Previous Lifetime Achievement Award Winners


2020 Recipients

Bill Barrick-circle headshot for LAA

William E. Barrick ’68
William E. Barrick ’68 was a first lieutenant in the Army, earning a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Vietnam.

Jere Beasley -circle headshot for LAA

Jere Locke Beasley, Sr. ’59
Jere Locke Beasley, Sr. ’59 is the founding member of Beasley Allen Law Firm and has practiced law as an advocate for victims of wrongdoing since 1962.

JoeForehand-circle headshot for LAA

Joe W. Forehand, Jr. ’71
Joe W. Forehand, Jr. ’71 served as chairman and CEO of Accenture, where he led the company through a split and a major global rebranding campaign.

Octavia-circle headshot for LAA

Octavia Spencer ’94
Octavia Spencer ’94 had her breakthrough when she starred as Minny Jackson in the period film “The Help”.

Continue reading about past recipient winners


Jeff Stone class of 1979

Jeff Stone is executive vice president of Brasfield & Gorrie and serves on the board of directors for the United Way of Central Alabama where he is serving as chairman of the 2019 annual campaign.

Following graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, Stone began his career as a general contractor with Brasfield & Gorrie where he rose through the ranks to the position he holds today.  He served as chairman of the Auburn University Foundation as well as the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council and is a member of the Engineering Keystone Society.  He received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in Civil Engineering in 2005, the Distinguished Auburn Engineer Award in 2012 and was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2015, he was awarded the Mervyn H. Stern Award by the United Way Tocqueville Society. Stone currently sits on the boards of Children’s Harbor, Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation, and serves as captain of the Monday Morning Quarterback Club of Birmingham.  He is a past chairman of the Samford University’s Board of Overseers and is a member of the Birmingham Southern College Norton Board.  He is a former president of the Sunrise Rotary Club and is a current board member of the Downtown Rotary Club of Birmingham.  He is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama and is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Dick Ingwersen class of 1970

Dick Ingwersen is the founder of Atlanta-based certified public accounting firm of Gifford, Hillegass and Ingwersen (GH&I) and co-founder of Ingwersen & Taylor law firm.

He graduated the Harbert College of Business with a bachelor’s in business management and later earned  his juris doctor degree from Emory University Law School. Under his leadership, Gifford, Hillegass and Ingwersen became one of the top local certified public accounting firms in Atlanta. He was instrumental in completing a merger with Warren Averett, LLC, the fifth largest accounting firm in the Southeast.

Ingwersen was the recipient of the School of Accountancy’s 2008 Outstanding Alumnus award. He formerly served on the board of directors for the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta, where he was named Volunteer of the Year three times, and served on the advisory council for the AU School of Accountancy until 2018.

A former defensive end for the Auburn Tigers under Shug Jordan in the late 1960s, Ingwersen received the Walter Gilbert Award in 2016, an award recognizing former athletes who distinguished themselves after graduation.

Thom Gossom class of 1975

Thom Gossom is an actor, writer, speaker and communications consultant who helped desegregate Auburn football and later became Auburn University’s first African-American athlete to graduate. Gossom played wide receiver for the Auburn Tigers (1972-74) and earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication.

Following graduation, he began a lengthy acting career in film and television, appearing in movies like Fight Club, Jeepers Creepers 2 and Miss Ever’s Boys and television shows like The Quad, Love Is…, CSI, Boston Legal and In the Heat Of The Night. He is also featured in the HBO special, Breaking the Huddle, about the integration of Southern College Football. In 2008, he published his memoir, Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University and Slice Of Life, a collection of short stories in 2015.

Gossom and his wife, joyce, are owners of Best Gurl, inc. a unique multi-platform company committed to all forms of effective communication.  Gossom has served as the chair of the Auburn University Foundation Board and currently serves as a director on the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Neil O. Davis class of 1935

Neil O. Davis was a longtime newspaper editor in Auburn, known for his editorials calling for acceptance of desegregation, increased support for public education and policies that helped the poor. During the civil rights era of the 1950s and 60s, Davis stood out in Alabama for his consistent stands during a time when emotions were often high, demagoguery flourished and violence sometimes resulted. His newspapers won numerous state and national awards, including three on the national level for best editorials. He came to Auburn from his native Hartford in 1931 and was editor of the student newspaper, the Auburn Plainsman, his senior year. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in science and literature and following graduation, founded the Lee County Bulletin (later the Auburn Bulletin) in 1937 at the age of 22. In 1941, he became the first weekly newspaperman to receive a Nieman fellowship at Harvard University. Davis remained editor and publisher of the Bulletin until he sold the paper in 1975. He also owned the Tuskegee News from 1964-75 and was its editor and publisher.

In the late 1970s, Davis was an adjunct professor of journalism at AU. He was a founding member of the local Presbyterian Community Ministry, which supports low-income housing and a member of President Lyndon Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Rural Poverty. His honors include selection to the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor and the University of Alabama Communication Hall of Fame. Davis remained an Auburn resident until his death in 2000. He was a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Charles E. Gavin III class of 1959

Charles E. Gavin III, 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. Gavin and his wife, Marjorie, live in Wartrace, Tenn.

Keith King class of 1958

Keith King, a civil engineering graduate, joined Volkert, Inc. as a project engineer in 1960 after being hired by chairman David G. Volkert. As an accomplished professional engineer licensed in eight states, King obtained national recognition for many of the projects he has engineered and managed, such as the Interstate 10 Twin Bridges over Mobile Bay, which was named one of the Ten Outstanding Engineering Achievements of 1978 by the National Society of Professional Engineers. Keith served as president of Volkert from 1983 until 2007 and CEO until his retirement in 2012 after 52 years of service.

King worked hard to improve the areas of licensure, continuing professional development, ethical standards and professionalism through two terms as Chairman of the Alabama Licensure Board for the Business Council of Alabama; as President of the Alabama Society of Professional Engineers; as Vice President-Southeast for the National Society of Professional Engineers; and as a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and NSPE. King was named as a Distinguished Auburn Engineer by the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council in 1990 and was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2002. King is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association. He and his wife, Julia, live in Mobile.

Melanie Barstad, class of 1975

Melanie Barstad, a graduate in English, served as President, Women’s Health, and Co-Chair of Johnson & Johnson’s award-winning global Women’s Leadership Initiative, prior to her retirement in 2009 after a 23-year career with the company. Her roles with J&J included President, Acute Care for Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc. and as General manager and director of marketing for the Vascular Access area of Johnson & Johnson Ethicon Endo Surgery.

