Stone ’79. Ashley Robinett ’01 was recognized as the Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients and Young Alumni Award Recipient
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Forever AU app icon


The Forever AU mobile app launched in February 2019 and is the easiest way to stay connected with the Auburn Family. Forever AU allows alumni to join or renew their contributing association membership, stay connected to campus through the Weekly Roar newsletter, learn about special events and activities, and view the online Auburn Magazine. With just the click of a tile, current contributing Auburn nAlumni Association members can pull up their membership card to use for discounts and benefits, as well as search for friends using the alumni directory. More features will be added in 2020. The app keeps alumni connected, engaged and up-to-date wherever, whenever – and forever.



Following the devastating tornadoes on March 3, 2019, the summer issue of Auburn Magazine honored Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones ’76, the face of our community for the national and international media. This issue also highlighted the swift and substantial assistance from Auburn University. In the Fall 2019 issue, which was mailed to every Auburn graduate with an active mailing address, Auburn Magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of integration of Auburn athletics. In addition to our magazine, the association engaged alumni through 39,000,000 touchpoints through our website, social media and email


Forever AU starts at graduation. Your Auburn Alumni Association is dedicated to engaging and connecting all Auburn University alumni. As a result, all Auburn University graduates are automatically welcomed as General Members of the Auburn Alumni Association with hopes that they will choose to support the university by upgrading to a contributing membership, whether as an Annual, Life or Sustaining Life Member. As of September 30, 2019, the association boasts 43,588 contributing members who enjoy benefits such as the award-winning Auburn Magazine, car rental and travel discounts, access to the alumni directory and scholarship eligibility for children of Life Members. Membership is 90% taxdeductible and best of all, it keeps our alumni and friends connected to Auburn – forever.



Up to 25 five-year, non-renewable Alumni Professorships are sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association. Recipients receive a monetary honorarium each of the five years, provided by funds endowed from annual giving. Faculty members are nominated by their deans and chosen by the provost, based on research, publishing and teaching. As many as five new Alumni Professors are selected each year. Recipients whose awards begin in 2018 and continue through 2023 are:

College of Human Sciences

College of Education

Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

College of Agriculture

College of Sciences & Mathematics


Up to three Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards are given to teachers who are nominated by students, alumni and colleagues to recognize their quality of teaching, knowledge of subject, interest in students and availability to them, the impact the teacher has/had on the nominator’s personal educational experience and his or her influence within the Auburn community. The Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards are one year honors and include a monetary honorarium.

College of Architecture, Design and Construction

College of Liberal Arts

College of Sciences and Mathematics


The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship is jointly sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Auburn University Graduate School. This is a one-year award and carries a $2,000 award from the association. The recipient is selected by the Graduate Faculty Council.

College of Agriculture



In 2018-2019, the Auburn Club Scholarship Program and the Auburn Alumni Association Scholarship Endowment awarded 340 scholarships to Auburn students. This included, 35 students (10 more than 2017-2018) who were awarded scholarships as part of our Million Dollar Match program. When these alumni funded endowments mature, they will award a minimum of 67 new scholarships each year. Overall, through the efforts of the Auburn Alumni Association, $855,000 was generated to fund Auburn University student scholarships.

Our Alumni Walk, which was initiated in 2011 and completed in 2018, raised a total of $485,610 and the Circle of Excellence life member giving program helps increase our endowment used to fund competitive scholarships awarded to the children of the association’s life members.

Student Scholarships


Students enrolled at Auburn can belong to the Student Alumni Association, the largest student organization on campus. With over 2,100 members annually, the Student Alumni Association is led by a 30-member Student Alumni Board that creates events and opportunities for members to interact with each other, as well as network with Auburn University alumni and friends. The group works to raise funds for their student scholarship, which was awarded to two Student Alumni Association members in 2019.

Senior Send-off 2019


The 2019 Senior Send-off was held in April. The association celebrated 230 attendees who enjoyed outdoor games, music, door prizes and special guests from the Southeastern Raptor Center and, of course, everybody’s forever favorite, Aubie. Students networked with vendors, gathered information on the Auburn Clubs, career options, graduate school preparation and had the opportunity to make a Commemorative Medallion gift as their first gift back to Auburn University.


For more than a dozen years, volunteers have helped graduates with caps and gowns at the association’s Get It Together area located in the Auburn Arena prior to every commencement. From steaming gowns to fixing zippers, offering Band-Aids and adjusting graduate hoods, a team of volunteers make sure every graduate is looking their best when they walk across the stage to become Forever AU.



Initiated in December 2015, the Commemorative Medallion program was created to encourage graduating seniors to make their first financial contribution to Auburn as a young alumni. Their gift (a minimum donation of their graduation year, i.e. $20.19) can be designated to any AU school or college, department or program. Donors receive a medallion to wear at graduation and to keep forever. In 2018-2019, 708 graduating seniors made contributions of $14,661 to Auburn; in the first four years, medallions have raised more than $40,000 across campus.



In summer 2019, the alumni association partnered with national retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond® to offer incoming students living on campus the opportunity to place orders on the Bed, Bath & Beyond website and have the order shipped directly to the Auburn Alumni Center for pick up on move-in day. The association received, stored and distributed almost 600 boxes for students who traveled to Auburn from all over the United States. In addition to the pre-ordered items, personnel from Bed, Bath & Beyond set up tents near the residence halls during move-in days to provide a mobile retail store for students and their parents. In its first year, more than 900 items were purchased generating over $40,000 in sales.



