Charles E. Gavin III ’59, a graduate in textile management, spent most of his industry years with Columbus Carpet Mills, serving in several technical and managerial positions and rising to vice president of carpet manufacturing before founding MFG Chemical in 1980. The early years of MFG were dedicated to carpet dyeing surfactants before moving into chemicals for the oil service, water treatment, pulp and paper, mining and specialty surfactant industries serving a broad segment of the chemical industry’s top Fortune 100 and major international companies. Among other technical achievements, Gavin was the first to successfully develop acid-dyed filament carpet, which is now the industry standard. He retired from MFG Chemical in 2017 as chairman and CEO. He has also served as the past president of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists and treasurer of its foundation. Gavin was named the 2003 Textile Engineering Alumnus of the Year, was the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Auburn Engineer Award presented by the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2016. He has been recognized for a strong history of philanthropy, providing scholarship support to Auburn University since the late ’60s, while also providing active scholarship programs at Georgia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina State, Vanderbilt and the University of Rhode Island. Gavin is a Life Member of the Auburn Alumni Association. He and his wife, Marjorie, live in Wartrace, Tenn.
In His Words
“It’s hard to put into words what Auburn means to me; Auburn is a life-changer for me. I think our dedication to the things that we’ve done speaks more than what I can put into words. The award itself, it’s an outstanding program— to be included in that small slice is almost like they made a mistake, like I don’t belong there. It’s a terrific honor, the highest honor of my life. It’s a very humbling experience.”