Gretchen VanValkenburg

Dear Auburn Family,

I am honored every year to report the Auburn Alumni Association’s accomplishments. But this year, with so many unforeseen challenges, I am especially grateful to share the 2019- 2020 annual report with you. For nearly half of our fiscal year, we carried out our mission of enhancing the engagement and connection of all Auburn University alumni and friends in the traditional ways we have always enjoyed. Then, COVID-19 changed everything and sent our staff home to work remotely. Undeterred, the alumni association found new ways to proceed virtually with scheduled programs, and at the same time, created unique opportunities to connect, even when
we were apart.

These efforts paid off as we generated over 8.7 million social media touchpoints, saw a substantial increase in downloads and interactions on the Forever AU app, and our award-winning Auburn Magazine continued to be recognized nationally.

Innovative programming kept our alumni engaged and connected. From AMBUSH at Home, our annual event with Coach Gus Malzahn and Coach Bruce Pearl, to the 18:56 Speaker Series, to Black Alumni Week and various Auburn Club activities, more than 136,000 individuals were engaged through association-supported events.

Even during a pandemic, philanthropic gifts, including membership contributions, continued to generate critical resources to support our mission. Sustaining life membership increased by a record 330%. Contributing memberships—both annual and life—along with the magazine’s voluntary subscription program, License to Learn and the Auburn Club Scholarship program combined to make a substantial financial impact on many lives.

This year has given us a chance to slow down and reflect on how grateful we are for the Auburn Family. On behalf of the Auburn Alumni Association and our board of directors, we thank you for your unwavering support during these uncertain times.

War Eagle!

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

Engage Graphic Header

Due to the COVID-19 virus, Auburn University went totally remote beginning in mid-March. The alumni association engaged all alumni by continuing our previously planned programming as well as creating new opportunities and events. From the first virtual AMBUSH at Home to a new biweekly online speaker series, the association actually experienced an increase in engagement and followers.

AUBURN CLUBS and AUBURN ALUMNI AFFILIATES

Clubs-and-Affiliates-badge

In 2019-2020, more than 44,000 alumni and friends participated in events hosted by our more than 120 Auburn Clubs and Affiliates.  Networking opportunities through Freshmen Send-off events, AMBUSH, happy hours and game watch parties were offered for alumni and friends.

FRESHMEN SEND-OFFS

35 clubs and affiliates
250 freshmen and alumni engaged

CLUB LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE and MID-YEAR TRAINING

129 club/affiliate leaders
50 clubs/affiliates
13 states
50+ first-time attendees
40 club/affiliate leaders for midyear training

AMBUSH
27,300 attendees

MOST OUTSTANDING ALUMNI IN ACTION PROJECT
MOST OUTSTANDING CLUB EVENT AWARD
MOST OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI PROGRAM AWARD
Ambush At Home graphic

GOLDEN EAGLES

The distinction of Golden Eagles is bestowed upon all Auburn alumni who graduated 50 years ago or more. Typically held in the spring, the 2020 Golden Eagles Reunion was unable to be held due to the coronavirus and ongoing pandemic. However, we were able to share some great Auburn memories and fun facts. We look forward to honoring the classes of 1970 and 1971 at a virtual reunion in May 2021.

Auburn University 1970 total enrollment: 14,229
Male: 9,419 | Female: 4,810

Auburn Cheerleaders leaning on an old car

WAR EAGLE TRAVELERS

From the French Riviera to Japan to Switzerland and many places in between, War Eagle Travelers brings alumni together for extraordinary adventures around the world. While COVID-19 significantly impacted individuals’ ability to travel the globe, a virtual travel preview provided an opportunity to look ahead at trips being offered in 2021.

