Summer 2018 - Features

Because this is Auburn. A Campaign for Auburn University

Because This Is Auburn. A Campaign for Auburn University; Thank you; Nearly $32 million was raised during Because This is Auburn to support construction of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center, a world-class facility designed to enrich the artistic life of the university and the region through the exploration of the arts.

$1.2 Billion…And Then Some


From the Beginning, Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University was an ambitious endeavor that sought to raise $1 billion and engage the Auburn Family like never before. Through incredible generosity, and more than 467,000 gifts, the campaign generated $1,202,549,730, a first in Alabama.

Launched publicly in April 2015, the campaign supported four major areas—students, faculty, programs and facilities—and called the Auburn Family to preserve the Auburn experience for the next generation. Auburn alumni in particular were crucial to the campaign’s success, making up nearly 80 percent of individual donors and contributing $661,735,066, or more than 50 percent of the total amount raised.

“We received gifts of all sizes, from transformational gifts to those creating lasting endowments to ongoing annual gifts. Every gift matters and the Auburn Family’s generosity demonstrates our commitment to stand together for a better Auburn,” said Jane DiFolco Parker, Vice President for Development and President of the Auburn University Foundation.

Where Does $1.2 Billion Go?

How Gifts Come Into the University
106,976 donors; Individuals, Alumni $661,735,066 – 55%, Friends $128,341,930 – 11%, Parents $42,198,703 – 4%, Faculty, Staff, Students $5,708,719-1%; Corporations $194,666,925-16%, Foundations $85,611,193-7%, Other Organizations $84,287,194-7%
73% Outright Gifts-$881,034,596, Cash, checks, credit cards, electronic funds transfers (EFT); Securities (stocks, bonds, etc.); Real estate; Gifts-in-kind (equipment, art, animals, etc.); 27% Planned Gifts-$321,515,134 Payable at a future date through wills, trusts, annuities

Auburn University Foundation

The Auburn University Foundation (AUF) receives gifts made in support of and to benefit Auburn University and Auburn University at Montgomery. The AUF then distributes the funds based on donors’ intentions.

Tigers Unlimited Foundation

The Tigers Unlimited Foundation (TUF) receives all gifts made in support of Auburn Athletics and distributes funds based on donors’ intentions.

Auburn University Real Estate Foundation

The Auburn University Real Estate Foundation, Inc. (AUREF) is a nonprofit organization controlled by the AUF to receive and administer gifts of real property.

1.2 billion dollars
Where Does the Money Go?
467,708 gifts, Colleges, Schools and Units, Programs $637,150,604 – 53%, Scholarships $285,735,252 – 24%, Facilities $203,315,941 – 17%, Faculty $76,347,933 – 6%
How Are Gifts Categorized?

Annual gifts
$802,987,347 – 67%

Immediate impact


Faculty support



Area of greatest need
(unrestricted or undesignated)


Gifts to the endowment
$399,562,383 – 33%

An endowment grows and produces
income in perpetuity for a donor’s
designated purpose

Principal invested and a portion
of the market returns used for:

Endowed scholarships

Endowed faculty positions

Endowed programmatic support

Turning Tassels


Accounting graduate Cheyenne Redus ’18 knew from an early age that one day she would be an Auburn University student. She knew that dream would require hard work—and a substantial amount of financial aid. As both of these became a reality for her, she became the first member of her family to go to college.

Her mother works on the manufacturing floor, wearing steel-toed boots to work every day in the Steelcase manufacturing plant in Athens, Ala. It’s hard work—good work—but not what she wanted for her daughter.

Cheyenne Redus '18 and her mother at graduation

“She used to say, ‘Cheyenne, please go get a degree because you don’t want to be wearing these boots and standing on your feet all day in this plant,’” Redus said. “She wanted a different life for me and we both knew that education would be the key to that life.”

During Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University, donors created 2,108 merit–and need-based scholarships, providing access to an Auburn education for many students who otherwise would not have been able to attend.

