Auburn MAGAZINE / SPRING 2016
Talking Nuclear Protocol with Nobel Winner John Oakberg ’69
THE BEAR FACTS | FUNNY GIRL JEANNE ROBERTSON
HAVE WILL TRAVEL | HENSONS, THE ORIGINS OF WAR EAGLE
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Download the newest iBook free from Auburn today! The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome! ÂŠ 2016 by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System
RUNWAY WANDERLUST The Apparel Merchandising and Design Association’s annual apparel event at Auburn gives apparel design and merchandising students in the College of Human Sciences a chance to show off their couture chops in a show called “Wanderlust.” The April event has been followed by the “Iron Bowl of Fashion” as Auburn and Alabama design students compete in a design challenge created by the Huntsville Museum of Art Guild. To see the designs and give an AU designer your vote, visit the web address below. (Photograph by Jeff Etheridge.) See more online at fashionfusionfaceoff.com/votehere
THIS IS MAKING EDUCATION WORK. As Auburn alumni, you are more than just acquainted with the line in our creed that embraces a belief in “hard work.”
OVERALL CONTRIBUTION TO ALABAMA’S ECONOMY A N D
S U P P O R T S
23,600 JOBS IN ADDITION TO DIRECT EMPLOYMENT
Your Auburn degree, along with the degrees of thousands of other graduates, has played a vital role in developing and enhancing our state and our national workforce. Our approach has always combined a superlative faculty with a student body that now includes aspiring minds from some 90 countries. The result is a trained force that is focused on building, running, and working in an international economy driven by innovation. Making Auburn’s venture more successful requires adding partnerships to the equation. Whether it’s additive manufacturing with GE Aviation or radio frequency identification with Amazon, Target, and Saks Fifth Avenue, Auburn is committed to working alongside entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and government officials as an engine of economic opportunity. This collaboration enhances a global gateway to discovering new knowledge, advancing scholarship, and propelling economic development. The university’s overall contribution to the state’s economy is $5.1 billion and supports 23,600 jobs in addition to direct employment. Hard work is at the core of all our efforts, which is why the Auburn Family is making great strides in educating a smarter workforce and developing a stronger economy.
PHOTOGRAPH BY MELISSA HUMBLE
FROM THE PRESIDENT
On Feb. 4, AU unveiled its new $1 million supercomputer that will enhance research across all disciplines.
Attracting & Retaining the Best & Brightest TODAY’S SOCIETY is perhaps more transient than at any time in history. Pulling up stakes and going to a new place has become a significant part of life. Relocating can be spurred for a number of reasons, but the most common is to accelerate one’s career. Studies have recently confirmed that more people, particularly ages 18 to 34, leave Alabama to begin or continue careers than are coming in. Therefore, it is incumbent on Auburn as a landgrant university to continue its efforts to educate an unrivaled workforce and to enhance the state’s business and industrial environments as a way to boost the economic benefit that comes with attracting companies in need of the state’s bright and hardworking citizens. While Alabama’s automotive and aerospace industries are thriving, that is not enough to keep younger generations here. Some of the state’s other advantages—relatively low taxes, status as a right-to-work state, and pro-business regulatory climate— have recently appealed to large companies like Airbus, Google, Polaris, and Remington. Landing a string of coveted economic development projects like the ones just mentioned and others caused Business Facilities magazine to select Alabama as its 2015 “State of the Year.” Auburn is also doing its part. Currently, the university’s overall annual contribution to the state’s economy is $5.1 billion and supports 23,600 jobs in addition to direct employment. Our efforts in this area are already significant because Auburn
educates people to excel in the many technology-driven fields of study that are of interest to Fortune 500 companies. In addition, our Office of Research and Economic Development works to forge corporate partnerships that benefit all Alabamians. Auburn will not only continue to make this issue a priority but will also step up our resolve. Auburn welcomes the opportunity to join and work with the state’s other universities, colleges and state agencies to draw more business and industry to Alabama. The new neighbors will serve to provide a better living environment for our citizens and a home for an exceptionally skilled workforce.
Our overall annual contribution to the state’s economy is $5.1 billion.
Jay Gogue ’69 President, Auburn University email@example.com
FROM THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ALUMNI AFFAIRS
Join a Club I HOPE YOUR NEW YEAR is off to a great start! Auburn University held its first Tiger Giving Day on Dec. 1 to increase awareness about unique projects and offered a fun and immediate way for alumni and friends to fund them. Your Auburn Alumni Association eagerly participated in this effort with a goal to raise $25,000 to establish a veterans’ scholarship endowment. Thanks to the active participation of our alumni board of directors, student alumni members, Auburn Club volunteers, and donors, we met our goal. Thanks to the generosity of more than 270 alumni and friends, deserving U.S. military veterans will receive scholarship support to have a place in the Auburn Family and a chance to obtain a world-class education. If you are familiar with Mardi Gras, then you know it can be festive, fun and always includes beads! The Auburn Alumni Association created its own version of this celebration, Aubie Gras, for its annual club leadership conference held in early February. More than 170 loyal alumni volunteer leaders were treated to a festive and entertaining atmosphere while receiving important leadership training during the two-day conference. Participants learned how each and every Auburn Club collectively impacts Auburn University’s success and attended sessions that included: best practices for successful events, meetings and programs; how to generate revenue for On the map Sylar Liu points out the new AU scholarships; club participation affiliate group’s home base in China. in Auburn student recruitment; and the importance of increasing alumni giving participation rates. In addition to the business aspect of the conference, this gathering allowed participants to network with one another to establish a stronger Auburn Club and Affiliate network of volunteers. The following clubs were also recognized for their outstanding achievements and include: the St. Louis Auburn Club for Most Outstanding Club Event; the West Georgia Auburn Club for Most Outstanding Auburn Alumni-inAction Project; the Greater Houston Auburn Club for Most
Outstanding Communication; the Greater Houston Auburn Club, for raising $87,000 this past year to fund scholarships; the Greater Houston Auburn Club for Most Outstanding Young Alumni Program; the Tampa Bay Auburn Club for Highest Attendance at an Annual Meeting; and Lee Thompson of the Huntsville-Madison Auburn Club, for Most Outstanding Club Leader. This passionate and dedicated group of the Auburn family are inspirational and work tirelessly to foster the Auburn spirit throughout their communities. Thank you! For the past 15 years, the Auburn Alumni Association has recognized Auburn alumni and friends who have made a significant difference in the life of Auburn University, their professions and within their communities. This year’s recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award are Jane B. Moore; Edward Lee “Ed Lee” Spencer ’52; James Shelton “Jim” Voss ’72; and Walter Stanley “Walt” Woltosz ’69. Lt. William Joel “Joel” Shumaker ’05 will also be recognized as the recipient of the Young Alumni Achievement Award. Enjoy learning more about each of these individuals in this issue. I am pleased to invite your nominations for our Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors. Openings include four new directors and the officer positions of president and vicepresident. Directors will serve four-year terms and officers will serve two-year terms beginning fall 2016. If you are interested in learning more about serving or would like to nominate a worthy candidate, please visit aualum.org/board-of-directors for additional information. Please note the nomination deadline is March 28, 2016. This is indeed an exciting time to be involved with the Auburn Alumni Association. I hope you will take advantage of the numerous opportunities to reconnect with each other and your alma mater in the upcoming months. Please visit our website at aualum.org for the latest event and registration information or contact our office for assistance.
Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86 Vice President for Alumni Affairs & Executive Director, Auburn Alumni Association firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM THE EDITOR
For the Love of Bears WE CAN BLAME IT ON TEDDY ROOSEVELT. In 1902, President Roosevelt traveled to Mississippi on a bear-hunting trip. His associates caught a black bear and restrained it until the president could make the kill. Teddy the president refused, a political cartoon about the incident made the bear smaller and cuter, a toy company got involved, and the teddy bear was born.
Those were the beginnings of Americans’ great
fondness for bears. As our need for space has grown, however, we’ve crowded out many of our black bear friends. Todd Steury, a professor in the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, says there are 60 black bears left in the State of Alabama. His unique tracking and numbering system has drawn attention, not to mention funding, for his Auburn Bear Project.
In this issue, you’ll learn more about how Steury
and his team count bears, track their activities, and can pinpoint where they are — namely, Saraland, near Mobile, and Mentone, in Dekalb County.
You’ll also learn that we don’t count Georgia bears
as belonging to our state. Georgia’s male bears are bad to wander across the border in search of Alabama’s female
bears. Then they go home again.
Georgia’s wandering bears have nothing on AU
alumnus Bob Henson and his wife, Phyllis, who have
accomplished the rare feat of having visited every country on the planet, some safer than others.
And safety—specifically, nuclear safety—is our cover
story this issue as we talk to AU’s Nobel Prize-winning
AUBURN RESEARCHERS IN THE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE SCIENCES LEARN THAT POSSUMS AREN’T THE ONLY ANIMALS WHO CAN “PLAY POSSUM.” IT’S LED THEM ON QUITE A WILD BEAR CHASE. STORY BY JEREMY HENDERSON ‘04.
physicist John Oakberg, whose team at the International
Atomic Energy Agency has been responsible for keeping nuclear weapons proliferation in check.
Enjoy the issue—and watch out for those bears
wandering over from Georgia. They’re up to no good.
JOHN OAKBERG ‘69 AND HIS COLLEAGUES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY PUT THE TEETH INTO THE U.N.’S NUCLEAR WATCHDOG PROGRAM AND THE NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION TREATY, TAKING A BITE OUT OF SADDAM HUSSEIN’S PERSONAL “MANHATTAN PROJECT.” STORY BY DEREK HERSCOVICI ‘14.