The alumni association offered two projects as part of the 2019 Tiger Giving Day. The Student Alumni Association targeted current members of their association encouraging them to make a contribution to the Student Alumni Association scholarship. More than 78 donors gave $4,357, exceeding the Student Alumni Association’s goal and resulting in four additional scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year. The second project involved raising money for our Provost Leadership Undergraduate Scholarship (PLUS). More than 283 donors contributed $25,055, which will provide three, four-year scholarships valued at $24,000 over the four years.


One of the ways the alumni association strives to meet its mission is through strategic goals, particularly our efforts to increase meaningful alumni engagement across the university enterprise. In 2019, we awarded our first Alumni Engagement Innovation Grants, providing seed funds for new alumni engagement programs or funding to expand existing programs to increase capacity and impact. Our first recipients were the Honors College ($10,000), the School of Nursing ($5,000) and the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences ($2,500).


The association once again supported the Auburn Student Veterans Association Gala, featuring Melissa Stockwell, United States Army (ret), who after losing her leg in Afghanistan, went on to become a two-time Paralympian and won a bronze medal in the first-ever paratriathlon event in 2016. Among many other programs and events, the association participated in campus-wide activities celebrating the 50th anniversary of integration of Auburn athletics, Hey Day and continued the partnership with the Office of Student Conduct in their annual Be the Creed Week and the Student Government Association’s Ring Night and Ring Ceremonies.



More than 5,000 alumni/friends around the world who are known to have served or are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces were invited to attend the Auburn Alumni Association Military Appreciation Reception on November 2, 2018, prior to Military Appreciation Day. Also, for the first time in 2019, the association recognized our local first responders with an appreciation challenge coin for members of our law enforcement, firefighters and EMT/EMS communities. Aubie helped deliver coins to the Auburn and Opelika fire departments and EMS at East Alabama Medical Center.


As a way to engage our young alumni (40 years and younger), the association hosted two Social in the City events, one in Birmingham and one in Atlanta. A total of 240 attendees enjoyed a casual evening of networking, mixing, mingling, meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones. The Social in the City events also gave the association a platform to introduce the creation of a young alumni council, which will be established in 2020.


Through the War Eagle Travelers program, 164 alumni and friends traveled together on 27 trips around the world in 2018-2019. From Iceland to the Great Lakes and Antarctica to Greece, forever memories were made.

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Hello Auburn Family!

The 2018 – 2019 fiscal year was a year of celebration for the alumni association. We celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Auburn Plainsman, the 25th year of Rural Studio, the 40th year of our lovable mascot Aubie, the 75th anniversary of George Petrie writing the Auburn Creed and the 50th anniversary of the integration of Auburn athletics. We also celebrated another Equestrian National Championship, a first trip to the men’s Final Four, a return to the Baseball College World Series, the opening of the beautiful Gogue Performing Arts Center and being elevated to an “R1” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning, the highest-level research designation by Carnegie.

While we could list many more celebrations across campus, we should also recognize the outstanding job by the association’s staff and board of directors. In this annual report, you will see a record number of touch points with alumni and friends during the year. In addition, our staff hit home runs with special events like Black Alumni Weekend, the Golden Eagles Reunion, the Senior Send-off, four record-setting Ambush events, tailgates and dozens of local Auburn Club meetings. I am very proud of the effectiveness of these events to engage and connect our alumni and friends to Auburn.

You helped last year by participating in an alumni attitude study, sharing your ideas about engaging and connecting alumni while they are younger, creating a seamless transition from student to alum, continuing strong relationships of students with faculty and staff and a mentoring program for students and alumni. We adjusted the alumni association’s strategies to include what we heard from you. Thanks!

One last reminder: The Auburn Alumni Association has a new mobile app called Forever AU available for download. The app has an alumni search function, allows for membership renewals, Auburn Club access, event registration and online Auburn Magazine access. Search for Forever AU in the app store. If you are looking for ways to become engaged, please contact us. We look forward to assisting you.

Thank you for your support of the Auburn Alumni Association and Auburn University.

Blessings and War Eagle!

Van Henley - Auburn Alumni Board of Directors
Van Henley Signature

Van Henley ’80
President, Auburn Alumni Association

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Board of Directors
2019 Board of Directors graphic

FRONT ROW (L-R): Doug Kilton ’82, Charles Hart ’85, Regenia Sanders ’95 (vice president), Van Henley ’80 (president), Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86, Shirley Boulware ’91 and Beau Byrd ’89 (immediate past president)

MIDDLE ROW: Elon Maddox ’73, Tim Ellen ’81, Michelle Granberry ’92 (treasurer), Laura Kezar ’08, Jennifer Moore ’85, LuAnne Hart ’80 and Jenna Mayo ’06

BACK ROW: Jeff Moore ’88, Ben Chappell ’03, Dewayne Scott ’95, Tim Barton ’78, Chris Cilluffo ’95 and Kelley Mossburg ’77

EX-OFFICIO: Beau Byrd ’89, Auburn Interim President Jay Gogue ’69, Danny Lindsey ’75, Michael McLain ’72, Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86, Jennifer Stephens and Karlee Oliver

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