Redus is living the dream she and her mother always envisioned and is cognizant daily that scholarships—including the Provost Leadership Undergraduate Scholarship (PLUS)—made her Auburn education possible.

“My mom always wished she could do more, but she just couldn’t, so for her to know that I had financial support—even though she wishes it could’ve been from her—was so meaningful.

I think she loves Auburn just as much as I do for giving me that opportunity and ensuring that I didn’t have to worry about finances,” she said.

Redus began her studies at Auburn as a pre-veterinary medicine major, but her career aptitude test pointed her toward financial accounting. After her first accounting class, she knew she was in the right place.

She excelled academically and graduated with honors in May. Graduate school is next for Redus, who began classes at Auburn this summer. After completing the Master of Accountancy program, she plans to work in a public accounting firm in Huntsville.

Some of her favorite experiences at Auburn are the opportunities provided through the PLUS program—designed to increase diversity among the undergraduate student population at Auburn, with an emphasis on students from underserved populations. These experiences allowed her to learn from students and faculty with different backgrounds and capabilities.

Although, in many ways, Redus’ story truly is just beginning, she says it actually began more than a decade ago as she took virtual tour after virtual tour of Auburn’s campus on her mother’s old desktop computer. It was then that her determination to attend Auburn was born. It was the generosity of donors that made her Auburn education possible.

“I’ve never met them, but I owe my donors so much,” she said. “They literally turned another tassel in May when I walked across that stage. They made my Auburn dream come true.”

Paving the Way


It’s one thing to be a woman pioneering research in a field heavily dominated by men. It’s another to do so as the first woman on the supply chain management team within the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business’ Department of Systems and Technology. Beth Davis-Sramek, Gayle Parks Forehand Professor, has accomplished both.

Supply chain management involves the flow of goods and services from point of origin to point of consumption. This includes industries such as electronics, automotive and apparel. In other words, practically everything people purchase and use is part of a supply chain.

“This area of management was born out of transportation and warehousing, so there just haven’t been many women in the field,” Davis-Sramek explained.

Beth Davis-Sramek; The Auburn Family's generosity established 106 endowed faculty positions.

Her work at Auburn is changing that reality. A trailblazer, Davis-Sramek is paving the way for the inclusion of women in this growing area of discovery. She leverages her role as a professor to steer women to a supply chain career, where graduates are in demand and well–compensated. On a broader scale, she is leading the expansion of supply chain management with research focusing on companies’ environmental and social sustainability efforts. She will teach Auburn’s first Sustainable Supply Chain Management class this fall.

Global commerce depends on supply chains to move goods, many of which are produced in developing nations. The sustainability impact of this for companies, along with the ecological and social implications, are related to their supply chain.

Davis-Sramek explores how companies address the environmental and social impact of their supply chains in a burgeoning stream of research on sustainable supply chain management. Stakeholders including community leaders, government agencies, environmental groups and others demand that companies minimize their environmental footprint and be good corporate citizens in the places where they operate. At the same time, companies must meet customer demand for reasonable prices, reliable service and fast delivery. Most consumers never see the progress companies have made in sustainability.

“We’re seeing companies implement really innovative solutions,” Davis-Sramek said. “They’re doing everything from using alternative fuel vehicles to adopting wind and solar energy in their operations to using robots that can operate in the dark.”

Businesses are establishing stringent policies to monitor the human rights practices of their suppliers in developing countries.

They also work collaboratively with suppliers, governments and non-governmental organizations to share best practices and provide safer work environments.

Davis-Sramek came to Auburn from the University of Louisville where she also taught and researched supply chain management. Here, she holds the Gayle Parks Forehand Endowed Professorship, established through a gift from Gayle and Joe Forehand. Gayle is a 1970 business administration graduate and former Chief Accountant at Emory University. Joe is a 1971 industrial engineering graduate and retired chairman and CEO of Accenture.

During Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University, gifts for faculty support created 84 new endowed professorships and 22 new endowed chairs. Endowed faculty positions enable Auburn University to recruit and retain exceptional faculty who push for new discoveries and challenge and inspire our students.