40 Suzanne Johnson Editor, Auburn Magazine
On the Road with the Hensons
BOB ‘69 AND PHYLLIS HENSON HAVE MANAGED TO COMBINE BUSINESS WITH THEIR OWN PERSONAL WANDERLUST TO TAKE THEM EVERYWHERE. LITERALLY. STORY BY ALEC HARVEY ‘84.
Suzanne Johnson CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Shannon Bryant-Hankes ’84 ART DESIGNER
Heather Peevy UNIVERSITY PHOTOGRAPHER
Victoria Beasley ’16, Sarah Russell ’16 DESIGN ASSISTANTS
Grace Rudder ’16, Conner Dungan ’17 IT SPECIALIST
Aaron Blackmon ’10 PRESIDENT, AUBURN UNIVERSITY
Jay Gogue ’69 VICE PRESIDENT FOR ALUMNI AFFAIRS & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AUBURN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Gretchen VanValkenburg ’86 PRESIDENT, AUBURN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Jack Fite ’85
AUBURN MAGAZINE ADVISORY COUNCIL CHAIR
Neal Reynolds ’77
DEPARTMENTS 7 From the Editor
Our abiding love for Ursus americanus floridanus.
“16 in 16.” A.D. Jay Jacobs lays out his vision for Auburn Athletics.
CONCOURSE 10 In the Zone Homes for AU’s growing programs in the health sciences.
14 On the March Although legally blind, AU freshman Tripp Gulledge saw no reason to keep him out of the AU Marching Band.
24 Philanthropy Participation matters! As Auburn makes solid strides toward its Because This is Auburn campaign goal, attention turns to participation rates. It’s not all about dollars.
THE CLASSES Auburn Alumni Association President Jack Fite ‘85 looks at fall traditions and this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards.
18 Google This
57 Class Notes
Where do all those innovations from Google originate? With people like Nic DiChiara ‘15, whose entrepreneurial spirit goes back to childhood.
57 In Memoriam 64 Backchat
ON THE COVER Take a few minutes to unravel the layers of meaning behind the illustration by Auburn Magazine designer Heather Peevy, from the periodic table screened into the background, the nuclear worst-case scenario, the dual nature of nuclear energy for good or bad, the ‘92’ that represents uranium. What else can you spot?
Maria Baugh ’87 John Carvalho ’78 Jon Cole ’88 Christian Flathman ’97 Tom Ford ’67 Kay Fuston ’84 Julie Keith ’90 Mary Lou Foy ’66 Eric Ludgood ’78 Cindy McDaniel ’80 Napo Monasterio ’02 Carol Pappas ’77 Joyce Reynolds Ringer ’59 Allen Vaughan ’75
New art from John Baeder ‘60, new stories from Thom Gossom ‘75 and music from Don Clayton ‘75.
17 Mixed Media
AUBURN MAGAZINE ADVISORY COUNCIL
AUBURN MAGAZINE (ISSN 1077– 8640) is published quarterly; 4X per year; spring, summer, fall, winter, for members of the Auburn Alumni Association. Periodicals-class postage paid in Auburn and additional mailing offices. Editorial offices are located in the Auburn Alumni Center, 317 South College St., Auburn University, AL 36849-5149. Email: email@example.com. Contents ©2015 by the Auburn Alumni Association, all rights reserved. ADVERTISING INFORMATION Contact Jessica King at 334-844–2586 or see our media guide at aualum.org/magazine. POSTMASTER Send address changes to AU Records, 317 South College St., Auburn, AL 36849–5149.
AUBURN NEWS & VIEWS
Concourse IN THIS SECTION
Strategic Growth 10 Trippâ€™s Inner Vision 14 Mixed Media 17 Canine Pacemakers 20
Zika Limited in U.S. Derrick Mathias, an assistant professor specializing in medical entomology in the College of Agriculture, and Xing Ping Hu, an ACES entomologist, believe the Zika virus will present the greatest threat to residents in South Florida and South Texas, but neither expects to see a widespread outbreak in the United States.
CONCOURSE > CAMPUS NEWS
In the Zone
UBURN’S WORK IN HEALTH SCIENCES research has grown in pockets over the years, but with the growth of interdisciplinary collaborations, it makes sense to put those researchers within shouting distance of each other instead of scattered across campus. In its November meeting, the Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the construction of the first two buildings in the university’s new Health Sciences Sector. The area at the corner of Lem Morrison Drive and South Donahue Drive is being deemed as such because it will house a new building for the School of Nursing and a new pharmaceutical research building for the Harrison School of Pharmacy. Both facilities are deliberately being will be covered with gifts and univerlocated near the Edward Via College sity general funds. Construction began of Osteopathic Medicine to bolster in January and should be complete by interdisciplinary collaborations. August 2017. Nursing’s new building will include The new pharmaceutical research 89,000 square feet of classrooms, building will have 37,000 square simulation labs, and clinical and defeet for pharmaceutical and partmental space on three floors. The interdisciplinary research labs and board previously agreed to retain Stasupport space over three floors. The cy Norman board previously Architects of Nursing’s new building will include agreed to Auburn and use Infinity 89,000 square feet of classrooms, Ayers Saint Architecture of simulation labs, and clinical and Gross of departmental space on three f loors. Montgomery as Baltimore, architects. The Maryland, $16.6 million as architects and Hoar Program cost will be covered with reserve funds Management serving as construction from the pharmacy school. management. LBYD Inc. of Birmingham began The projected cost of $29 million work in January to provide the
infrastructure, including water, power, sewer and information/ communication technologies, needed to support the new buildings. The $6 million project will be paid for by university general funds and is expected to be complete in August. In other action, the board approved the establishment of Auburn’s first fully online degree program, an RN to BSN program in the School of Nursing. The offering would allow registered nurses, or RNs, with associate degrees to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, through online instruction. Only about 40 percent of current RNs have a BSN, but the demand for professionals with this credential is expected to rise sharply in the coming years.
CONCOURSE > CAMPUS NEWS Additionally, the board approved a number of other projects:
The board agreed to HIRE SEAY SEAY & LITCHFIELD OF MONTGOMERY
An ONLINE BACHELOR OF
as project architects to construct a new
COMPUTER SCIENCE in
Auxiliary Services maintenance
the Department of Computer
building, as well as a new Risk
Science and Software
Management and Safety building,
both in the facilities management
in the College
complex on West Samford Avenue.
A $4.5 million project
will replace a STORM
SPECIAL EDUCATION will
DRAIN & SEWER LINE
be added as an option for the
underneath the north
current educational specialist degree
end zone of Jordan-Hare
program in the Department of Special
Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling in the College of Education.
of Engineering A $1.25 million project
will be offered in concentrated eight-week terms for students with some prior college credits but no degree.
A $2.2 million project was approved to build out 7,200 square feet of space in the AUBURN ARENA to accommodate locker rooms, team meeting rooms, offices and other support spaces for the
A project to create an
will construct the AUBURN MEMORIAL, an area on campus meant to honor and memorialize deceased Auburn students, faculty, staff, alumni and veterans.
A new BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN APPLIED BIOTECHNOLOGY in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture will lead to Auburn becoming the first university in Alabama to offer an undergraduate degree in applied
women’s volleyball team.
AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES RESEARCH BUILDING for
HOLCOMBE The board agreed to begin a project
crop soil and environmental
The project to construct two
sciences, entomology and plant
multipurpose poultry houses and an
PARTNERS OF BIRMING-
to create an INTERDISCIPLINARY
pathology, and horticulture
administrative building at the North
HAM were chosen as the
SCIENCE BUILDING for the biological
departments in the College of
Auburn campus for poultry research
project architects to improve
sciences and geosciences departments
Agriculture was approved,
led to the hiring of GHAFARI
the traffic on Mell Street,
in the College of Sciences and
resulting from the plan to
ASSOCIATES OF BIRMINGHAM
West Samford Avenue &
Mathematics, resulting from the
demolish Funchess Hall.
as project architect.
plan to demolish Funchess Hall.
Time for another
Wake, Dog, Scan
DOG’S REMARKABLE NOSE has helped mankind for ages, but neuroscientists know little about how the canine brain works, particularly using the sense of smell. Auburn researchers in engineering and veterinary medicine are gathering this info through functional MRI brain scans of awake, non-anesthetized dogs. “We are the first group in the world able to study how their brains process odorant information,” said assistant professor Gopikrishna “Gopi” Deshpande of electrical and computer engineering. The vet school’s Canine Performance Science staff train the dogs to get on the scanner, place their heads in position and remain still during the scanning. Previously, dogs had to be anesthetized before scanning.
2016 For dates, club sponsor and speaker information, locations and more details, see our website, aualum.org/clubs, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. • Alabama Gulf Coast • Atlanta Area • Greater Birmingham Area • Greater Houston Area • North Alabama Regional • West Georgia • Wiregrass Regional
AU Alumni Winter 16.indd 1
1/26/2016 3:00:16 PM
THE BEAUTY OF WINGS IN FLIGHT
THE ARCHIVES Found in “Auburn’s Attic”
THE PHILIP HENRY GOSSE PAPERS consist of 49 4 x 5-inch positive color transparencies of drawings of Alabama butterflies, caterpillars, moths, beetles, dragonflies and other insects. A gifted amateur naturalist, Gosse sketched and hand-colored the drawings in 1838 while he briefly visited Alabama. The 49 transparencies contain the complete set of his drawings of 233 Alabama insects contained in his unpublished Entomologia Alabamensis. Philip Gosse was an English-born, 19th-century naturalist who took a teaching job in 1838 in Dallas County. For eight months he collected insect specimens that he preserved in detailed watercolors of Entomologia Alabamensis. He chronicled his life in a frontier culture in Letters from Alabama.