Ms. Barstad currently serves on the CINTAS Board of Directors where she is on both the Nominating and Governance Committee and Compensation Committee. She has volunteered as a Blue & Gold Officer for the U.S. Naval Academy, was honored in AGENDA Compensation 100 and listed in Europe’s Global Board Ready Women’s Initiative. She also was co-chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care and was a former board member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) Foundation, JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Committee and Muhlenberg hospital.

She recently served on the Auburn University Foundation Board as a member of the Investment and Admin and Finance Committee and is past chair of the Directorship Committee. She was the founding president of Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts’ Women’s Leadership Institute’s Advisory Council, and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Liberal Arts and a Life Member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

She lives with husband, Paul, in Westlake, Texas.

Charles Barkley, class of 1986

Charles Barkley, a health and physical education major, established himself during three years playing basketball for Auburn as one of the most dominant players in the sport. Taken fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1984 NBA draft, Barkley quickly emerged as one of the league’s most exciting players in the league to watch. Barkley joined the Phoenix Suns in 1992, the same year he won a gold medal at the Barcelona Summer Olympics as part of the original USA “Dream Team.” He would earn another gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics before retiring from the NBA in 2000 with the Houston Rockets.

Voted one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history, Barkley was the 1993 season MVP, an 11-time NBA All-Star, a five-time All-NBA First Team selection and one of only five players in NBA history with 23,000 points, 12,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists. Auburn University, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns have all retired his #34 jersey. In the years following his retirement, Barkley has co-hosted TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” earning sports Emmy awards in 2012, 2013 and 2017 for “Outstanding Sports Personality.” He has authored four books, amassed numerous film and television credits and is a household name thanks to his quick wit and outspoken personality. The Charles Barkley Foundation, founded in 1995, has provided endowed scholarships to Auburn, Alabama A&M, Morehouse College and Clark-Atlanta University.

He and his wife, Maureen, reside in Trussville.

Nelda Lee class of 1969

Nelda Lee is a pioneer in women’s aviation, responsible for flight and ground test engineering for the four military aircraft manufactured by Boeing, including the F-15 Eagle, AV-8 Harrier, T-45 Goshawk and F/A-18 Hornet.

A highlight of her 44-year career with McDonnell Douglas was being the first woman to log 1.5 hours of flight time in the F-15 Eagle. In addition to her career with Boeing, Lee also enjoys aviation in her free time and is a licensed commercial pilot with instrument, multi-engine and helicopter ratings. She previously served as international president of Whirly-Girls Inc. and was recipient of the 10th annual Doris Mullen Whirly-Girls Scholarship Lee is charter member No. 15 of Women in Aviation International and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors. She was inducted into the International Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2004, received the Whirly-Girls Livingston Award in 2001 and was awarded the 2010 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association. Lee currently lives in Ballwin, Mo.

Dwight Wiggins class of 1962

Dwight Wiggins served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1967-1993, during which time he held numerous professional and managerial assignments with ExxonMobil.

In 1993, he joined Tosco Corp. as president of Bayway Refining, affecting an intense overhaul that boosted productivity and allowed the
company to present employees with year-end bonuses for the first time. In 1996 Wiggins became president of Tosco Refining Co. and executive vice president of Tosco Corp. By his retirement in 2001, his responsibilities had expanded to include refining and distribution facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Illinois, California and Washington. Since his retirement, Wiggins has been involved with several financial ventures, including residential construction in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Dwight L. Wiggins Mechanical Engineering Hall was dedicated at Auburn University in April 2012 in memory of Wiggins’ father. Wiggins graduated from Auburn in 1962 before returning to earn a master’s degree in mechanical  engineering in 1967.

Patrick “Pat” Fain Dye

Pat Dye was the head football coach at Auburn from 1981-1992, building the football program into a power in the Southeastern Conference. He was instrumental in moving the Iron Bowl to Auburn every other year, and in 1989 led the first victory against rival Alabama hosted on Auburn’s campus. A two-time All-American football player at the University of Georgia, Dye also spent nine years as assistant coach at the University of Alabama under Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and six years as head coach at East Carolina University.

During his Auburn coaching career, Dye amassed a record of 99-39-4, following only coaches Mike Donahue and Ralph Jordan for the most wins in school history. He received SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1983, 1987 and 1988. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Dye currently works at Auburn as a special advisor to the president, lives on his farm in Notasulga and hosts a weekly radio show, “The Coach Pat Dye Show.”

Navy Admiral Mike S. Rogers class of 1981

After a career in the military spanning more than 35 years, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike S. Rogers currently serves as director of the National Security Agency, commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and chief of the Central Security Service.
He has worked in cryptology and signals intelligence, recently helping write the Navy’s strategy for cyber warfare and “information dominance” in the Internet age. As the director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2009-2011, he regularly briefed the top leaders of the armed forces and the civilians who run the U.S. Department of Defense.
Rogers assumed his present duties in March 2014.

He was the cover story for the Fall 2016 issue of Auburn Magazine, interviewed by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ronald Burgess ’74.

He and his wife, Dana, live in Fort George G. Meade, Md.

Jane B. Moore

Jane B. Moore made significant professional contributions to Auburn University over a 28-year career on the faculty of the College of Education and the Department of Health and Human Performance (now the School of Kinesiology). Her service to Auburn has been recognized with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Pamela Wells Sheffield Award, which recognizes Auburn women exemplifying grace, character and a community-minded spirit. Moore collaborated with other researchers within Auburn University’s Motor Behavior Laboratory, making scholarly contributions to advance the understanding about how children move and learn to move. She was the first woman to serve on the Auburn University Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. In 2003, she became the first woman at Auburn to have an athletic facility named solely in her honor when the Auburn Softball Complex was renamed Jane B. Moore Field in recognition of her dedication and service to athletics at Auburn University. Active in community service, Moore is an annual member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Edward Lee “Ed Lee” Spencer Class of 1952

Ed Lee Spencer was the first Fulbright Scholarship recipient from Auburn University. After completing his studies, he worked at Spencer Lumber Co., then expanded his interest in construction by establishing Lee Electrical Supply, Spencer Heating and Air and Auburn Millwork. In 1975, Spencer joined AuburnBank’s Board of Directors and, in 1985, became chairman of the board. In 1990, he was named president and CEO of AuburnBank and currently is again serving as chairman of the board. Under his leadership, the bank added branches in other cities in Alabama and moved from $25 million in total assets to more than $668 million by the end of 2007. In 1991, U.S. Banker magazine named AuburnBank among the nation’s top 200 community banks, the only bank in Alabama to receive this recognition. In 2011, Spencer was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame. Active in community service, where he has been a longtime advocate of affordable housing for moderate-income families, Spencer and his wife, the former Ruth Priester, have three grown children. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.


