Auburn Women

Melanie Whatley Barstad ’75

Melanie Whatley Barstad '75


I came to Auburn in 1971 and graduated in 1975 with a degree in English in what was then the College of Arts and Sciences. I was not sure where my path would lead me, but my Father had one request…that I would get a teacher’s certification…” so I could always get a job if I needed one…” I agreed, with one caveat — that I could stay in the College of Arts and Sciences. So my Arts and Sciences diploma included a teacher’s certification on top of a regular BA… lots and lots of hours and student teaching as well.

I loved every minute of it! The busier the better. Band, Sorority, Student Senate, Mortar Board…. all I could take advantage of that Auburn could offer!

I did not put much thought about if I were going to do something different with my life.

I am not sure I had a clear path of what I planned to do after college and fortunately at that time, the concept of “General Curriculum” was a bonus for students who had not, as of yet, declared a major.

I simply knew that I had high expectations of myself and that my parents shared those high expectations of me. I did not realize that there was anything unusual about that.


Melanie Whatley Barstad '75 taking a photo huging Aubie

I have been fortunate in my career…my first job with Procter & Gamble (Secured via the AU College Placement Office) eventually led me to Johnson & Johnson where I retired after almost 25 years at a President level.

My AU English Degree served me well! And I still believe it all began at Auburn.