CONCOURSE > CAMPUS NEWS
Inner Vision With some recorded French horn music, a determined spirit, a passion for music and a buddy named Dakota, freshman Tripp Gulledge has found his place with the Auburn University Marching Band.
LAYING AN INSTRUMENT is hard enough, but when marching band criteria are thrown into the mix—staying in step with others, learning where to march and remaining in formation—it can be downright grueling. Then try it without being able to see. For Auburn Marching Band member Tripp Gulledge, the ability to play is worth it. A freshman from Mobile, Gulledge developed a love of music at an early age, when he began taking piano lessons as a 5-year-old. When he entered middle school, he started playing the French horn after encouragement from his band director. “I wanted to play piano, but I didn’t really know that that wasn’t a band instrument,” Gulledge said. “So my director was like, ‘Well, if you don’t know what you want to play, your parents said you’ve got a good ear and I don’t have very many horn players, so I want you to play horn.’” His loss of vision has added an extra element of difficulty to playing in a marching band. Gulledge was diagnosed with retinopathy of prematurity when he was about 6 weeks old. This disease causes blood vessels to grow between the eye and the retina, causing the latter to separate from the back of the eye and impairing vision. Doctors were able to save some of Gulledge’s vision in his right eye through laser surgery. Because his left retina had already detached, physicians were unable to restore vision to it. In order to know his music and formation on the field, Gulledge has had to make a few adjustments to the traditional ways of learning. The band directors or grad students will isolate the French horn part on their music notation software, and they will send it as an MP3 file to Gulledge so that he can hear the music he should be playing.
Gulledge serves as an alternate in the band, so he shadows primary players during practices. Alternates learn positions by following behind the person they are shadowing during rehearsals, so Gulledge adjusts by simply placing his hand on his partner’s shoulder. “When people have to lead me around places, that’s how I do it anyway. So I just incorporate that.” Field conditions impact the band’s practices too, and upgrades to the practice field, including new dressing rooms and storage, will be underway soon. In addition, a new rehearsal hall is planned for Goodwin Hall that will provide the indoor practice space the band currently lacks. The practice facility has been made a priority project in the $1 billion Because This is Auburn campaign as one of the primary goals for the College of Liberal Arts. In day-to-day life, Gulledge doesn’t need to be guided by people as much as he did previously, thanks to his new K9 companion. He received his guide dog, Dakota, this past summer and relies on him to get around campus. “If I hadn’t lost so much vision, I wouldn’t have a guide dog and my dog is the most adorable, awesome thing ever,” Gulledge said. Dakota, a yellow Labrador retriever, has become one of Gulledge’s best friends and has inspired him to consider another potential career path in the future. And as much as he loves Dakota, he loves the AU Marching Band and the band members love him in return. “It’s something that you can put all of your work and heart and soul and blood and sweat and tears into and come out really pleased with what you end up with.” —Rachael Gamlin See more at because.auburn.edu/band.
CONCOURSE > CAMPUS NEWS
Did you know...
The AU Marching Band might be the best known, but the music department also features: • the Symphonic Winds • a Concert Band • the Basketball Pep Band • the Campus Band • and a Jazz Band
PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF ETHERIDGE
Artistic Courtney J. Garrett ‘06 was the speaker for the 29th annual Grisham-Trentham Lecture sponsored by the consumer and design sciences department. Born in rural Alabama to a Southern tole painter and a draftsman, Garrett used the insight she gained while studying the design of environments to develop as an artist. “My studies at Auburn were pivotal. I gained access to an invitation on how to think for other people,” she said. “I learned how to create spaces that affected the everyday function of its inhabitants.” courtneyjgarrett.com
MIXED MEDIA Now Playing BOOKSHELF John Baeder’s Road Well Taken, a monograph by Jay Williams (Vendome Press, 2015), firmly establishes Baeder ‘60 as one of the 20th century’s most important painters. Williams couches Baeder’s artistic quest as a search to discover American identity and reveal the American scene as metaphor. Baeder’s most iconic paintings portray diners and small-town life along the backroads of America. A Slice of Life: Life Stories, by Thom Gossom ‘75 (Aquarius Press, 2015), presents a short story collection by actor and author Gossom. His memoir, Walk On, My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, is his story as the first AfricanAmerican athlete to graduate from Auburn. A Slice of Life mirrors the first season of life, reflected in a newly integrated Alabama of the 1960s and ’70s. Tommy will miss the big game if he doesn’t eat those dang “Cold Hard Grits.” A football dynasty permanently penalizes a father and a son in “Crimson Tide,” and a dimwitted Army veteran has war flashbacks in “Everybody’s Crazy.” The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge: A Memoir in Dog Years, by Rheta Grimsley Johnson ‘77 (John F. Blair, 2016). In The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge, nationally syndicated columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson uses a parade of beloved dogs to take readers on a colorful journey. It’s not really a dog book in the Old Yeller sense; it’s a personal story that uses dogs as metaphors for love, loss, and life. “Working for newspapers ages you exponentially; it’s like dog years,” Johnson says. Readers follow her as a starry-eyed newlywed starting a weekly newspaper on Georgia’s exotic St. Simons Island, through stints at various other Southern newspapers, and finally to her writing life in remote and dog-friendly Fishtrap Hollow, Miss. Along the way, readers meet Rheta’s eccentric neighbors, her friends, her three husbands, and—best of all—her dogs. She introduces, among many others, Monster, “a big galoot of a mutt...”; Humphrey, who spent much of one night in an apartment complex “patiently lining stolen shoes up at our back door like a clearance rack at Payless”; Mabel (pronounced May-Belle), the first of the dogs to be buried “over the bridge” in Rheta’s sad little dog cemetery, who was “so beautiful that it never really mattered how much toilet paper she shredded...”
John Baeder’s Road Well Taken by Jay Williams
THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH That’s the name of the newest CD from country musician Don Clayton ‘75, who describes his music as “happy blues.” He cofounded the successful Festiva Resorts in 2000, but continues to pursue his first love of singing and writing songs. Learn more at donclaytonsongs.com
CONCOURSE > RESEARCH
The Man Behind the (Google) Glass
HILE MOST AUBURN FANS were celebrating Auburn’s 2013 SEC Championship win over Missouri, one Auburn student scored an unexpected victory that felt just as exhilarating. Sitting in the Atlanta hotel room he rented for the championship game, Nic DiChiara ’15 received rare news from techno-innovator Google: he’d been selected to become a developer for Google’s newest innovation, Google Glass. “When I heard they were releasing Glass, it just blew my mind, and I had to try it out, so I reached out to them,” he said. “I didn’t hear back for like a year, but
they finally reached back—and I took that the opportunity to become an Explorer opportunity instantly.” just to be able to boast that he had Glass. Google Glass is a device that you He became an Explorer with a purpose. wear on your face like a pair of glasses. Years earlier, when his aunt, Linda, was The first of its kind, Glass houses a diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s full Android processor, a tiny projector and a prism that I’ve been involved in engineering my whole reflects images into the upper life,” DiChiara said. “I just love making things. It right corner of your vision. could be anything. It started with LEGOs, then to You can’t go out and buy mechanical engineering, hovercrafts. your own pair of Glass; it’s only available to the few Google selects to Disease, DiChiara watched her struggle to be Explorers: programmers who build take care of herself in ways many take for software to pioneer Glass’s uses for public granted. consumption. “It’s one thing to have a disability Back in 2013 DiChiara didn’t jump at like that, but also to not be able to
PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF ETHERIDGE
CONCOURSE > RESEARCH
communicate with your family; it’s heartbreaking,” he said. Now one of about 8,000 in the country chosen to be an Explorer, DiChiara aims to use his early access to Glass to develop software to close the gap in the quality of life between those with disabilities and those without. His aunt’s experience inspired him to create a collection of applications for Glass called Able, which focuses on enabling the deaf and hard of hearing. The beta version of Able is available for all Android devices. Caption, one of several components of Able, uses speech-to-text technology to give subtitles to everyday conversations, presentations and even television shows that aren’t available with closed captioning. Inspired by stories of those with hearing disabilities, other components of the app notify hearing-impaired users of loud noises and help the user locate them. It even listens for the user’s name and alerts the person if someone is trying to get his or her attention. DiChiara’s innovation didn’t start with his Glass experience. “I’ve been involved in engineering my whole life,” DiChiara said. “I just love making things. It could be anything. It started with LEGOs, then to mechanical engineering and hovercrafts.” DiChiara has worked in whatever way he could to achieve his dreams, not the least of which is his opportunity with Google Glass. However, despite the app’s success, he’d rather the code be available to the public for free so that others can collaborate. “As it stands right now, I’m not looking to make money off of this app,” he says. “It’s just been kind of a passion project for me; I do it in my spare time.” Having graduated last December, DiChiara is now pursuing an MBA at the Harbert College of Business and working part-time in the College of Engineering as a webmaster.—Sarah Russell
THIS IS SCULPTURE. THIS IS YOUR MUSEUM. THIS IS AUBURN.
The Beat Goes On
Older dogs with slowing hearts are getting a new “leash” on life at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where advanced technology and new treatment protocols have created an emerging cardiology program.
Because of the technology and faculty expertise, procedures once considered complicated are now becoming routine. “Pacemaker implantation is not new to veterinary medicine, having been done for the last 30 years,” Jung said. “What is relatively new, and the first one at Auburn, was the use of the same type of pacemaker used in human cases, which we implanted in Joe.”
R A W E L G EA E K I B E R A SH
During Joe’s recent checkup, tests showed the pacemaker was keeping his heart beating normally. “He’s really doing quite well and from this point on, Joe will only need to be seen on a yearly basis,” Jung said.