Col. James Shelton “Jim” Voss Class of 1972

Jim Voss went to work at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 1984 and was selected as an astronaut in 1987, training for space shuttle flights as well as training in Russia as a backup crew member to the Mir Space Station. Beginning in 1991, Voss began 10 years of shuttle space flights, including 163 days as a member of the Expedition 2 crew on the International Space Station. Since his retirement from NASA in 2003, Voss has been a professor and associate dean of engineering at Auburn, vice president for space exploration systems at the Transformational Space Corp., vice president of engineering for SpaceDev and director of advanced programs at Sierra Nevada Corp. In 2009, Voss joined the faculty of the University of Colorado as a full-time Scholar in Residence. He was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001. Voss is married to the former Suzan Curry ’71, a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council in the Auburn College of Science and Mathematics. The couple has one daughter. Jim and Suzan Voss are joint life members of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Walter Stanley “Walt” Woltosz Class of 1969

Walt Woltosz developed his first augmentative communication system for persons with severe communication disabilities after his mother-in-law was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). That first iteration, which is still on display at the Smithsonian Institute two decades later, led him in 1981 to establish Words+, a company that offered many firsts for communication needs for the severely disabled. Renowned astrophysicist Sir Stephen Hawking wrote “A Brief History of Time” using Woltosz’s technology in 1988. In the late 1990s, Woltosz turned his inventor’s eye to the development of simulation and modeling software for drug discovery and development, and today his products are used by the world’s top 15 pharmaceutical firms to analyze new products. Woltosz serves on the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, is chairman of the council’s research committee, serves on the Auburn University Foundation Board and funded the Woltosz Engineering Research Laboratory in the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology. Woltosz and his wife, Virginia, have homes in Auburn and in California. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Sam Ginn Class of 1959

Auburn University Bachelor of Science, Industrial Management; Master of Business Administration, Stanford University (1969); Honorary D.S., Auburn University (1998)

Sam Ginn has more than 42 years of experience in the telecommunications industry. After graduating from Auburn in 1959 with a degree in industrial management, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Ginn began his career in 1960 with AT&T as a student engineer. His early years at AT&T led him to increasing responsibilities in sales, engineering and operations. Ginn was transferred to California in a time of upheaval in telecommunications. Out of that upheaval came the creation of the wireless industry, where Ginn became founder, chair and CEO of AirTouch Communications, which later merged with Vodafone to become the world’s largest wireless communications company. Since the merger, Ginn has been active in charitable boards, startup companies and is chairman of the Ginn Family Foundation. In addition, Ginn made a gift of $25 million to Auburn University to establish an undergraduate degree program in wireless engineering, the first accredited wireless engineering degree program in the country. This accreditation was received because Ginn assembled an advisory board composed of executives from most of the major telecommunications companies who helped provide direction when the program was being developed and who continue to be involved in guiding the program and helping to insure the curriculum remains on the cutting edge. The College of Engineering is now the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering in his honor. In addition to his major contributions to the wireless engineering program, Ginn co-chaired Auburn’s last major fundraising campaign, during which the university raised $609 million, the largest campaign amount in the school’s history. In 2012, Ginn was appointed as the first chairman of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), an organization designated by congress to build a nationwide mobile broadband network for first responders. In 1992, Ginn was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and just this year, he was named to the Wireless Hall of Fame Class of 2014 by the Wireless History Foundation (WHF). Ginn was given engineering’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2004 and he has served on the board of trustees for the university. Ginn and his wife, Ann, reside in Hillsborough, Calif., and they have three children and six grandchildren. Sam is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Melissa Brown Herkt Class of 1977

Auburn University Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering

Melissa Herkt entered the male-dominated field of engineering in 1977 and quickly began breaking the barriers to help pave the way for women in civil engineering. She was the first female co-op student and worked for Alabama Power for three quarters. Following graduation from Auburn, she was hired by Exxon, where she became the first female engineer posted overseas. In that post, she was a construction engineer on a $30 million project in Denmark. This post led her to head up several billion-dollar operations in both North and South America. She was then appointed as the first female construction manager for Exxon, where she led a $300 million refinery expansion in France and a $400 million project in the UK and Denmark. Herkt has spent a great deal of her career rising in the ranks and breaking new boundaries. She served as president of Process Systems and Solutions – Americas, a division of Emerson Process Management, one of the largest and most respected engineering companies in the world. Herkt was responsible for a half-dozen vital industries approaching $900 million in annual revenue. She oversaw 4,000 employees and provided cutting-edge process-improvement solutions. Honors include induction into the National Academy of Construction in 2009 and the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2008. Herkt continues to provide for students at Auburn University through the Melissa Brown Herkt Endowment for scholarships in civil engineering. She also is actively involved with engineering student outreach and has traveled with student teams to Bolivia twice. Herkt is part of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, which assesses and reviews processes used in each engineering department, and contributions through that committee have significantly strengthened the college’s academic programs. Herkt received the Construction Industry Institute’s 2004 Outstanding Implementer Award; she serves on the CII executive committee and is the past director of Mascaro Sustainability Institute, promoting green construction. She has received outstanding alumni awards from Gadsden State, Auburn University and the Chancellor of Alabama’s college system. In 2014, she was selected to serve on the AU Foundation Board. Herkt resides in Round Rock, Texas. She is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

