Board of Directors
of the Auburn Alumni Association
2018 Recommended Candidates
for the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors
Hello Auburn Family!
One of my fondest memories as president of the alumni association was when we surprised Coach Pat Dye with an honorary lifetime membership. As a faithful supporter of the alumni association who volunteered to attend alumni events on more than one occasion, he was visibly touched.
In 1980, Coach quit his job at the University of Wyoming with no promise he would be hired at Auburn, showing that he believed in this university from the beginning. Auburn fans happily remember a couple of recent football games where “one second” played a huge role. But long before that, Coach Dye brought us hope and ultimately, joy in what he knew Auburn could do in sixty minutes: beat Bama. Pat Dye was a true Auburn man.
Serving as president the last two years has been an honor and a blessing, and I will forever treasure the memories of alumni events and meeting outstanding Auburn men and women. As president I often had a front-row seat to see the inner workings of the university, which served to reinforce how much I believe in Auburn—and love it.
It is with joy that I turn over the responsibilities of the presidency to my friend Regenia Sanders. When Regenia was elected vice president two years ago, we knew her term as president would signify an important first. But we couldn’t have envisioned how timely it would be. As the alumni association’s first Black president and second female president, Regenia will use her experience as a successful businesswoman to be a strong leader during these unprecedented times.
As Regenia begins her term as president this fall, former president Beau Byrd will complete his service to the alumni association. Beau has worked and served tirelessly on the board for ten years and I will miss our calls to discuss alumni association business. Those calls often included discussions about life, family and of course, the latest in Auburn athletics. Beau, thank you for your service to Auburn and the Auburn Alumni Association.
We hope you have noticed the focus the alumni association has placed on boosting engagement over the past couple years. While we are one association, with programming most often designed to reach all Auburn alumni, we have also worked to increase participation within smaller segments of our base. The result has strengthened us as a whole, advancing our engagement numbers and even increasing website traffic, which is on track to repeat last year’s 35% gain.
Coach Malzahn and Coach Pearl’s AMBUSH events enjoyed an 86% attendance increase in 2019, with sell-out crowds at each of the four stops eager to hear the latest insights on Auburn football and basketball. While we hope to return to an in-person AMBUSH in 2021, this year’s virtual version enabled more than 27,000 Auburn fans to participate.
The association has also looked for avenues to engage young alumni soon after graduation. With this year’s formation of the Auburn Young Alumni Council, we hope to find new ways to involve and connect with this key group of Tigers as they settle into their post-college roles. Thanks to a virtual meeting with the council, I can tell you firsthand that they are energetic and passionate about their mission.
At their meeting in March, the alumni association board of directors voted to create a Black Alumni Council to focus on increasing the engagement of Black alumni. We believe this council will also be integral in achieving a key university initiative of growing Black student enrollment.
Thank you, Gretchen VanValkenburg and your outstanding staff for executing the programming that enables the alumni association to connect and engage alumni. This has been an incredible experience and was made richer because of the jobs you do.
Blessings and War Eagle!!
M. Van Henley ’80
President, Auburn Alumni Association
Past Executive Directors
Past Executive Directors – Hover over images for information.
Past Presidents – Hover over images for information.