SEUNGWOO JUNG, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AND CLINICIAN in the cardiology service of the Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital, recently placed one of the most advanced pacemaker systems used in humans in Joe, a 7-year-old bulldog owned by Wayne and MaryAnn Swift of Meridian, Miss.
TRAVELE LES D MI the bike tells you...
Joe began experiencing fainting episodes and collapsing this past September, and after visits to a Mississippi veterinarian, they determined the next stop was Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
This 7-year-old bulldog marches to the beat of one of the most advanced pacemakers developed for human use.
Pacemakers help monitor and control the heartbeat. A pacemaker will send electrical impulses to the heart to keep the beating rhythm in sync and pumping correctly. The procedure is similar to the one done in humans. Under anesthesia, a pacemaker wire is threaded through a dog’s vessel in the neck to the correct place in the heart. A small incision, made in the back of the shoulder, then allows for insertion of the pacemaker under the skin and connection to the wire. — Janet McCoy
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JACOBS’ 16 C
ALL IT A FAMILY GATHERING.
Standing at a podium in front of shiny trophy cases inside the Auburn Athletic Complex on a clear and chilly night, Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs ’85 on Jan. 19 cast his vision for 2016. The former Auburn football walk-on, who rose through the ranks after working in nearly every area of the department to become athletics director in 2005, talked about where Auburn Athletics has been. And where it’s headed. He began his remarks by reflecting on how different the campus looked on his way into work on Tuesday morning compared to a decade ago. There was no Auburn Arena, where the roars just two days earlier were deafening as the Tigers knocked off Kentucky for the first time in nearly two decades. Jacobs reflected on a time when only Sewell Hall stood at the corner of Samford and Donahue. Now, a world-class student residence hall made possible by university leadership stands in its place.
While reflecting on the past 11 years, Jacobs said he began to think of all the facility improvements that university leaders and donors helped make possible, from an indoor practice facility and soccer and track building to new facilities for golf and tennis, among others. After reflecting on the past, Jacobs reminded the crowd why they were all there when he introduced several studentathletes. Then he set the tone for the year by focusing on four goals and 12 “Action Items” he pledged to complete this year. He called it “16 for ’16.” The goals outlined fell in four areas: academics, student-athlete experience, facilities and winning. As a “16 for ’16” graphic flashed across the screens hanging from the ceiling of the room often used for recruiting events and staff functions and as a museum of sorts for visitors, Jacobs reminded those in attendance what it’s really all about: educating the student-athletes sitting on the front row and their teammates, and preparing them for successful careers and meaningful lives.
for ’16 RINGS & DIPLOMAS “As Dr. Waters likes to say, ‘We want our athletes to leave Auburn with a diploma in their hand and a ring on their finger...Our goal is to graduate our student-athletes and prepare them for successful lives and careers,” Jacobs said, referring to Gary Waters, senior associate athletics director for student-athlete support services. It all starts with creating a studentathlete culture and experience that other schools can’t match. “Our goal is for Auburn to be the best university for the best athletes in the nation,” Jacobs said. While those goals don’t typically gain the attention of the media or even fans, Jacobs explained how they and his third goal, building and maintaining first-class facilities, all tie to the fourth and final goal that Jacobs says he, better than anyone, understands matters a lot. Winning. “Our goal is to build and maintain first-class facilities for our athletes and fans...and to put our student-athletes in a
PHOTOGRAPH BY WADE RACKLEY
CONCOURSE > SPORTS
Showing Off THE NEW AU It’s been 45 years since Auburn University abandoned the 1950s vintage Aubie head logo and introduced the new interlocking AU mark, debuted here in a copy of The Plainsman. The AU symbol was officially licensed by Auburn in 1970 and in full use by 1971. We think it’s wearing its age well.
position to compete for championships.” He began with academics, including hiring a senior associate AD for academic services to succeed Waters, who is retiring, enhancing academic support until all 21 of Auburn’s teams achieve Academic Progress Rates of 950 or higher, and setting a goal that one-third of Auburn’s teams score in the top 10 percent nationally in academic progress rate. Jacobs then stressed the importance of the student-athlete experience, specifically sports medicine services, additional resources for female student-athletes and hiring a chief inclusion officer to further foster a culture of diversity. Facility enhancements are also at the forefront of action items for 2016. While emphasizing that no decisions have been made, Jacobs discussed the potential renovation to the north end zone of Jordan-Hare Stadium. “We will not move forward or seek approval from university leadership unless the project has broad support and proves to be financially feasible,” he said. A facilities feasibility study is well
underway to gauge support for the project from donors and season ticket holders. Jacobs stated several action items related to facilities and the stadium, including the completion of a detailed cost estimate for the potential stadium project by the end of March. Other facilities upgrades include creating a permanent home for the volleyball team at Auburn Arena, and improvements for equestrian and softball facilities. To meet the increased demand for softball seating following the program’s first appearance in the Women’s College World Series, Auburn is adding 835 temporary seats this season, with plans for permanent seats, spectator amenities and support facilities on the horizon. A final action concerned the End Child Hunger in Alabama initiative, Auburn’s primary community service focus. Auburn student-athletes and staff volunteers continue to support Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute by preparing
food backpacks for area students in partnership with the Jason Dufner Foundation. Jacobs highlighted achievements from last year in compliance and stewardship. Record revenues of more than $120 million allowed the department to set aside $5 million for deferred maintenance and still enjoy a budget surplus of almost $2 million. He pointed to accomplishments in the classroom, including a record 345 student-athletes with a 3.0 or higher GPA. More than half of Auburn’s teams achieved a perfect APR score in the NCAA’s most recent release. He also recognized student-athletes in attendance, including football players Jeremy Johnson and Jordan Diamond, basketball player Tra’Cee Tanner, soccer goalkeeper Alyse Scott and All-American swimmer Annie Lazor. “You are the only reason we are here,” Jacobs told the student-athletes.
CONCOURSE > PHILANTHROPY
S T R E NG T HENS the value of
YOUR AUBURN DEGREE
Percentages Matter THE TREMENDOUS SUPPORT SHOWN FOR Because This is Auburn—A Campaign for Auburn University speaks to the Auburn Family’s commitment to investing in the future of our institution. Each gift you make in response to one of our student phone-a-thon callers, an invitation to join a college or school’s dean’s club, or an email seeking your support of a specific program demonstrates the influence thousands of alumni can have when they join together for Auburn’s future. Our success depends just as much on how many of our alumni donate as it does on how much they donate. In 2015, 11 percent of our alumni gave to Auburn—approximately 3 percent lower than the average rate among our SEC peer institutions. Why is our alumni participation rate so important? A college or university’s alumni participation rate is one of the key metrics used by U.S. News & World Report and other programs to determine a university’s national ranking. So, as the percentage of our alumni who donate increases, so do our national rankings. As a result, your giving strengthens our reputation
as a top-tier university and, in turn, the value of an Auburn degree—your Auburn degree. Consider this: the 43,000 members of the Auburn Alumni Association represent nearly a quarter of Auburn’s total alumni base. With the full support of every member of the association behind this campaign, Auburn very easily could double its annual alumni participation rate. Every day, Auburn’s alumni and friends continue to set new standards for generosity and loyalty. Join with your fellow alumni by demonstrating your belief in a better Auburn, the potential of our students, and the resolve of our faculty by making a gift today.
Jane DiFolco Parker Vice President for Development President, Auburn University Foundation Learn more online and make your campaign gift at because.auburn.edu
“Our success depends just as much on how many of our alumni donate as it does on how much they donate.” 24
CONCOURSE > PHILANTHROPY
New Faces JOIN THE AU FOUNDATION BOARD
THREE NEW DIRECTORS recently joined the board of the Auburn University Foundation, which also elected new officers to help lead the organization in 2016. The board’s new directors are Sharlene Reed Evans ’86 of Jacksonville, Fla., vice president of organizational effectiveness for Hitachi Consulting; Gregory Lewis Heston ’85, CPA, of Atlanta, a partner with Ernst & Young LLP; and Gerald W. Smith ’61 of Huntsville, a retired aerospace researcher and executive. Thomas Gossom Jr. ’75 of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., who continues as board chair for a second term, is joined by newly elected board vice chair Michael McLain ’72, CEO and managing partner of Atlanta-based ICON Investment Partners; and treasurer Ronald Dykes ’69, retired BellSouth chief financial officer, also of Atlanta. The new directors replace those whose terms expired in 2015: John W. Brown ’57 of Portage, Mich.; Joe W. Forehand ’71 of Dallas; William “Bill” Stone ’85 of Rainbow City; Michael Williams of Auburn; and Wendy Wilson ’88 of Huntsville. In recognition of his extraordinary service and commitment to the foundation, the board conferred upon Brown director emeritus status.
The start of construction for the Mell Classroom Building and a new School of Nursing building represent only a portion of Auburn’s efforts to provide students with modern campus spaces and places where they can live, learn and lead. More than $178 million of campaign efforts will create new centers of learning like these while also preserving Auburn’s iconic campus locations.
For more information about the foundation and its new directors and officers, visit auburnuniversityfoundation.org.