David Housel Class of 1969

Auburn University Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

David Housel graduated from Auburn University in 1969 with a BA degree in journalism from the College of Liberal Arts. After working for the athletic ticket office from 1970-1972, he was an instructor in the journalism department and advisor to the Auburn Plainsman from 1972 until 1980. He then rejoined the athletic staff as assistant sports information director, and went on to become sports information director in 1981 and assistant athletic director for the university in 1985. Housel became Auburn’s 13th Director of Athletics in April of 1994, and set standards to evaluate and measure the department’s competitive success, fiscal responsibility, rules compliance, and academic success of student-athletes during his 10-year tenure. Under his leadership, the Tigers won eight national titles, 38 SEC titles and added softball and equestrian to the sports roster at the university. Student-athletes during his tenure posted their highest graduation rates in school history and a number of athletic facility improvements were added to campus, including the construction of Samford Stadium at Plainsman Park, Jane B. Moore Field, the Lovelace Museum, the McWhorter Center for Women’s Athletics, and the Tatum Strength and Conditioning Center. Housel was named director of athletics emeritus upon his retirement from the director position in 2005. During his career, he has served as president of the SEC Sports Information Directors, chair of both the NCAA public relations and communications committees, a member of both the NCAA Championships Cabinet and Executive Committee of the Southeastern Conference and worked 18 consecutive Final Four tournaments at the request of the NCAA. Along with his positions in committees in the NCAA and SEC, Housel also served as chair of the dean’s council for Auburn University’s College of Liberal Arts. For his significant contributions to the field of sports communication, Housel has been awarded membership in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame and has received distinguished service awards from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and the Alabama chapter of the National Football Hall of Fame. He is an honorary member of the Auburn Football Letterman’s Club and University Singers and received the Coach Jack Meagher Award at Auburn in 2011 for making significant contributions to society through athletics. In addition to these awards, in 2005, the press box in Jordan-Hare Stadium was officially named the David E. Housel Press Box. Housel has authored five books, including Saturdays to Remember (1973), Auburn University Football Vault (2007) and his 2014 publication, Auburn University Flashback: The History of the Tigers. Housel and his wife, Susan ’73, live in Auburn. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Mike Warren Class of 1968

Auburn University Bachelor of Arts, History; J.D., Duke University (1971); J.D., Birmingham Southern University (2003)

After graduating from Auburn and attending law school at Duke University, Mike Warren began his career practicing law with the Birmingham firm of Bradley, Arant, Rose & White for 12 years before joining Alabama Gas in 1983. Warren became president of Alagasco in 1984 and was named president and CEO of Energen in 1997, and chair in 1998. Under Warren’s leadership, Alagasco was named one of the 100 best companies to work for in America in the book by the same name and the Fortune magazine annual listing for two years. In 2001, Warren was named Alabama CEO of the year by The Birmingham News and in 2008, he was named president and CEO of Children’s of Alabama, the state’s only free-standing pediatric medical facility. Warren has been involved in many state and local efforts and served as chair of the Business Council of Alabama, the United Way, Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. He has also chaired the Metropolitan Development Board, the Alabama Symphony and his area American Heart Association. He has had a pivotal role in helping with the establishment of and fundraising for the Provost Leadership Undergraduate Scholarship Program (PLUS) at Auburn, a program that provides scholarships to deserving minority students. He and his family have established the William Michael Warren Endowed Undergraduate Student Leadership Awards in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Animal Sciences to honor his father, a longtime faculty member, and to support animal sciences students who demonstrate both academic excellence and leadership. In 2012, the Greater Birmingham Auburn Club awarded Warren the title of Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and just recently, Warren was selected as Birmingham’s Game Changer at The Vulcans, given by the Vulcan Park & Museum. Warren and his wife, Anne, live in Birmingham and have three children. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Tim Cook Class of 1982

Auburn University Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering; Master of Science from Duke University in Business Administration (1988)

Tim Cook has become one of the most recognizable names in the business world over the past two years when he succeeded Steve Jobs in the role of CEO of Apple, Inc. Cook served as the chief operating officer of Apple from October 14, 2005 to August 24, 2011, and served as head of its Macintosh Division, where he played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships. He served as executive vice president of Worldwide Sales and Operations of Apple Computer Inc. from 2002 to 2005. He joined Apple in 1998 as senior vice president of worldwide operations. Prior to that, he served as vice president of corporate materials at Compaq Computer Corporation (‘Compaq’) from 1997 to 1998 and was responsible for procuring and managing its product inventory. Prior to his work at Compaq Computer Corporation, Cook served as chief operating officer of the reseller division of Intelligent Electronics. He also spent 12 years with IBM as Director of North American Fulfillment, where he led manufacturing and distribution functions for IBM’s personal computer company in North and Latin America. Mr. Cook has been director of Apple Inc. since August 24, 2011. He has been an independent director of Nike Inc. since November 2005.

Cook remains involved with the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. He is the founding chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering’s Alumni Council, founded the ISE Endowed Fund for Excellence, founded the Tim Cook Leadership Scholarship, arranged for trials of Apple products for the ISE department to use and evaluate, established the Tim Cook Endowed Professorship, and was selected as the distinguished Auburn Engineer and Outstanding ISE Alumnus of 2000. Cook also took time to give the 2010 commencement address for all Auburn graduates. Cook remains a high profile figure within technology and business circuits across the globe. He continues to promote technical excellence, progressiveness in human welfare, and innovativeness in environmentally friendly manufacturing, while maintaining the core values set forth within the Auburn Creed.

John Brown Class of 1957

Auburn University Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering; J.D., Freed-Hardeman University (1999)

John Brown became chairman emeritus of Stryker Corp. in January 2010, after a 32-year career as president and chief executive of the medical equipment maker. He joined Stryker as chief executive after the founder’s son, Lee, died in a plane crash in 1976. Brown transformed the company from a $17 million hospital bed producer into one of the world’s leading medical technology companies with $8.7 billion in revenue in 2012. The company makes joint replacements, software and surgical cameras. Shares are up almost 20 percent on news of an acquisition in China and other growth prospects.

In 2011, he and his wife, Rosemary, pledged $10 million to Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in memory of a college friend and longtime faculty member. Brown contributes to the community by promoting higher education to youth through Junior Achievement, an organization that teaches American youth about capitalism and free enterprise. He and his wife annually support more than a dozen Auburn students through the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, COSAM and the College of Veterinary Medicine. An endowed eminent scholar chair in chemical engineering funded by Brown has expanded the department’s capabilities to advance teaching and research in biomedical engineering. Brown’s success can be documented as the main subject of author Jim Collins’ book, Great By Choice: Uncertainty Chaos and luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. Brown and his wife, Rosemary Kopel Brown ’57 live in Portage, Michigan.”

Larry D. Benefield Class of 1966

Auburn University Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (1972); Ph.D. Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1975)

Larry D. Benefield is internationally recognized for his research in biological treatment processes; however, he is equally well-known for his commitment to furthering and enhancing engineering education. In 2012, Benefield retired after a distinguished career of more than three decades at Auburn University. He joined the institution as a faculty member and retired as dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. Benefield earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University and then spent four years as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force where he was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Vietnam.