“I’m grateful to be part of this wave of women in supply chain management and the first wave at Auburn,” Davis-Sramek said. “It’s very meaningful that I hold a professorship created by Gayle Forehand, an accomplished Auburn business graduate. That’s incredibly significant to me.”

Innovative Programs


Through Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University, donors gave more than $637 million to create innovative programs that provide hands-on, out-of-the-classroom learning experiences for students. These programs help Auburn prepare the leaders of tomorrow through opportunities that reflect the real-world workplace and instill technical and leadership skills that set our students apart in a competitive job market.



Preparing students for careers in the 21st-century workforce often requires an interdisciplinary focus that combines cutting-edge technology with academics. Auburn provides professional development programs to educate and train students across a variety of disciplines such as the Business-Engineering-Technology (B-E-T) program.

B-E-T is the cornerstone of the Thomas Walter Center for Technology Management, which trains engineering and business students for the opportunities and challenges found when the two disciplines merge. Preparing students to work in technology-intensive firms, B-E-T offers an undergraduate
minor designed to give business and engineering students
a unique blend of product innovation, business analyses and product marketing that provides the fundamentals of product design, intellectual property, business plans, marketing strategy and entrepreneurship.

Donor investments helped establish the center in 1989. During Because This is Auburn, technology management programs, including B-E-T, were strengthened by a $2 million gift from the center’s namesake, Thomas Walter, a 1955 engineering physics graduate, and his wife Jean, through their fund at the Communities Foundation of Texas.

Abilities Unlimited

Community outreach programs fulfill Auburn’s fundamental land-grant mission of service and prepare students and faculty to meet the growing needs of society, including the health and fitness needs of children with disabilities.

Abilities Unlimited, a summer camp for children and youth with and without developmental disabilities, builds motor confidence and social, cognitive and life skills in those with disabilities. During the camp, children participate in an adapted physical activity curriculum, including bicycle training and swimming lessons, as well as academic and transition activities.

Instructional sessions focus on nutrition, providing education related to balanced meals, whole foods and unhealthy choices. These sessions complement the physical activity instruction and create a more complete picture of healthy lifestyles. Also, the program includes parents, asking them to participate in an online course with short informational videos demonstrating what their children learned about nutrition and activity.

Founded by Melissa Pangelinan, assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology, the program is administered in partnership with iCan Shine, Inc. and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Private support from partners such as East Alabama Medical Center makes Abilities Unlimited possible.

Auburn students in front of Notre Dame
Women Inspiring and Nurturing Greatness in Student-Athletes

Auburn’s commitment to providing the highest-quality education for students is supported by the breadth of programs that also enrich the student experience. Women Inspiring and Nurturing Greatness in Student-Athletes (WINGS) promotes women’s athletics and seeks to enhance the overall university experience for female student-athletes, from the time they arrive on campus until they graduate.

Launched in 2009, WINGS has funded graduate assistantships in Athletics which have allowed former student-athletes to gain invaluable work experience. The program also funds various needs for each of Auburn’s 12 women’s sports, including providing new carpet and other locker room upgrades, fencing, equipment, and facility graphics.

WINGS has supported programs to aid with career development by assisting with career fairs and funding for an Internet-based networking program. Those efforts tie directly to the department’s strategic goals of ensuring student-athletes graduate and leave Auburn prepared for successful lives and careers.

Private support is crucial to the success of programs such as WINGS. A significant gift to the program during the campaign from Ernie Wright, parent of an Auburn University student, will benefit women’s athletics for years to come.

Campus Kitchens Project

Food insecurity and food waste have sustainability ramifications on a global scale, but student volunteers in Auburn’s Campus Kitchens Project are doing what they can to make a difference in their corner of the world. Students package meals from food they recover from on-campus dining halls, fraternity houses and a local restaurant, then deliver them to partnering agencies and individuals in need, including Auburn students. In 2017, 585 student volunteers collected more than 21,000 pounds of food and prepared more than 15,000 meals.