CAMPAIGN PROGRESS Campaign Progress
$906 $906 M ILLION MILLION
90.6%ofof the the $1 90.6% $1billion billion goal goal asofofDecember Dec. 31, as 31,2015 2015
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Foundation chair Thom Gossom (back) with new directors (L-R) Heston, Evans and Smith.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JEFF ETHERIDGE
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OTHER TALES FROM ONE OF THE SCHOOL OF FORESTRY AND WILDLIFE SCIENCES'’ WILDEST PROJECTS By Jeremy Henderson ’04
OUTWITTING THE POSSUM
INCE SHE HAD SOMEHOW managed to slip
the first tracking collar, Christopher Seals actually wound up catching The Possum twice. And she did the same, crazy thing both times. Normally, when the telazol wears off, animals get up and walk away, groggily oblivious to whatever’s around them. “Not The Possum,” says Seals, a graduate student in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “She will not move if any person is around. I would have to walk away until she couldn’t see me before she would get up to leave. When I’d walk back to check on her, she would lay back down and pretend she hadn’t moved.” The Possum had moved, though. Seals would walk away, walk back again, and find her playing dead in yet another spot. At their second encounter, Seals posed for a picture when she was tranquilized, then waited to monitor her movements and snap a photo of her performance. She lay still, eventually lifted her head like a periscope to check for danger, and found Seals right beside her. She turned her head. She looked at him. Seals had his iPhone ready. He took a picture just before she put her head back down. He couldn’t get over it. Playing dead? That’s not the kind of behavior one would expect from The Possum. Because The Possum—that’s just the obvious nickname he gave her instead of her official name, rank, and serial number, MRB003F—is a 141-pound black bear.
“Well, there’s a couple of reasons,” Steury says. “One, when you ask the state how many bears there are, it’s based just on sightings, and kind of a feeling. It’s not very scientific. The other thing that’s involved is that any time you ask someone how many bears there are, how many mountain lions there are or whatever you want to know, it kind of depends upon what it is you are really asking.” In Steury’s mind, the only question worth asking isn’t how many black bears happen to be within state lines at any given moment. He only cares about the black bears that call Alabama home. “Every few years we’ll get a bear in Auburn, or we’ll get a bear in Lee County, but they never stay,” Steury says. “It’s a rare-enough occurrence that we can track where it goes just on the reports. So one came through Valley and Beauregard, came up north through Auburn, went around through the fisheries area north of Auburn and then kind of swung back around and went into Macon County, came back down to Tuskegee—and got hit on I-85 right outside Tuskegee.” Another bear did almost the same thing this past summer. According to Steury, the transients tend to follow the same paths, and likely meet similar grizzly, as it were, deaths—if not by drivers then by hunters. The going theory on the most recent bear to pass through the Plains is that it was shot and killed 70 miles north around the Talladega National Forest.
Every few years we'll get a bear in Auburn, or we'll get a bear in Lee County, but they never stay.
SEEING A BEAR FAKE ITS OWN DEATH is one of dozens
of revelations to come out of what Todd Steury, a wildlife ecologist at Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, refers to as the Auburn Bear Project, a study started in 2011 to learn everything learnable about the approximately 60 black bears that currently reside in the Heart of Dixie. According to Steury, who heads the project, their certainty in that number itself is one of the project’s greatest successes. Even as late as 2014, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources pegged the state’s bear population at between 350-400. A group of amateur bear enthusiasts that tracks black bear sightings in Alabama had it as high as 1,000. Why the big difference?
Those reports don’t affect Steury’s totals. “My numbers are smaller because when you ask me how many bears are in Alabama, I’m thinking about the breeding population,” he says. “I don’t care about a male bear who’s wandering around Tuscaloosa. He doesn’t count. I mean, he counts to the people in Tuscaloosa, but he’s not going to contribute to the bear population in any shape or form. He’s not going to reproduce unless he makes it into the breeding bear population.” Which means unless he makes it down south to Saraland or, in recent years, up north around Mentone. That’s where the girls are.
OUTWITTING THE POSSUM
North American black bears have short, curved claws that make them proficient tree-climbers.
Folks around Mobile have known about the bears in The Possum’s hometown of Saraland, up in the northern part of Mobile County, for years—Chris Seals included. He grew up in Mobile, which is where he currently lives for his work with the Auburn Bear Project, and saw some in the woods as a kid. “I was on a four-wheeler and a female with three cubs walked out in front of me while I was riding down the road,” he says. Todd Steury knows that Mobile County may not look exactly like the place bears live in your mind, but the bears don’t really care. “People associate bears with the mountains because that’s where we typically see them,” Steury says. “Smoky Mountain National Park—that’s still good bear habitat because not very many humans are there, so we haven’t hunted them out. It’s a history thing, not a habitat thing.
“There are a lot of bears in Mobile County because there’s a lot of vegetation, it’s very thick, and it produces a lot of mass crops—things like acorns and blackberries and other things that bears eat. Bears are a generalist species. They’ll live anywhere they can find enough food and cover.” They’ve found it in Mobile County for years. According to Steury, Saraland was Alabama’s only black bear hotspot for more than a century. Thanks to the Auburn Bear Project, we now know that’s no longer the case. “The state was getting reports of bears in North Alabama and wasn’t sure if it was a bear population, so they gave us some money to start studying two areas,” Steury said. “We went in to Little River (Little River Canyon National Preserve) and put out game cameras and hair snares and were able to document
OUTWITTING THE POSSUM
A Walk in the Woods
Steury observes cubs taking lessons from mom near Mentone.
that there was a breeding bear population around Mentone. The research has kind of grown out of that.” For two years, the work was mostly preliminary factfinding to determine the feasibility of collecting the sort of data Steury’s 11-member team now regularly delivers. Auburn’s well-known EcoDogs took a break from sniffing out bombs to help source bear scat. “You can tell a lot from scat,” Steury says. In 2014, once the $529,000 state conservation grant came in, the focus became hair. The research done via the hundreds of hair snares Steury’s
team has placed across the state is notable for both the simplicity of its application and the sophistication of the results. Set up barbed wire around some brush soaked in raspberry or vanilla extract, dangle some tuna fish over it from a tree branch, and count on the bear not minding the few scratches it takes to get to it. “All we’re trying to do is get a little chunk of hair,” Steury says. And they do. The team has secured more than 500 hair samples. Hair means DNA—lots of it—and DNA means accuracy.
OUTWITTING THE POSSUM
“WE DON’T HAVE TO CATCH ANY BEARS (when using hair
snares), we don’t need fancy permits, and we don’t need a lot of expensive equipment,” Steury says. “We can get a lot of data relatively cheaply, and from this we can estimate exactly how many bears there are.” Steury says most of the 15-member Mentone clan are immigrants from the north Georgia mountains, seeking a better life away from the ever-increasing threat of Atlanta’s urban sprawl. “On average we’re getting 10 DNA samples from every single one of those bears,” Steury says. “I don’t think we’ve gotten fewer than eight samples from a single bear. So we know we’re catching all the bears that are there.” That’s the genetic side of things. Monitoring bear habits requires getting more up close and personal—and more money. Seals and other team members use cameras and cage traps baited with jelly donuts— ”one bear just stared at that jelly donut for 20 minutes (before making a move),” Steury says—in order to measure and weigh the bears. “Our bears are pretty small,” Steury says. “Females are 100-120 pounds on average. And the biggest male we’ve caught is 260 pounds.” After being trapped, many of the bears are outfitted with $2,500 tracking collars. In his three years with the project, Seals has collared 11 bears (although thanks to The Possum it took 12 collars). They can then sync the data with Google Earth and watch The Possum paint a digital picture around just a few square miles of Saraland. “We’re really interested in these bears in Saraland that live so close to humans,” Steury says, pointing to the state-of-theart doodle of data points on his computer screen. “If you look at that picture, you’ll notice one thing about this bear—she doesn’t cross any roads. She doesn’t even really cross this power line that often.” Privacy fences, however, are no problem. In Saraland, bears routinely raid dog food dishes, bird feeders—anything that looks like a quick and easy snack. “Males will travel where they want to go, but females have a smaller home range,” Seals says. “Females can basically live in someone’s backyard. “Everybody loves bears until they’re on your back porch,” he laughs.
Steury hopes that universal soft spot for bears—the ones not on your back porch—also will provide better understanding (and protection) for less loveable carnivores. “One reason (the Auburn Bear Project) is important is because you can use that public favorability for charismatic species to leverage help for non-charismatic species,” he says. “If you can say ‘hey, let’s set aside some land for bears,’ maybe
Usually, black bears den in trees and caves. Steury says many of the bears in Alabama are building nests. that sets aside a lot of land for other animals that people don’t care so much about.” Like weasels, which rank pretty low on most folks’ lovability scale. “Weasels are a species that is really rare in Alabama,” Steury says. “We used to have them everywhere. But no one cares about weasels. If you set aside land to help bears, you help other things.” Steury anticipates the study, in its present form, will likely last at least two more years. “It hasn’t been that long and we haven’t analyzed all the data,” he says. “There are certain objectives we want to achieve, new questions that emerge. For instance, we’re seeing a lot of really large litters with the study up north (in Little River Canyon)— three or four cubs a year from multiple females. That’s really interesting. And the bears are denning in really odd locations.” Usually, black bears den in trees and caves. Steury says many of the bears in Alabama are building nests. “As long as there are still questions to answer, and as long as the state keeps providing us money, we’ll keep researching bears.” And maybe the occasional Possum. A A A A A Aresearch “She’s denning right now,” Seals says of his favorite subject. “She might be having cubs. She didn’t have A A A AanyAtheAfirst time I collared her but I think she might have been hanging A A A A A A around with a male.” A A A Even The Possum can’t play possum all the A time.
By Derek Herscovici ’14
NUCLEAR ENERGY has the power to improve lives—or end life as we know it. John Oakberg ’69 and his colleagues in the International Atomic Energy Agency helped put the teeth into the safeguards to determine how and when it should be used, and won the 2005 Nobel Prize in science for their work. He’ll be the first to say their job is far from over.