STUDENT IMPACT

VIRTUAL SENIOR CELEBRATION
10 activities during the week
66 participants

STUDENT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
1,820 members

OTHER STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
Be the Creed Week, Ring Night and Ceremony, Get it Together

1,227 participants

Visit Senior Celebration Webpage
AAA-Web-Header-SeniorCelebration

18:56 SPEAKER SERIES

18 min and 56 sec Speaker Series graphic
Aubie 18:56 Speaker Series Graphic

Click image to watch 18:56 videos

18:56, is a nod to Auburn University’s founding year and allows guest speakers to discuss various topics for 18 minutes and 56 seconds. Since launching in April, the online series has had a variety of topics and guests ranging from managing your finances during COVID-19, mental health awareness, CNN Entertainment Reporter Chloe Melas, comedian Paul Schissler and our mascot Aubie. This past fiscal year, 17 shows were produced engaging 59,169 alumni and friends.

Connect Header

Staying connected became a buzz phrase in 2020, but even during a pandemic, our members stayed in touch, increasing sustaining life memberships by more than 300%, participating in Membership Appreciation Week activities and more. Although for half of the FY, all events and activities had to be held virtually, we stayed together—even though we were apart.

MEMBERSHIP

SUSTAINING LIFE MEMBERS

FY 2019 = 102 | FY 2020 = 446

337%
INCREASE

Sustaining Life Pin graphic

TIGER NATION CHALLENGE

The third annual Tiger Nation Challenge against the LSU Alumni Association resulted in $34,442 in memberships and contributions from 362 alumni and friends. The challenge is a week-long competition between the associations to see who can gain the most members and raise the most support for their university.

Auburn Alumni Association vs. LSU Alumni Association Tiger Nation Challenge #beatLSU #tigernationchallenge
Auburn Alumni Directory Graphic

AUBURN ALUMNI DIRECTORY

Reached more than 41,000 alumni
Updated more than 115,456 alumni records
Engaged 2,378 new contributing members

MEMBERSHIP APPRECIATION WEEK

Almost 1,000 alumni participated in the first Member Appreciation Week with complimentary Pete the Cat prints, Forever AU app engagement, Auburn trivia and prizes, and discounted membership prices!

Visit Membership Appreciation Week Webpage
WinThisPrint Pete the Cat Membership Appreciation Week
Inform graphic header

This year, of all years, staying connected and informing alumni was a priority. Through email, the Forever AU app and social media platforms, the alumni association worked diligently to keep our alumni apprised of all that was happening on campus, as well as offering programs, events and opportunities for the Auburn Family.

AUBURN MAGAZINE

Auburn Magazine Winter 2019 cover featuring Pete the Cat
Auburn Magazine Cover Summer 2020
FALL2020-cover
Auburn Magazine Spring 2020 feature Rattle and Strum For 25 years, two Auburn grads have brought the world’s best singer-songwriters to the Plains for concerts in a local landmark. The story of the acoustic music series with the unforgettable name. Also featuring Shoes Made From Green Tea, Jamie Lowe: Teenage Divorce Mediator, The CoHo: From History To Hotel and Pat Sullivan Tribute

320,690 magazines were distributed in FY 19-20

Fall 2020 issue went out to 203,000 households

Voluntary subscription letter raised $131,734 in gift subscriptions

Magazine articles were viewed online an additional 33,260 times in FY 19-20, with For Pete’s Sake viewed an incredible 14,022 times.

Visit Auburn Magazine Webpage
Pete's Sake Article read 14022 times online graphic

FOREVER AU APP

The Forever AU app experienced a great year of growth and participation! In October 2019, approximately 7,000 users were engaged with the app, and the fiscal year ended with nearly 12,000 users – a 67% increase. If you have not downloaded the Forever AU app, you are missing out on weekly content as well as great information at your finger tips!

Visit Forever AU App Webpage
Forever AU Graphic

BUY ONE, GIVE ONE MASK INITIATIVE

Buy One, Donate one Auburn Alumni Mask

In partnership with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Buy One, Give One Mask Initiative sold high-quality Auburn masks in four unique designs. For every mask sold, the association donated a mask to the area of greatest need in Alabama. At the end of the FY20, the initiative had provided more than 3,700 free masks to Alabama citizens.

philanthropic Impact graphic header

Despite a year filled with uncertainty, Auburn alumni supported the association in many ways, but specifically through the License to Learn car tag program, the Commemorative Medallion initiative and Tiger Giving Day. Overall, $229,351 was generated to fund Auburn University student scholarships and over the past five years, more than $3 million has been awarded through directly supported Auburn Alumni Association scholarships.