Benefield joined Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering as an associate professor of civil engineering in 1979. In 1998, Benefield was named interim dean and was appointed dean in 2000. As dean, Benefield led the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering to significant advances, attracting the attention of peer institutions and moving Auburn engineering to the highest rankings in its history. Under his leadership, the college successfully completed a $154-million facility enhancement program and launched the nation’s first undergraduate degree in wireless engineering. He oversaw the opening of Auburn’s MRI center and played a pivotal role in the launch of the Auburn University Huntsville Research Center.

Benefield has an international reputation for his research and applications work in biological treatment processes and, in particular, biological nutrient removal. He has served as the principal author of three highly regarded texts in the environmental engineering field and has published 41 referred publications as well as 77 other publications and technical presentations. Benefield holds professional engineering licenses in Virginia, Alabama and Colorado. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Alabama’s Engineering Hall of Fame and a board member and vice chair of the National Center for Asphalt Technology. Benefield was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2013. Benefield and his wife, Mary, reside in Auburn.

Pat Sullivan Class of 1968

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Pat Sullivan was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Tigers (1969-71) and in 1971, was named the Heisman Trophy winner, Auburn’s first and the first winner from a school coached by John Heisman, for whom the trophy is named. He was named an All-American and the SEC Player of the Year in both 1970 and 1971. Following his senior season, Sullivan was named the MVP of the 1972 Senior Bowl and he played in the College All-Star Classic, taking on the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys. Sullivan played professional football for five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. Sullivan is a member of six Halls of Fame: Senior Bowl, Gator Bowl., Sugar Bowl, Alabama Sports, National Football and National High School.

He has sustained a 27 year coaching career with stops at Auburn University, Texas Christian University and UAB respectively. Currently, Sullivan is the 35th head football coach at Samford University where he has revived a lingering program. Sullivan is an active member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Community Leader’s Board and devotes time to the American Cancer Society to promote the dangers of tobacco use to high school and college athletes stemming from his personal experience with carcinoma. He and his wife, Jean, reside in Birmingham.

Daniel D. Bennett Class of 1968

Retired Auburn University dean Dan Bennett, who led Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction from 2000 to 2010, is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and in 2011 was named one of 25 “Most Admired Educators” nationwide—a distinction drawn from more than 1,000 faculty from accredited programs in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and industrial design—by DesignIntelligence, the bimonthly publication of the Design Futures Council. He also has been inducted into the Alabama Associated General Contractors Construction Hall of Fame and has served as president of the Alabama Architectural Foundation and Alabama Historical Commission. A life member of the Auburn Alumni Association, he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn and a master’s degree in urban design from Rice University in 1974. Bennett and wife Joan Haley Bennett live in Auburn.

Ronald L. Burgess Jr. Class of 1974

After graduating from Auburn’s ROTC program in 1974, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr. earned a master’s degree from the University of Southern California and attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. A military intelligence professional, Burgess was appointed by President George W. Bush as the 17th director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2008, where he commanded the Joint Functional Component Command for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. He has earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, Joint Service Commendation Medal and U.S. Special Operations Command Medal. A life member of the Auburn Alumni Association, Burgess and wife Marta Jordan Burgess ’75, live in Ft. Myer, Va.

Clifford LeRoy Hare Class of 1891

The late Clifford LeRoy Hare, a longtime chemistry professor and dean at Auburn University (then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute) earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn in 1891 and 1892, respectively, and subsequently completed postgraduate work at the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. His involvement on the Auburn faculty spanned academics, athletics and policymaking, but he was specifically concerned with student development. He helped form a collegiate athletics oversight organization dubbed the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which set standards and eligibility requirements for student athletes, and served as the first president of the Southern Athletic Conference, which later became the Southeastern Conference. Hare also served as mayor of the city of Auburn and worked to establish a medical clinic in the town. Auburn’s original football stadium was named in his honor. Hare died in 1949.

Sally Jones Hill Class of 1963

As an Auburn student, retired business executive Sally Jones Hill served as vice president of Chi Omega sorority, and vice president and president of the Women’s Student Government Association. She also held other leadership and volunteer positions, and received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award during her senior year. After graduation, she accepted a position as personnel director for Yorklyn, Del.-based National Vulcanized Fiber and worked 16 years for Products Sales Associates, progressing through the ranks to vice president prior to retiring. A life member of the Auburn Alumni Association, Hill has served on the Auburn Alumni Association board and the Auburn University College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, and now serves on the College of Human Sciences International Board of Advisors. She is a former president of the College of Human Sciences’ Women’s Philanthropy Board and served as the first female president of the Auburn University Foundation from 2004-06. Hill also is the only woman to have served as president of Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. She and husband Jim Hill ’64 live in Coconut Grove, Fla.

Lloyd James Austin III Class of 1986

U.S. Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III commands U.S. ground forces in Iraq and recently was nominated by President Barack Obama to serve as the Army’s next vice chief of staff, its second-highest uniformed position. Commissioned as an infantry second lieutenant in 1975 upon graduating from the U.S. Military Academy, he also earned master’sdegrees in counselor education from Auburn and in business management from Webster University. After serving in various military positions for more than two decades, Austin was assigned in 1999 as chief of the Joint Operations Division on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and, in 2003, was responsible for maneuvering the 3rd Infantry Division as spearhead of the operation to liberate Iraq. He was awarded a Silver Star, promoted to major general and served as commander of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. As a lieutenant general, he became the first African-American to lead a corps in combat, assuming command of the 18th Airborne in 2006 and deploying to Iraq in 2008. Upon U.S. Senate confirmation in June 2010, Austin became the Army’s 200th four-star general and sixth African-American Army general.

James E. Livingston Class of 1962

Upon graduating from Auburn with a degree in civil engineering in 1962, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Everett Livingston was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marines and served as a commanding officer in Vietnam, earning the U.S.’ highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor—the only Auburn graduate ever so recognized. After a second tour in Vietnam, he served as an instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School and returned to Vietnam in 1975 as operations officer for the evacuation of Saigon. He continued his Marines service in London and Parris Island, S.C., earning a master’s degree in management from Webster University in 1984. After a tour with the Joint U.S. Assistance Group in the Philippines, he advanced to brigadier general. Livingston commanded the Marine Air Ground Combat Center and developed the Desert Warfare Training Program during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1991 he assumed command of the 4th Marine Division after being advanced to major general and subsequently led the Marine Forces Reserve. Livingston was a founding trustee and former chairman of The National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Kirby Isaac Bland Class of 1964

Surgeon, oncologist and researcher Kirby Bland received his undergraduate degree from Auburn in 1964 and graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in 1968. After a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, he served as a research associate and surgical oncology fellow at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and associate professor of surgery at the University of Louisville. Bland joined the University of Florida faculty in 1983 and went on to successfully complete various trials in the therapy of breast and colorectal carcinoma. He served as principal investigator for the National Cancer Institute research training program for surgical oncology and subsequently accepted a professorship and chairmanship at Brown University in 1993. He returned to UAB in 1999 as Fay Fletcher Kerner professor, chair of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief at University Hospital and The Kirklin Clinic. He serves as director of general surgery and, until 2009, served as deputy director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, followed by an appointment as senior adviser. Bland is immediate past president of the American Surgical Association.