WAR AND PEACE
ELATIONS BETWEEN IRAQ and the U.N. Security Council had been deteriorating for years. Four days after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait under dictator Saddam Hussein in August 1990, the council imposed a crippling financial and trade embargo against the country. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. led military action against Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War. Despite skyrocketing malnutrition, lack of medicines, and a scarcity of clean water, the desert nation’s most deleterious effects were economic—without the ability to export oil, Iraq lost 61 percent of its gross national product overnight. Hussein continued to be uncooperative with U.N. inspectors trying to determine his country’s nuclear capabilities. The embargo would remain in effect until 2010, although much of it was lifted following the fall of Hussein in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, spurred by intelligence that Iraq had obtained weapons of mass destruction. For most people, weapons of mass destruction equal nuclear bombs. While the weapons information eventually proved unreliable, the idea was believable to those working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)—the United Nations’ “Atoms for Peace” organization. Among those watching closely in the early years of the 21st century: John Oakberg, a 1969 Auburn alum and IAEA information systems analyst.
“Iraq was building the same technology the Manhattan people had used in the 1940s to build the Hiroshima bombs.”
THE IAEA HAD BEEN FORMED in 1957 during the Cold War, as nuclear energy was discovered and its potential for good—or bad—spread unease among societies worldwide. While promoting the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the organization also served as a watchdog of who was doing what. And in 1992, the discovery of sensitive documents hidden by the Iraqi government had the international community feeling shaken. After months of tense exchanges between IAEA inspectors
The discovery of sensitive documents hidden by the Iraqi government had the international community feeling shaken. and the Hussein government, the finding uncovered what many had feared since before the first Gulf War: hidden nuclear facilities, secret long-distance missile testing and the complex machinery necessary to detonate a nuclear warhead. The WMDs weren’t there yet, but Iraq had clearly been working in that direction. “Saddam was essentially building his own Manhattan Project,” said Oakberg, who returned to Auburn in May to receive an
WAR AND PEACE
honorary degree from his alma mater. The Manhattan Project was a military project begun in 1942 to produce the first U.S. nuclear weapon. “Iraq was building the same technology the Manhattan people had used in the 1940s to build the Hiroshima bombs,” Oakberg says. “Saddam had nuclear material, but he couldn’t use it for bad purposes because Iraq was subject to safeguards and he would have been caught. If you want to call it a loophole, the area that was not covered [by the sanctions] was nuclear activities.” Working at the IAEA from 1982 to 2007, Oakberg was heavily involved in the creation and regulation of international nuclear regulation protocols designed to keep countries from using nuclear material incorrectly or irresponsibly. Under their Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, member countries receive assistance and resources to build nuclear reactors in exchange for annual inspections of nuclear material by trained IAEA specialists. Despite acquiescing to the treaty, Iraq during the Hussein administration was anything but compliant.
“Disinformation specialists” were used as guides through
nuclear power plants. Sensitive equipment was hidden, blocked off or, infamously, placed in a truck that drove around the facility while IAEA officials toured the site. Only permitted to inspect Baghdad’s acknowledged stockpile of nuclear material, inspectors watched as clandestine facilities were built in front of them without explanation. “Everybody did observation, but you couldn’t take action,” Oakberg says. “If you look at Al-Tuwaitha, there were three places where an inspector could go and that was it. Some countries were more lax, but in Iraq, you can observe and think “that looks like an enrichment plant,” but you better keep your mouth quiet. Internally, IAEA inspectors discussed Iraq’s clandestine activities among themselves, but limitations in the standing NPT charter prevented them from taking action. “We knew it but there wasn’t anything that we could do.” The 1992 discovery confirmed that at least 22 other locations at the Al-Tuwaitha site had been exposed to nuclear activity through the production of an atomic warhead, while Iraq’s policy of parallel sourcing confirmed the purchase of unaccounted equipment. Facing a rogue nuclear weapons program under a noncompliant government bureaucracy, the IAEA decided that more potent measures had to be taken, lest the United Nations be little more than bystanders in an unregulated arms race. “There was this realization that the whole tenet of nuclear safeguards under the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty was not sufficient,” Oakberg says. “The legal instruments were strongly enhanced. As a result, [now] there’s a different kind of inspection beyond the complementary action. The inspector
THAT LOOKS LIKE AN ENRICHMENT PLANT, BUT YOU BETTER KEEP YOUR MOUTH QUIET.
WAR AND PEACE
is allowed to go into places that don’t have nuclear material but have activities.” The ensuing regulations enacted, known as the “Additional Protocol,” gave IAEA inspectors the teeth they needed to expose and eventually dismantle Iraq’s secret nuclear program through nonviolent clerical empowerment and international sanctions. Comprehensive analysis of future designs, transportation of sensitive equipment and the possession of dual-use nuclear material used to make “dirty bombs” would all come under the IAEA microscope, toughening methods of building a nuclear reactor or enriching uranium to make plutonium in secret. Advanced environmental sampling allowed under the Additional Protocol would eventually lead investigators to discover undeclared plutonium production in North Korea in 1994 and in Pakistan in 2004. In 2005 Oakberg, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and their associates at the IAEA received the Nobel Prize in Science “for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest way possible.” OAKBERG’S LIFE WAS shaped by nuclear energy. His hometown of Oak Ridge, Tenn., is steeped in the nuclear research community as part of the Manhattan Project. Along with Los Alamos, N. M., and Hanford, Wash., Oak Ridge was essential to not only the Manhattan Project, but also to the world of nuclear physics, research, development and commercialization. While the implementation of atomic chemistry heralded a new age of science and technology, the aftermath of the bombs used by the U.S. to end World War II sent nuclear scientists scrambling to shift research from military to peaceful purposes. When President Harry S. Truman signed the Atomic Energy Act in 1946, management of nuclear weapons and nuclear power was successfully transferred to civilian control under the Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor of the IAEA. In Oakberg’s hometown, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory supplanted the military research operation, expanding the area’s economy and bringing in a highly educated population. In 1952, a 5-year-old Oakberg moved with his family to Oak Ridge from Ames, Iowa, where his father, a research geneticist, studied the effects of ionized radiation in mice with the lab’s
biology division. His mother, who held a master’s degree, instilled a love of learning in Oakberg and his two brothers. Pursuing a career outside of science never crossed his mind. “I was fortunate to be in a very scientifically oriented place,” he says. “Back in the 1950s, if you tacked the words ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ onto anything it was magic.” Oakberg’s father was determined his son would get a challenging education, which led to one of his most memorable Auburn experiences.
A BIG FOOTBALL SCHOOL Though his family did not watch college football growing up, his father was aware that Auburn had won the national championship in 1957 and expressed concern that Auburn was little more than “a big Southern football school,” Oakberg says. Touring campus for only a day, the elder Oakberg told his son to wait in their ’64 Ford outside the newly built Ralph B. Draughan Library while he went inside. “That’s what he used to gauge whether or not I would get the academic education he wanted: what reference material was there,
WAR AND PEACE
who was published there, that type of thing. He came back out and said, ‘Okay, you can go here’. DESPITE UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS of transparency around the world, the 1992 discovery at Al-Tuwaitha, Iraq, was a sobering reminder of the dangers lurking just outside the IAEA’s scope. As Iraq made headlines around the world, IAEA Director General ElBaradei was routinely called on to deliver statements based on research done by Oakberg and his team throughout the 1990s. ElBaradei testified before the second Gulf War that Iraq’s nuclear capability was conclusively diminished and that Hussein did not possess any weapons of mass destruction following the measures taken under Additional Protocol. When the IAEA was awarded the Nobel Prize for Science in 2005, it was the culmination of more than a half-century of work by the whole of the International Safeguards community. Though awarded specifically for their efforts during the Al-Tuwaitha affair, without the people organizing the travel arrangements or the inspectors gathering information around the world, systems analysts wouldn’t be able to do their jobs, Oakberg said. Asked about winning the Nobel Prize, Oakberg compares it to “winning the Heisman trophy and the National Championship at the same time,” but admits it was the furthest thing on his mind when he graduated from Auburn nearly 40 years earlier. While minoring in geography and foreign languages would serve him well throughout his career, everything boiled down to that math degree, he says. “It proves that solving equations and proving theorems can lead to a fairly successful career, and that’s what it was. What your brain has to engage in order to prove a complex theorem or solve a complex equation as an information analyst. That’s what a math degree did for me.” At Auburn’s 2015 Spring Commencement Oakberg received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the university, an honor he places next to the Nobel Prize.
MANDATORY RETIREMENT FORCED Oakberg out of the IAEA in 2007, but he soon found work as a safeguards consultant for the U.S. Government for Emerging Nuclear Powers, still helping developing countries meet IAEA and NPT requirements. Though outside the IAEA for the first time since 1982, Oakberg still maintains contacts within the agency and praised the recent deal that would allow Iran to develop nuclear power plants under extra measures that will restrict their program for the next 15 years.
Under the additional regulations, IAEA inspectors can access Iran’s nuclear facilities with little advance notice, severely limiting Iran’s ability to disguise clandestine activity. Thanks to the efforts of the IAEA and people like Oakberg dedicated to curbing the use of nuclear weapons, the world is not on the brink of atomic warfare—but the potential still exists. Even if every country agreed to NPT and Additional Protocol, there’s always the risk of isolated groups acquiring nuclear capabilities in secret, making transparency and open communication between parties more important than ever. “If I were to say what would be No. 1 on my wish list, it would be for every country in the world to agree to NPT,” Oakberg says. “Let’s do that first, and then let’s worry about the weapons. “I wonder what it would take to get the whole world to just do away with the dang things?” A auburnmagazine.auburn.edu
WAR AND PEACE
WAR AND PEACE
Around the World in 80
BOB HENSON has channeled his inner road warrior
to take him, along with his wife, Phyllis, around the world and back. All around the world and back. Next destination? Maybe space.