Allies in Auburn’s fight against food insecurity and hunger, private donors and corporate partners are providing resources to support the project. Publix Super Market Charities gave $5,000 in 2017 to the Campus Kitchens Project to ensure that the organization continues to meet hunger needs in the community—on and off campus.

Study Abroad Programs

The world has become increasingly interconnected, making global perspectives essential to the success of industries. To meet this demand, Auburn encourages student participation in study abroad programs as an integral component of equipping graduates to compete successfully in today’s international economy.

Studying other cultures from global industry and economic perspectives provides experiential learning and unique understanding that elevates Auburn graduates among their peers. On average, recent graduates who participated in study abroad programs earn in excess of $10,000 more in starting salaries than their peers who lack global experience.

The Ron Sanders Study Abroad Program in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business funds the mission and operation of the international study program and offsets the expenses of those who participate. Established by Ron Sanders ’82, President of Warner Bros. Theatrical Distribution and Home Entertainment, and his wife Melissa, this opportunity and others provide funding for business students who study in various countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Spain, England, China, Japan, South Korea and Switzerland.

A Campus Transformed; Perhaps the most visible evidence of the campaign’s impact is the new facilities and reimagined spaces throughout campus. Construction cranes dot the landscape, illustrating progress toward the creation of state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and student spaces that fuel discovery and enable talented scholars and students to do their best work. Gifts of more than $203 million have created nearly 1.2 million square feet of new space to ensure that our facilities keep pace with technological advances and emerging teaching and learning styles.
Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center

This 85,000-square-foot facility will host performances ranging from Broadway shows, operas, dance companies, concerts and more. A $25 million lead gift from 1957 graduates John and Rosemary Brown to name the center in honor of Auburn’s 18th president Jay Gogue and his wife Susie, is ensuring the construction of the world-class facility.

Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital

As one of the nation’s leading medical facilities for animal healthcare, the hospital was made possible through a lead gift of $10 million from 1957 graduates John and Rosemary Brown, and was named in honor of their longtime friends. The facility provides premier care for more than 13,000 companion animal patients per year.

School of Nursing Building

Private donors and corporate healthcare partners have helped create Auburn’s first facility designed for nursing education. The building will provide enhanced hands-on learning experiences, incorporating the latest in nursing education technologies, innovative instructional environments and a dynamic, high-technology simulation suite.

Graduate Business Building

Designed to accommodate the booming student enrollment in the Harbert College of Business, the facility will feature innovative and collaborative working and learning spaces. The building was made possible by a $15 million lead gift from 1982 industrial management alumnus Raymond J. Harbert and his wife Kathryn Dunn Harbert, a 1981 public administration graduate.

Jordan-Hare Stadium

A lead gift from alumni Raymond and Kathryn Harbert is creating the new Harbert Family Recruiting Center in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Additional gifts to support stadium renovations from donors such as Joey Pierson, a 1986 accounting graduate, will provide unparalleled athletics experiences for student-athletes and fans.

Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center

A $30 million commitment from alumni John and Rosemary Brown is supporting the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s vision to provide the nation’s best student-centered engineering education experience. The 142,000-square-foot facility will house academic support, student recruitment and professional development spaces.

Broun Hall

Renovations and the addition of the Davidson Pavilion have created new study and collaboration spaces in Broun Hall. The project was made possible through a $5 million gift from Dorothy Davidson, chair and CEO of Huntsville’s Davidson Technologies, to honor her late husband Julian, a 1950 electrical engineering graduate and defense industry pioneer.

Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory

The renovated Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory supports emerging research initiatives through updated, state-of-the-art facilities. The former Textile Building was renovated as a result of $10.5 million in gifts from 1959 textile management graduate Charles E. Gavin III and his late wife Carol Ann.