TIGER GIVING DAY

PROVOST LEADERSHIP UNDERGRAD
SCHOLARSHIP PROJECT

  • 274 donors (20 first time donors)
  • $26,073 in contributions
  • Scholarship impact of seven additional PLUS scholarships for four years

STUDENT ALUMNI
ASSOCIATION PROJECT

  • 90 donors (13 first time donors)
  • $4,425 in contributions
  • Scholarship impact of four additional Student Alumni Association scholarships

AUBURN ALUMNI
ASSOCIATION PROJECT

  • 386 donors
  • 31 first-time donors
  • $164,351 contributed overall
  • $229,051 impact to 62 clubs and 3 affiliate scholarships
  • 3 new club/affiliate scholarships established (2 endowments & 1 annual)

COMMEMORATIVE MEDALLIONS

The Commemorative Medallion program encourages Auburn University students who are preparing to graduate, to make a financial contribution to a school, college, department, organization or program at Auburn University. With a minimum gift of their upcoming graduation year (i.e. $20.20 in 2020), the graduate is given a keepsake commemorative medallion that can be worn at commencement exercises.

  • 497 gifts in FY 19-20
  • $12,206 in contributions
Visit New Grad Webpage
Commemorative Medallion graphic

LICENSE TO LEARN

Through August 2020, purchase of Auburn license plates through the License to Learn program has raised $2,975,965 in FY 19-20, a 2.47% increase over the previous year.

Visit Auburn Car Tag Webpage
Auburn License Plate
Recognition header

One of the highlights of every year is honoring outstanding faculty and accomplished alumni, as well as having the association’s work receive recognition from peers in higher education.

FACULTY AWARDS

Auburn Alumni Professorship recipients, nominated by their deans and chosen by the provost, receive a monetary honorarium for five years. Three Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards are given to teachers who are nominated by students, alumni and colleagues to recognize their quality of teaching.  The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lectureship, jointly sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the Auburn University Graduate School, is selected by the Graduate Faculty Council.

Faculty Awards 2020 Graphic

ALUMNI PROFESSORSHIPS

  • Andreas Kavazis
    College of Education
  • Latif Kalin
    School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
  • Edward Sikora
    College of Agriculture
  • Levent Yilmaz
    Samuel Ginn College of Engineering
  • Tracy Witte
    College of Liberal Arts

 

DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE
FACULTY LECTURESHIP

  • Jeffrey Suhling
    Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

 

UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING
EXCELLENCE AWARDS

  • James Birdsong
    College of Liberal Arts
  • Kerry Inger
    Raymond J. Harbert College of Business
  • Jennifer W. Stone
    College of Science and Mathematics

LIFETIME and YOUNG ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

LAA 2020 Photo Gallery

RECIPIENT WINNERS

Joe W. Forehand, Jr. ’71, William E. Barrick ’68, Dion Aviki ’04,
Octavia Spencer ’94, Jere Locke Beasley, Sr. ’59

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes recipients for outstanding achievements in their professional lives, personal integrity and stature and service to the university.

It was established in 2001 to honor extraordinary accomplishments by members of the Auburn Family. Recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards are selected by a committee of Auburn administrators, trustees, faculty and alumni.

Established in 2011, the Young Alumni Achievement Award recognizes extraordinary accomplishments of Auburn University graduates 40 years of age or younger. Recipients are recognized for significant achievement in their professional lives and/or for distinguished community service.

CASE AWARDS

CASE award graphic

In 2019-20 the association’s communication and marketing efforts won an incredible six regional awards from The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The association won two gold, three silver and one bronze award for everything from magazine design and editorial, to posters and even one gameday-themed fan. In addition to winning a gold regionally, the Forever AU App Alumni Suite Poster won a prestigious international Circle of Excellence Award, with the judges commenting “this was a funny ad and great use of a small budget.”

Empower header

In alignment with the alumni association’s strategic plan, two new councils were established in 2019-2020. The Young Alumni Council and the Black Alumni Council are the first two groups formed to meet the diverse needs of our alumni and create unique and meaningful engagement opportunities.