By Alec Harvey â€™84
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF ETHERIDGE
AROUND THE WORLD
HILEAS FOGG seemingly accomplished the impossible when he was challenged, accepted and won a bet to travel Around the World in Eighty Days in Jules Verne’s classic novel. That was 1873, and Fogg visited six countries as he circumnavigated the globe. About 140 years later, Bob Henson ’60 and his wife, Phyllis, have done Fogg 318 countries better. It took them about 50 years, but they have traveled to 324 countries—every country in the world recognized by the Travelers’ Century Club. “When we did it, they told us this,” Henson says of TCC and how many other people have visited every country. “They said if you put down a 1 and then put six zeroes to the left of it and then put a dot, that’s the percentage of people who have done it. … We have not met anyone else who has done it.”
Auburn Roots TRAVELING THE GLOBE was far from Henson’s mind while attending Auburn from 1957 until 1960. The aeronautical engineering student was managing Genelda Hall, which at that time housed mostly Korean War veterans, including Henson. One of those residents had a cousin, Phyllis, a banker who lived in Florida. “He said, ‘My old-maid cousin is coming up here; would you mind taking her out?’” Henson recalls. “She was 25 years old.” The two hit it off, dated long distance and got married in 1960 after Henson graduated. With an aeronautical industry transitioning from propeller planes to jets and rockets, Henson took a job with the telephone company. He spent 30 years in selling telephones and systems and lobbying before retiring to set up his own consulting and contract-management company. During that time, living in Hoover, the Hensons raised three sons, all of whom graduated from Auburn: Mark ’84 in industrial engineering; Mike ’86 in marketing; and Ben ’92 in mechanical engineering.
Hitting the Road BOB AND PHYLLIS ALSO STARTED TRAVELING, first around the United States and Canada (they’ve been to all the states and provinces) and then internationally. “The first big international trip was in 1967 from Singapore up through Southeast Asia to Mumbai in India and from there to New Delhi and Delhi,” Henson says. “We kind of toured India and got the feel for international travel— don’t eat the food and watch out for the cow patties.” Within the next seven years or so, the Hensons started taking annual trips with their children, mainly to Europe. “They grew up and went off to school, so Phyllis and I initiated another project during this time—genealogy,” Henson says. “Her father was Swedish and mother was German; I’m Scottish and Irish. She comes from an immigrant background; I come from Appalachian coal mining. “We took off to research our eight grandparents, and that took us into Sweden and Germany,” Henson adds. The Hensons wrote eight books, one on each of their grandparents. “We were influenced by genealogy, but it gave rise to an interest in international travel as well.”
“We consider ourselves lucky to have been all of these places. We’ve been really blessed with good health. That’s the big thing.”
Photography by Jeff Etheridge
AROUND THE WORLD
The Retiring Life HENSONS’ TELEPHONE WORK turned into a wireless and Internet networking business, and when he retired in 1987, he started his own company, Eagle One (that was his call sign as a pilot in Korea, too). At first, Eagle One and Associates worked with competitors of BellSouth, but after about five years, Henson and his company started “working with people who had money who wanted to set up competitive wireless and Internet companies,” he says. “Once I got going in this country, I realized there were a lot of opportunities internationally.” He and Phyllis lived in Hong Kong for a couple of years, Australia for a couple of years and Singapore for a year, all the while visiting countries around those regions. About 12 years ago, Henson started auditing cell phone and Internet systems around the world on behalf of the International Telecommunication Union, an agency of the United Nations. “I’m looking to make sure that all the systems can talk to each other,” he says. “Every country that was part of the United Nations was targeted, so it opened up an enormous amount of opportunity for travel. We packed our bags, and I got compensated enough to buy Phyllis a ticket. There’s no way in the world I could make enough money to travel to all of those places.” So the Hensons would hit the road and the rails and the sky, Bob working along the way and Phyllis helping him. “Being a banker, Phyllis knew how to handle all of that paperwork and do the reports I’ve had to generate during this activity,” he says. Nearly all of the Hensons’ travel has been work-related, very little of it being out-and-out vacations. “On our 45th anniversary year, we got an assignment approved that took us to Argentina, to Chile, to the Southern part of Brazil and the Amazon Basin,” Henson says. “We caught a boat ourselves over to the Antarctic Peninsula. In 2010, on our 50th anniversary, we took an actual cruise—Panama Canal, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu. That was a luxury cruise. We spent some money on that puppy, almost out of character for us. Maybe seven or eight of our trips have been stuff we wanted to do and planned as vacations.”
Hitting Them All IN 2000, the Hensons joined the Travelers’ Century Club, an organization whose members have all visited at least 100 countries. The TCC keeps its official list of world countries, and that has stood at 324 for the past few years. The Hensons were the first to achieve 324, Henson says.
Everything begins with planning, says Bob Henson. And it starts by knowing where you’re going, particularly if it’s in the middle of nowhere or has some sort of political or religious strife occurring. “If you’re going somewhere, you’ve got to have your antenna up about what’s going on,” he says. But that’s just the start. The Hensons have developed a checklist of more than 100 things they need to do before leaving town, and they suggest others create the same. Their list runs the gamut, from stopping the mail to turning off the stove and turning the water off at the street. “We plan out how long we’re going to be there, who we’re going to see, etc., and pile everything on the bed we think we might need,” Henson says. “Then we cut the volume by one-half and the weight by at least one-third. For a long time, we carried too much; then we carried too little. Anywhere we go, we always have at least a week’s clothing that’s interchangeable.” And, as cliché as it sounds, Henson says the top three tips where health are concerned are: NO. 1 NO. 2 NO. 3
Don’t drink the water. Barely eat the food, particularly in third-world countries. Don’t eat anything raw.
“You can’t afford to get sick,” Henson says.
AROUND THE WORLD
Bob and Phyllis Henson collaborated on a list of bests, worsts and other interesting tidbits: MOST DIFFICULT PLACE TO REACH The island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean. Station No. 1 on the climbing trail on Mt. Everest, which spans Nepal and Tibet, also ranks up there. MOST BEAUTIFUL DESTINATION A tie between Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and the Patagonian area of Argentina and Chile. The latter, with glaciers and snow-capped mountains, “almost hurts your eyes it’s so gorgeous,” Henson says. MOST FASCINATING DESTINATION Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano caldron full of native African wildlife in Tanzania. “It’s supposed to have at least one of every species, animal and fauna, in Africa,” Henson says. “You see everything from elephants to rhinos to geese to ducks. You could spend a month there and not see everything.” MOST SURPRISING DESTINATION The seven countries of Antarctica. “Lots of snow and ice and icebergs, but there’s also some mountainous territory that’s just absolutely gorgeous,” Henson says. “You expect it to be one big ol’ snow pile, but it’s not.” MOST DANGEROUS DESTINATION Tubruq, Libya. DESTINATION WITH THE BEST FOOD New Orleans, La. LONGEST FLIGHT TAKEN 18.5 hours, from Sydney, Australia, to Chicago, Illinois. BEST VIEW From the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado Mountain down on Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, its beautiful beaches and Sugarloaf Mountain. BEST MEAL Breakfast at Brennan’s in New Orleans. BEST SHOPPING Hong Kong “We can’t afford Paris and High Street in London,” Henson says. “Hong Kong is reasonably priced in U.S. dollars, with items inspired by the high-style places around the world but made in China and Hong Kong.”
Lee Abbamonte, a travel blogger known for being the youngest person to visit all 193 sovereign countries recognized by the United Nations, is a TCC member still attempting to reach the 324 milestone. Although he doesn’t know the Hensons, he says it’s “an incredible achievement that very few people have ever achieved. “It shows determination and a relentless pursuit to see the world where you dedicate time and money to travel in a way that few ever have or will,” Abbamonte says via email from Kenya. “You also need some luck on your side for certain places like Wake Island, British Indian Ocean Territory and Tristan de Cunha.” Henson estimates the couple has been on the road between 180 and 200 days a year, with a lot of planning going into all those travels. “All of these countries, you can’t just pull up on the side of a pier in a big city and do the work I do,” he says. “You have to make contact with telephone companies, make sure they’ll let me work with them. It’s a big coordination job, and that’s before you deal with transportation, air travel, and getting your gear in and out.” The logistics haven’t slowed the Hensons down much. They’ve been to France, England, China and Spain, along with Srpska, Aland Islands, Kiribati and Umm al-Quwain. Brazil, Japan and Canada have been on their list, but so have Tristan da Cunha, Abkhazia and Lakshadweep. They’ve paid cab fares, Henson has written, “in pesos, pounds, euros, dinars, shekels, ringgits, kronas and liras.” Their favorite city? Hong Kong, Henson says. “We were the most comfortable there, where we lived and worked for almost two years in the late 1990s,” he says. “We loved the warmness of the people.” Their least favorite spot? The last country they visited on their official quest. In 2014, the Hensons visited Cuba, Yemen and North Korea, knocking off three of the last four countries on the list. Libya was the only one left. “We didn’t have to go to Libya, because it wasn’t for work,” Henson recalls. “But we had 323 countries and needed to get the 324th.” One doesn’t just stride across the border into Libya, passport in hand. Under cover of darkness in November 2014, the
AROUND THE WORLD
Hensons rode in the back of a vehicle nearly 200 miles between Egypt and Libya. They spent only a few hours in a hotel lobby before turning around and heading back. They paid hefty prices at each border crossing, but they had done something that maybe no one else in the world has done—they had visited every country in the world. The TCC “published our names as having hit them all in a bulletin,” Henson says. “And they had a banquet in Los Angeles, where they gave us a very nice certificate.”