Mell Classroom Building

Donors have supported the 69,000-square-foot addition to Ralph Brown Draughon Library (pictured left) that accommodates contemporary teaching and learning styles. The facility significantly improves interaction and collaboration on campus and contains new and renovated group study areas, active learning classrooms, two lecture halls and a food venue.

Tony and Libba Rane Culinary Science Center

Students studying hospitality management will benefit from hands-on demonstrations and immersive hospitality instruction in the facility made possible by a $12 million commitment from James W. “Jimmy” Rane, a 1968 business administration graduate and member of the Board of Trustees, and the Rane family.

Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building

A portion of a $6.2 million gift from Delta Air Lines, the Delta Air Lines Foundation and the Jacobson Family Foundation is helping construct the 23,000-square-foot Delta Air Lines Aviation Education Building. The first facility designed exclusively for aviation education at Auburn will provide state-of-the-art flight simulators and technology-enhanced classrooms.

Charles C. Miller Jr. Poultry Research and Education Center

Enabling students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to hands-on experiences, this new facility is made possible by a $2.5 million gift from Charles C. “Buddy” Miller III and his wife Pinney Allen, to honor Miller’s parents Charles C. Miller Jr., a 1938 and 1940 graduate, and Virginia Doke Miller.

Family; photo of rolling Toomer's Corner with Samford in the background

The Auburn Family has a long history of coming together in a pinch. From cheering together for a big win and celebrating a key university ranking, to mourning the loss of one of their own or grieving the destruction of the beloved Toomer’s Oaks, the Auburn Family is in it together. Through support for Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University, the Auburn Family united again, accomplishing something momentous, together.

Proving that every gift matters, loyal members of the Auburn Family contributed to the success of the campaign through gifts of all sizes.

The Annual Fund entered the public phase of the campaign with a strategic focus on increasing the number of donors and attracting first-time donors, with a particular emphasis on first-time alumni donors. Through the student call center and effective appeals highlighting the positive impact of philanthropy, donors invested in a variety of areas across campus. In addition, streamlining the online donation process resulted in an increase in online fundraising from $406,898 to $2,075,575 during the campaign’s public phase.

The Annual Fund was instrumental in broadening the base of alumni support for the campaign, experiencing a three-year trend of increased giving in fiscal years 2015–17. During the public phase of the campaign, the Annual Fund attracted 7,790 new donors, 56 percent of which are alumni.

Wheelchair Basketball Team in Arena; During the second Tiger Giving Day, the Auburn Wheelchair Basketball team raised $17,760 for specialized equipment, which was 148 percent of their goal. Student-athletes purchased modified wheelchairs and a machine to return balls to players, greatly enhancing their training and athletic experiences.

Additionally, Auburn’s first-ever Tiger Giving Day, held on Dec. 1, 2015, attracted 2,103 donors, 651 of which were first-time donors. Contributing $411,936, donors supported an array of special projects in various schools, colleges, and programs. A dedicated website,, highlighted the projects with information detailing their single-day fundraising goals and explaining how donations would be used.

With goals ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, 18 of the 24 projects were fully funded. Projects ranged from whiteboards for study areas in the library and a telescope for the astronomy terrace, to food for Auburn’s raptors and an educational play structure at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center.

Auburn’s second Tiger Giving Day, held on Feb. 21, 2017, included projects such as a display case for a rare dinosaur egg, the purchase of a portable sawmill, and funding for mobile health clinics. Nearly 3,000 donors, 747 of whom were new
donors to the university, gave $502,357 and fully funded 22 of the 29 projects.

Tiger Giving Day is designed to engage new and existing donors at all levels of capacity and to enable them to see the collective impact of their giving. Nearly one-third of participants were new donors to the university, broadening the base of those who give to Auburn.

Rise as One; Photo of Auburn students during a football game

The incredible generosity from more than 106,000 donors who supported our colleges, schools and units through their gifts to Because This is Auburn created thousands of new scholarships, bolstered the goal of recruiting and rewarding faculty members, funded exceptional programs and provided new and reimagined learning and research spaces.