N. Jan Davis Class of 1977

Astronaut and aerospace engineer Jan Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn, a bachelor’s degree in applied biology in biomechanics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. After supporting several major NASA programs as an aerospace engineer, she became a team leader and lead engineer for the redesign of the Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster External Tank attach ring in 1986 and, a year later, was selected to join NASA’s astronaut corps. Davis spent more than 670 hours in space on three shuttle flights and received the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Service from President George W. Bush. She subsequently served as director of NASA’s Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate, pioneering changes following the fatal Columbia flight in 2003. She now serves as vice president and deputy general manager for Jacobs Engineering, Science and Technical Services Group in Huntsville. Davis is a former member of the Auburn Alumni Association board of directors and serves on Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Alumni Advisory Council.

Dr. Neil E. Christopher ’55
Rear Adm. Thomas K.“TK” Mattingly ’58
Gen. Forrest S. McCartney ’52
Mr. Wayne T. Smith ’68

Dr. Neil. Christopher Class of 1955

Dr. Neil Christopher graduated with honors from Auburn in 1955 and received his medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1958. A U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War and a Bronze Star recipient for meritorious service, he is a family physician in Guntersville.

“Medicine runs deep in my family,” Christopher says. “My grandfather was a rural family doctor in Choctaw County, my brother is a family doctor in Guin and both of my sons are doctors. Being from a rural community, I always knew I would go into rural medicine.”

Christopher helped lobby for state legislation that established the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board in 1990 and served as the organization’s first chairman. Its goal: Find ways to increase the number of family doctors serving rural areas of the state.

“I grew more and more concerned with the lack of medical school students going into family medicine,” Christopher says. “Now, after years of hard work by many of us in the medical field, 20 slots are reserved at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine for students going into rural family medicine, with many of those carrying scholarships. It’s been a huge boost for family medicine over the years. Both Auburn University and the University of Alabama have undergraduate programs for rural medicine.”

Christopher served on the Auburn Alumni Association board of directors from 2004 to 2008 and two years ago was inducted into the Alabama Health Care Hall of Fame

Ken Mattingly Class of 1958

A Chicago native, astronaut Thomas Kenneth “T.K.” Mattingly of Arlington, Va., attended Auburn on a U.S. Navy ROTC scholarship and completed his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in 1958. Afterward, he entered the Navy and in 1966 enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. NASA selected him as one of 19 astronauts constituting the fifth astronaut class, known as the “Original 19.”

Mattingly played key roles in NASA’s Apollo program, which birthed the first manned moon landing, and originally was scheduled to serve as command-module pilot for the 1970 Apollo 13 mission but stayed behind due to his exposure to German measles. Mattingly ultimately became a key member of the flight’s ground crew, helping return the spaceship to safety after an in-flight explosion. The incident was detailed in the 1995 film “Apollo 13” starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon and Gary Sinise, who portrayed Mattingly.

Mattingly’s first space flight came in 1972 as the command-module pilot aboard Apollo 16. He was also appointed backup commander for the space shuttle Columbia’s second and third orbital test flights and served as spacecraft commander on the shuttle’s fourth and final test flight. After reaching the rank of rear admiral, Mattingly retired from the Navy in 1989 and held executive positions at several aerospace engineering companies. He is a recipient of NASA’s Ambassador of Exploration Award and a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Forrest McCartney  Class of 1952

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Forrest S. McCartney of Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., earned a degree in electrical engineering from Auburn in 1952 and immediately entered active military duty. He received a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1955 and was part of the team that helped return the U.S. to manned space shuttle flight following the 1986 Challenger explosion, which killed seven crew members. NASA hired McCartney the following year as director of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“After the Challenger tragedy, I let NASA know I wanted to be a part of the recovery of the space program,” recalls McCartney, who has served as an engineer and administrator in various positions throughout his military career. “I love building and working with a team through a challenge, and we assembled the personnel to do that.”

NASA waited nearly three years before launching its next space shuttle flight, the Discovery, in September 1988 with a crew of five. “Of course, we were all anxious,” McCartney says. “However, I had a very competent team and, though we were all apprehensive, we were also very excited and extremely confident that we had done what we needed to do for a successful mission.”

McCartney retired from NASA in 1992 after 18 more space flights and is a member of the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Wayne T. Smith Class of 1968

A Birmingham native, Wayne T. Smith of Nashville, Tenn., earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Auburn in 1968 and 1969. His plan to pursue a career in education changed after he received a direct commission into the U.S. Army, where he served in military hospitals and pursued a master’s degree in health care administration at Trinity University. By the time he was discharged from the Army as a captain in 1973, he’d decided to spend the rest of his life in the health care industry.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Smith says. “I’ve had the remarkable privilege to see firsthand how quality health care improves individual lives and entire communities.”

A former president of Humana Inc., Smith now serves as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Community Health Systems Inc., the largest publicly traded hospital company in the U.S. The company operates more than 125 hospitals in 29 states. Modern Healthcare magazine has named Smith one of the industry’s “100 Most Powerful People” for the past nine years, and Institutional Investor has pegged him as the top health care CEO since 2007. He serves on the boards of Praxair Inc. and 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc., and previously served on the boards of Almost Family Inc., Citadel Broadcasting Corp., the Nashville Health Care Council and the Federation of American Hospitals.

Robert Kenneth Johns ’57” description=”A Mobile native and former Tigers lineman, Johns retired from Sea-Land Service Inc. and subsequently founded The Hampshire Management Group Inc. An inductee of the International Maritime Hall of Fame, he was the 2006 recipient of Auburn’s Walter Gilbert Award for former athletes who have distinguished themselves through achievements after graduation.