BLACK ALUMNI WEEK

518 registered for Black Alumni Week
25 virtual events
9 Black alumni recognized for achievements

Black Alumni Week 2020

YOUNG ALUMNI COUNCIL

The council’s primary mission is to support the goals and mission of the Auburn Alumni Association specifically on matters pertaining to young alumni.

Visit Young Alumni Council Webpage
Eric Dunlap Young Alumni Council Chair

ERIC DUNLAP ’06

YOUNG ALUMNI COUNCIL CHAIR

Young Alumni Council Stats

BLACK ALUMNI COUNCIL

The council’s primary mission is to support the goals and mission of the Auburn Alumni Association, specifically on matters pertaining to Black alumni.

Visit Black Alumni Council Webpage

ERICA STRINGER-REASOR ’04

BLACK ALUMNI COUNCIL MEMBER

Black Alumni Council Stats
Financials Graphic 2019-2020
Van Henley - Auburn Alumni Board of Directors

Hello Auburn Family!

Even with its many challenges, the 2019-2020 fiscal year was filled with meaningful engagement. Golden Eagles, club meetings all over the country, AMBUSH and Black Alumni Week are just a few of the many events that are planned and executed to carry out the association’s mission of enhancing your connection to Auburn University. Almost all these activities have historically been in person. Forced to work remotely due to the pandemic, Gretchen VanValkenburg and our staff stepped up big time, using technology to reach alumni in creative new ways. And it is clear Auburn alumni desired to stay connected as participation rates skyrocketed.

One example of the association’s vision has been the creation of a new event. The 18:56 online speaker series, named after Auburn’s founding year and the length of the event itself, began in April and features Auburn alumni, faculty, coaches and staff. Expertly coordinated and produced by our staff, 18:56 has engaged nearly 60,000 alumni and friends. If you missed any of these virtual events you may still watch them by going to the alumni association website. As you review this annual report you will find other examples of how our hard-working staff served you.

I am also proud of the leadership of the board of the alumni association. In addition to forming the Young Alumni Council and the Black Alumni Council to help the alumni association better connect these important groups to Auburn, the board recently established the alumni association’s first need-based endowed scholarship, which is named in memory of Auburn’s first Black graduate and faculty member, Josetta Brittain Matthews. 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.

The Auburn Alumni Association is stronger than ever because of the commitment and guidance of our alumni board as well as the dedication of our staff. Congratulations and thank you all for a job well done.

Writing this letter is my final responsibility as president. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. It has been an honor. And thank you for your support of the Auburn Alumni Association and Auburn University.

Blessings and War Eagle!

Van Henley ’80
President, Auburn Alumni Association

AUBURN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
2019-2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MR. TIMOTHY A. “TIM” BARTON ’78
MRS. SHIRLEY F. BOULWARE ’91
MR. CHRISTOPHER “CHRIS” M. CILLUFFO ’95
MR. JOE A. DALTON ’82
MR. TIMOTHY M. “TIM” ELLEN ’81
MRS. MICHELLE M. GRANBERRY ’92, Treasurer
MR. M. VAN HENLEY ’80, President
DR. JOSHUA R. JARRELL ’05
MRS. ANGELA R. JENKINS ’94
MRS. LAURA C. KEZAR ’08
MR. DOUGLAS E. KILTON ’82
MR. ELON W. MADDOX, JR. ’73
MRS. JENNA C. MAYO ’06
MR. JEFFREY B. MOORE ’88

MRS. JENNIFER G. MOORE ’85
MRS. ASHLEY N. ROBINETT ’01
MR. MICHAEL C. ROGERS, JR. ’87
MS. REGENIA R. SANDERS ’95, Vice President
MRS. CHASTITY S. WESTRY ’97

EX OFFICIO
MR. WILLIAM C. “BEAU” BYRD II ’89
DR. JAY GOGUE ’69
MS. KELLI D. SHOMAKER
MR. BENNY M. LARUSSA, JR. ’82
MRS. GRETCHEN VANVALKENBURG ’86
MS. JENNIFER L. STEPHENS
MS. STACY LIN THOMPSON ’21

2019 - 2020 Board of Directors

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