College of Agriculture


Auburn Alumni Association


College of Architecture,
Design and Construction


Auburn Athletics


Auburn University Montgomery


Raymond J. Harbert
College of Business


College of Education


Samuel Ginn
College of Engineering


School of Forestry and
Wildlife Sciences


Graduate School


Honors College


College of Human Sciences


Jule Collins Smith
Museum of Fine Art


College of Liberal Arts


University Libraries


School of Nursing


Office of Inclusion and Diversity


University Outreach


Harrison School of Pharmacy


Auburn University Research


College of Sciences
and Mathematics


Division of Student Affairs


College of Veterinary Medicine


Transformational Giving

When 1957 graduates John and Rosemary Brown stepped up to the podium at the kick-off gala for Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University on April 17, 2015, few in the audience knew they were about to witness an announcement that would reserve its place in Auburn’s history.

In honor of the year they graduated, were married and Auburn won its first National Championship, the Browns announced their commitment of $57 million to Auburn University, the largest in school history. The gift provided $25 million for construction of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center and $30 million to construct the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center. It also included $2 million to create the Rosemary Kopel Brown Eminent Scholar Chair in Mathematics.

John, former CEO and chairman of the board for Stryker Corporation, and Rosemary, a retired mathematics teacher, earned chemical engineering and chemistry degrees, respectively. The Browns also made a $10 million gift in 2011 for the construction of the Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital to honor their longtime friends Wilford and Cratus “Kate” Bailey, former Auburn University president and first lady.

The university also has benefited from transformational philanthropic investments from 1982 alumnus Raymond J. Harbert and his wife Kathryn Dunn Harbert, a 1981 Auburn alumna, whose gifts also are among the largest in Auburn’s history. Harbert, CEO of Harbert Management Corporation, a Birmingham-based independent investment management firm, made a $40 million commitment in June 2013 that led to the naming of the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. The gift created endowed chair and eminent scholar positions, the Center for Supply Chain Innovation, a new doctoral program and various programmatic improvements.

In addition, a $15 million commitment from the Harberts is helping to fund construction of a graduate business building on Auburn’s campus. The impact of their giving is evident throughout campus with previous investments, including the Raymond J. Harbert Eminent Scholar Chair in the Department of Finance, the Raymond J. Harbert Fund for Excellence Endowment in the Department of Finance and the TIGER Lab, a 40-station computer lab for students. A lead gift from the Harberts also is helping to create the new Harbert Family Recruiting Center in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Campaign Co-Chairs

“From the beginning, Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University was destined for greatness. We were fortunate to have campaign co-chairs who shared a belief in all that we could accomplish. They were the pillars of this campaign and the voices who captured our vision, helping others believe in our potential to transform Auburn. We owe each of them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”

Vice President for Development and
President, Auburn University Foundation

Our Moment; Photo of construction


The historic success of Because This is Auburn — A Campaign for Auburn University has ushered in a new moment for our university. This campaign, bolstered by the beginning of Steven Leath’s tenure as Auburn University’s new president, has created unprecedented opportunities to move Auburn into the national and international spotlight.

The Auburn Family’s generosity is supporting the vision for Auburn to become a world-class university that provides exceptional educational experiences and engages in creative scholarship and research, all while remaining true to its foundational land-grant mission. Capitalizing on the momentum of the campaign and fueled by philanthropic dollars, Auburn is becoming a potent force for discovery and change, determined to provide innovative solutions to solve real-world problems.

Gifts through this campaign have broadened exponentially what we can do, transforming the way we see ourselves and raising our confidence as well as our sights. That confidence, coupled with the resources to channel ideas into action, will help us reach new heights, ultimately having a positive impact on people, industries and communities in our state, the nation and the world.

But this potential—and this transformation—all began with you. None of our accomplishments, or our aspirations, would be possible without the dedication and support of the Auburn Family. Your generosity and commitment through Because This is Auburn has created a unique moment in Auburn’s history. 

This is only the beginning of what we will accomplish, together. Thank you.