Lanier joined the family insurance business immediately after college and retired as chairman of J. Smith Lanier & Co., one of the oldest and largest independent insurance brokerage firms in the country. Lanier was the first dean’s advisory board chair for the AU College of Human Sciences and is a member of the 1856 Society. He and wife Betty are past recipients of the College of Human Sciences’ International Quality of Life Award.


Born in Albertville, Smith led efforts to design, build, qualify and fly the redesigned solid-rocket motor for NASA following the Challenger accident in 1986. He subsequently served as deputy director and acting director of NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, the federal government’s largest rocket-engine test facility. Upon retirement, Smith directed enterprise strategy and research operations at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, served as president of the Thiokol Corp. in Utah and worked as executive director of the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville.


A native of Montgomery, Thornton began her career as a physicist at the U.S. Army Foreign Science and Technology Center in Charlottesville, Va. She became a NASA astronaut in 1985, flying on the Discovery, the Columbia and twice on the Endeavour. She now serves as associate dean for graduate programs and engineering at the University of Virginia.


Coach Vincent J. Dooley was born on Sept. 4, 1932, in Mobile, Ala. He was an All-Star at Auburn in both basketball and football, playing under Shug Jordan. He earned a bachelor’s in business in 1954 and a master’s in history in 1963. Dooley also served as an assistant football coach for Auburn’s 1957 national championship team. In December 1963, Dooley was named head football coach at the University of Georgia and for the next 25 years, led the Bulldogs to a career record of 201-77-10, becoming only the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win more than 200 games. He retired as head coach in January 1988. Dooley also served as athletics director for 25 years. He is a seven-time SEC Coach of the Year, six-time NCAA District Coach of the Year, and was 1980 NCAA National Coach of the Year. He and his wife, the former Barbara Meshad of Birmingham, live in Athens, Ga.


Born in Birmingham, Ala., on Nov. 21, 1933, Hank Hartsfield Jr. graduated from West End High School and earned his bachelor’s in physics from Auburn in 1954. He earned a master’s in engineering science from the University of Tennessee in 1971. Hartsfield graduated as a fighter pilot from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School in1965 and was eventually assigned to NASA as an astronaut supporting Apollo 16 and the Skylab mission as a capsule communicator, or “capcom.” He retired from the Air Force in 1977, but continued to serve NASA in a civilian capacity. In June 1982, he piloted the fourth and final test flight of Space Shuttle Columbia with fellow Auburn alum Ken Mattingly as commander. In 1984, he served as commander of the maiden voyage of Discovery, and in 1985 commanded the Challenger on the German D-1 Spacelab mission. He retired in 1997 and joined Raytheon in Houston, Texas, until his retirement in April 2005. Hartsfield and his wife, the former Frances Massey of Princeton, N.C., have two daughters and live in Houston.

Oliver Kingsley

A native of Ozark, Ala., Oliver Kingsley attended Auburn under a Navy ROTC scholarship, graduating with honors in 1966 with a bachelor’s in engineering physics. After serving in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine force, Kingsley launched an unparalleled civilian career in nuclear energy. Kingsley is regarded as the nuclear industry’s premier practitioner of operational excellence, specializing in transforming troubled nuclear programs into industry leaders. Throughout his career of managing nuclear-generation organizations (at Southern Company, Middle South Utilities, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Commonwealth Edison and Exelon Corp.), he has proven that, when properly managed, nuclear power is safe, reliable and economically competitive. The capstone of his nuclear-management career was as president and chief operating officer of Exelon Corp., owner of the largest nuclear fleet in the United States. Kingsley has also served as president of the World Association of Nuclear Operators and is currently a member of the boards of McDermott International and FPL Group. He and his wife, Sally, live in Birmingham. They have four children and five grandchildren.

Philip Lett

Born on May 4, 1922, Philip Lett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn, a master’s degree from the University of Alabama and a doctorate from the University of Michigan. Lett is universally acknowledged as the father of the M-1 Abrams main battle tank, viewed by the military community as the most important tank in the history of mechanized warfare. The M1 Abrams, which entered U.S. military service in 1980, is the principal combat tank of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marines, and the armies of Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Lett is also responsible for the development of a wide variety of other mechanized vehicles, such as the T-51 heavy recovery vehicle and the HET-70 heavy transporter. The tanks Lett helped create, which focused not only on defeating the enemy but also on the safety of soldiers, saved countless American lives during the Gulf War and have been credited with directly contributing to a swift American victory.

Emory O. Cunningham joined The Progressive Farmer Co. in Birmingham, Ala., shortly after his 1948 graduation from Auburn. Over the years, he moved through the ranks of the company, from salesman to advertising director to publisher. In 1968, he became president of the company, which became the Southern Progress Corp., and started the successful Southern Living and Cooking Light magazines. Under his leadership, Southern Progress became the largest regional publisher in the world before being acquired by Time Inc., where he served as a senior vice president. Cunningham passed away in 2000; his wife, Jeanne, lives in Birmingham.

Beverley Kearney

Beverly Kearney followed her athletic success at Auburn—including being a two-time All-American and qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team in the 200 meter before her graduation in 1981—into a career as one of the most successful women’s track coaches of all time. Her teams at the University of Texas have won six NCAA titles and 19 conference titles, earning her National Coach of the Year honors four times. Kearney’s accomplishments are all the more inspiring considering she fought her way back from a horrific car accident in 2002 that left her seriously injured. A resident of Austin, Texas, she was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame in December 2007.

Dr. C. Lloyd Nix

Dr. C. Lloyd Nix, a 1959 graduate and quarterback of Auburn’s 1957 national champion football team, has tirelessly served his community for more than 40 years while maintaining a successful dental practice. His involvement in the civic, religious and cultural life of Decatur and Morgan counties include serving as former president of the Morgan County Dental Association, former chairman of the Council on Ministries of Central United Methodist Church, and board member for the Alabama Institute Foundation for the Deaf and Blind. He is a former president of the Auburn Football Letterman’s Club, the Auburn Alumni Association and the Morgan County Auburn Club. He served as former chairman of the Auburn Research Advisory Board and a member of the Auburn Universtiy Foundation. His tireless commitment and love for Auburn is evidenced also through his service on the Auburn University National Campaign Committee and recently as the co-chair for the North Alabama regional campaign. He and his wife, Sandy, live in Decatur.”


James Taylor Pursell Sr. followed his 1952 Auburn graduation and military service by joining his father-in-law in the fertilizer business. He expanded the scope of the business, which became Pursell Technologies Inc., watching the company grow to become one of the largest manufacturers of controlled-release fertilizers in the world. Pursell’s development of POLYON, a continuous-feed fertilizer not impacted by weather, changed the industry. His most recent challenge has been developing and building an 18-hole golf course featured as the world’s first Research and Demonstration” course. Pursell and his wife, Christine, live in Sylacauga.

C. Harry Knowles ’51

Harry Knowles was born August 15, 1928. After serving two years in the United States Marine Corps, Mr. Knowles received his B.S. in physics from A.P.I. In1953, he earned a master’s degree in physics from Vanderbilt University.

As a student at Auburn, he was very involved on campus. His activities included being editor of the Glomerata and Student Government Association vice president. He was a member of Spades, a Rhodes Scholar nominee, founded AU’s chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma (physics honor society), and a member of the wrestling team under Coach Swede Umbach.

Mr. Knowles founded Metrologic Instruments, Inc. in 1968. In 2002, Metrologic sales were $140 million. Among the products he developed are the following: the first programmable bar code scanner, the first handheld laser scanner and the first mini-slot scanner for supermarkets. He was named Inventor of the Year by the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1995. Mr. Knowles has won numerous other honors and awards.

In 1998, Mr. Knowles and his wife endowed the Howard and Carolyn Carr Chair in Physics at Auburn, in appreciation of Dr. and Mrs. Carr’s influence during his student tenure there. The Janet H. and C. Harry Knowles Science Teaching Foundation was established in 1999 to strengthen the quality of science and mathematics teaching in grades 9-12 in United States schools. Mr. Knowles was featured in the 2000 winter issue of Auburn Magazine.

He and his wife, Janet, live in Moorestown, New Jersey.

Carl E. Mundy, Jr. ’57

Born July 16, 1935 in Atlanta, Georgia, Carl Mundy grew up in North Carolina and graduated from high school in Montgomery, Alabama. He enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve at 18 and attained the rank of sergeant. In 1957 he graduated from Auburn with a degree in business administration and was commissioned second lieutenant.

General Mundy advanced to become commandant of the United States Marine Corps and member of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. As commandant he was responsible to the president and the secretary of defense for military advice on national security matters, to the Secretary of the Navy for command and management of the Marine Corps, and to the Congress for the well being and preservation of the Corps, including preparation and execution of an annual budget of $13 billion. For his military service, he is the recipient of seventeen personal decorations and ten unit and general service awards. Following his retirement in 1995, he served four years as president and chief executive officer of worldwide USO operations. Currently he is director of the General Dynamics and Schering-Plough corporations; a member of the Advisory Council to the Comptroller General of the United States and to the National Navy League of the United States; a member of The Council on Foreign Relations; and chairman of the Marine Corps University Foundation Board of Trustees.

General Mundy was featured in the summer 1994 issue of Auburn Magazine. General Mundy and his wife, Linda, live near Mount Vernon, Virginia.

John Thomas Vaughan ’55

Born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1932, John Thomas Vaughan has dedicated most of his life to service and instruction. A graduate of Auburn in veterinary medicine in 1955 and also receiving his master’s in 1963, Dr. Vaughan started his teaching career as an instructor in 1955 at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, quickly proving his love for instruction as an assistant and then associate professor by 1970. His impact at Auburn is evidenced by the numerous students that have benefited from his personal touch and the dedication he showed the college and Auburn over the years. Dr. Vaughan became the head of the large animal hospital at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1970, but soon his love for Auburn brought him back to Alabama. In 1974 he became the head of the Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery in Auburn and soon rose to become the 6th Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served for 18 years. As dean he oversaw and was instrumental in many developments and projects such as the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, the creation of the Ware Imaging Center and renovations and updates to the Small Animal Hospital.

Dr. Vaughan has not only excelled in instruction but has also shared his vast knowledge through print. He has been published internationally and contributed to a vast amount of veterinary texts. As a speaker and leader, Dr. Vaughan has been sought after by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association. As trustee of the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust, Dr. Vaughan continues his professional service even today.

In 1995, Dr. Vaughan retired as Dean Emeritus, and in 2003 university officials honored Dr. Vaughan for his service to the university by naming the large animal hospital the John Thomas Vaughan Large Animal Hospital.

Earl H. (Buddy) Weaver ’62

Dr. Earl Haygood (Buddy) Weaver was born on October 22, 1938 in Brewton, Alabama. After completing high school, Dr. Weaver earned his bachelor of science in education from Auburn University in 1962 and later his master of education in 1964. Dr. Weaver’s zeal for knowledge and education continued as he earned his doctor of education from Auburn in 1978. In his service to education and the community, Dr. Weaver taught at the high school level for several years before moving into an administrator role at Escambia County Middle School and as the assistant superintendent of education for the Escambia County School System. In 1994 Dr. Weaver served Auburn University as the interim VP for Alumni and Development and had numerous leadership positions throughout the university. He served the Auburn Alumni Association for more than 15 years including as its President from 1983-85. The Auburn University Foundation has also benefited from Dr. Weaver’s tireless efforts and love for Auburn through his service on that board from 1985-2002, including its presidency in 1994-2002. Dr. Weaver also served on numerous search committees and was the co-chairs our current “It begins with Auburn” capital campaign.

Both Dr. Weaver and his wife Sandra share their philanthropic spirit through their support of various professorships, scholarships and funds for excellence at Auburn University.

As a pillar of his community, Dr. Weaver loved the city and community in which he was born. Brewton benefited from his service on local boards and councils of civic and cultural nature.

Dr. Weaver passed away on September 27, 2006.

2006 Winners

Dr. Edmund C. Dyas IV ’61
Mr. Batey M. Gresham Jr. ’57
Mr. Albert James Smith Jr. ’47
Dr. E. Travis York Jr. ’42

2005 Winners

Dr. Leah Rawls Atkins ’58
Mr. M. Miller Gorrie ’57
Mr. John Murdoch Harbert III ’46
Dr. Don Logan ’66

2004 Winners

Event was moved to Spring.

2003 Winners

Dr. Wilford Sherrill Bailey ’42
Dr. Ralph Brown Draughon ’22
Mr. Samuel N. Mockbee ’74
Dr. Roy Brown Sewell ’22

2002 Winners

Coach Garland Washington “Jeff” Beard ’32
Dean James Edgar Foy
Mr. Millard Dean Fuller ’57
Dr. William Kelly Mosley ’24

2001 Winners

Dean Katharine Cooper Cater
Coach James Ralph “Shug” Jordan ’32
Dean George Petrie
Dr. Harry Melvin Philpott