The Sky’s the Limit “WE CONSIDER OURSELVES LUCKY to have been all of these places,” Henson says. “We’ve been really blessed with good health. That’s the big thing.” But all that travel has had a downside. With seven grandchildren, they have missed some family milestones, and they’re often away from friends and family. “We’ve got neighbors, and I’m very active in the veterans association,” Henson says. “We’re members of Bluff Park Methodist Church.” Their Hoover home holds mementos of their travels, including an Antarctica room, a world cruise room, a genealogy room and, yes, a refrigerator covered with magnets from the locations they’ve visited.
The Hensons have six season tickets for Auburn football, and they make it a point to get to the Loveliest Village and tailgate at least once each year. “Our kids take all of our tickets, so we mostly have grandchild duty,” Henson says. Don’t think the Hensons are slowing down. Bob just turned 80, Phyllis is 79, and they have trips planned for 2016. “ITU wants me to do some major work over in Europe, from Amsterdam across to Bucharest,” Henson says. “But we’ve got to get back by May because our second grandson is about to graduate from Auburn.” Ask Henson if there’s a place he hasn’t been that he’d like to get to, and he’s quick with an answer: “The International Space Station, if you include the universe,” he says. “There’s not anywhere else in the world we have great aspirations to go that we A A A A A A haven’t been. “There are some things we’d like the Orient A like A A A toA do, A take Express from Moscow throughout Siberia and Mongolia and out to A A A A A A Vladivostok,” Henson adds. “But once you’ve hit ’em all, after that A A A A you’re kind of mopping up, so to speak.”
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au ua a ll u um m .. o o rr g g Auburn Auburn Magazine Magazine a 59AuburnMag_Fall08.indd 59
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New Year? New food!
241 S. College Street ∙ Auburn (334)844∙5140 ∙ www.auhcc.com/ariccia SPRING 2016
BLACK ALUMNI WEEKEND APRIL 8-10, 2016 The Office of Alumni Affairs and the Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs welcomes you back to campus for Black Alumni Weekend from Friday, April 8, through Sunday, April 10. The weekend, which coincides with A-Day, will include a Friday night mixer, A-Day tailgate, photo shoot, Saturday night awards dinner and dance, and Sunday worship service featuring the Alumni Gospel Choir.
Renew old friendships. Create new memories.
Register Online Now! www.aualum.org/BAW OR CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION
Photo courtesy of Intown Imagery 2015
We realize you have many options when it comes to making year-end donations, so we greatly appreciate your support of Tiger Giving Day on Dec. 1. Thanks to you, the Auburn Alumni Association has been able to establish a new, fully funded scholarship endowment of more than $25,000 for U.S. military veterans wishing to attend Auburn. The first scholarship will be awarded in the spring of 2017 for the 2017-18 school year.
N YOU CA E! IV STILL G
T ha nk s aga in for t he continued suppor t of t he Aubur n A lumni A ssociation initiatives. We couldnâ€™t do t his w it hout you!
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ALUMNI CLASSNOTES > IN MEMORIAM
the Classes IN THIS SECTION
Lifetime Achievement Awards
56 In Memoriam
Aubie & Tennille Singer Toni Tennille â€˜60 joined Aubie in greeting Auburn fans at the A-Day Game around 1988. She was a star vocalist with the Auburn Knights in 1960 and went on to a successful career in televison and as a recording artist. Her father, Frank Tennille, sang with the first Knightsâ€™ orchestra and later was a big band singer with Bob Crosby and the Bobcats. diglib.auburn.edu
The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Awards The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes recipients for outstanding achievements in their professional lives, personal integrity and stature, and service to the university. It was established in 2001 to honor extraordinary accomplishments by members of the Auburn family. Recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards are selected by a committee of Auburn administrators, trustees, faculty and alumni. We proudly present the winners of this year’s awards, plus the winner of the 2016 Young Alumni Achievement Award, as well as an introduction and welcome from Auburn Alumni Association President Jack Fite ’85.
GREETINGS FROM YOUR AUBURN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS and Happy New Year! As spring semester begins, the alumni association will be completing its new strategic plan and we want your input. Jack Fite ’85 Please let us know your ideas on how President, Auburn we can improve your Auburn Alumni Alumni Association Association and increase alumni connectivity with the university. Visit the alumni website (aualum.org), call the alumni office or connect with one of our board members with your comments or ideas. This strategic plan will set the course for our next five years and build on and improve our mission to foster and strengthen the relationship between Auburn University and its alumni and friends. Let’s rally and support our sports teams this spring. Our football team will be looking to take momentum into spring practice and we look forward to hosting our coaches this spring as our club leaders prepare for their annual alumni events. Our men’s and women’s basketball programs are on the rise with home game sellouts the norm. Speaking of sellouts, good luck getting a ticket to a home softball game, as coach Clint Myers and his great team attempt to return to the College World Series again this year. We
wish new baseball head Coach Butch Thompson the best as he begins building our baseball team into a national contender. I encourage you to stay connected to Auburn and encourage others to do the same. As alumni, we all have different resources; time, input/ideas or financial, and Auburn needs us to be connected. We encourage your involvement in your local clubs. Ask a family member or friend to join you at an event this spring, or help recruit a local student to attend Auburn by volunteering in the FANS program. Auburn is counting on you! Spring semester is a busy time as we host our Club Leadership Conference in February, Lifetime Achievement Awards in March, Black Alumni Weekend in April and Golden Eagles weekend in May. Now in its 15th year, the Lifetime Achievement Awards are the association’s highest honors. I hope you’ll read about this year’s honorees—as well as the recipient of our Outstanding Young Alumni award—in the pages that follow. All the very best this year to you and our beloved Auburn! WAR EAGLE! P.S.: Nominations for Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors are open. If you are interested or know of a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association that is, please visit the alumni website to download a 2016 nomination form. Deadline for nominations is March 28, 2016. Our association depends on it!
PHOTOGRAPH BY JON COOK
IN HER OWN WORDS
It was certainly a big surprise to receive this honor. I have always loved being at Auburn and loved my teaching and
experiences with the students. I never thought of receiving any
Jane Moore with softball team members (from left) Courtney Shea, Jade Rhodes, Anna Gibbs, Lexi Davis.
special award for that. Auburn means everything to me. It’s such a great honor and I’m so grateful for the recognition. There are so many memories
when you’re here for so long and look back on it. My special
Longtime Auburn University Faculty Member
memories are things that are
Judson College Bachelor’s in Education; University of Tennessee Master’s in Education; University of Alabama Ph.D. in Education.
association with the faculty and the
• 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.
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
• Moore collaborated with other researchers within Auburn University’s Motor Behavior Laboratory, making scholarly contributions to
related to my work and my university. In 1975, when I was appointed to the Faculty Athletics Committee, that was a very special opportunity for me. And of course, one of the most special events of my life here was the naming of the softball field, and in 2006 the first celebration for women’s athletics. We had the opportunity for all women athletes to come back on the campus for a weekend of celebration of their particular sport, as well as a banquet recognizing all the women student-athletes. Those were certainly special times.
an annual member of the Auburn Alumni Association.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JON COOK
IN HIS OWN WORDS
I feel very honored. Not too many people get the Lifetime Achievement Award, and I appreciate them recognizing me. I hope I’m worthy of it. My Auburn experience has been very rewarding and very beneficial. The biggest thing was that it let me know how much I didn’t know. I found out I had to keep on learning.
Edward Lee “Ed Lee” Spencer Class of 1952 Auburn University Bachelor’s in Business
I have a lot of memories, but mostly Auburn was getting me ready for various opportunities in life, like getting a scholarship and going to school after I graduated, and being an officer in the Air Force, where I
• 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.
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.
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
a regular officer. It’s just a good place to stop and graze and reflect and get your strength up and move on.
• In 2011, Spencer was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame.
Don’t think you know it all. Learning is a lifelong process, where you develop your interests
• Active in community service, where he has • In 1975, Spencer joined AuburnBank’s Board
served a little over four years as
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.
and pursue opportunities. Auburn was a great opportunity.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JON COOK
ALUMNI CLASSNOTES > IN MEMORIAM
IN HIS OWN WORDS
I have believed in giving back and supporting Auburn in as many ways as I can, through financial things as well as personal commitment to the university, coming back to teach there and work at the university while I could. I want to help Auburn continue its mission of teaching and research and extension and be able to do all those things that impact our community in the state of Alabama. Auburn does all those things, but it requires a lot of help from a lot of people.
Col. James Shelton “Jim” Voss Class of 1972 Auburn University Bachelor’s in Engineering; University of Colorado Master’s in Aerospace Engineering; University of Colorado Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering • 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.
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.
• 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.
• He was inducted into the Alabama Engineer-
• Since his retirement from NASA in 2003, Voss
• Voss is married to the former Suzan Curry ’71,
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
a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council in the Auburn College of Sciences and Mathematics. The couple has one daughter. Jim and Suzan Voss are joint life members of the Auburn Alumni Association.
ing Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.
There are so many good memories from Auburn. Auburn is where I met my wife. We dated and married before I graduated. That has to be one of the most significant things of all about my experience at Auburn. My wife Suzan is an Auburn graduate, she also participates and gives back to the university a lot as well. This is a wonderful award, and I am flattered and honored to be seen in the same group of people that have given so much back to Auburn University and to a lifetime of achievement. They not only achieved a lot themselves, but they have helped Auburn achieve a lot over the years. So I am really honored by the award and hope that I truly deserve it.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JON COOK
ALUMNI CLASSNOTES > IN MEMORIAM
IN HIS OWN WORDS
While at Auburn I got an excellent engineering education, but I gained much more than that: I learned perseverance and teamwork to tackle extremely difficult problems. I learned the importance of communication and language, and that how you say or write something is as important as what you say. And I learned to embrace the Auburn Creed.
Walter Stanley “Walt” Woltosz Class of 1969 Auburn University Bachelor’s in Engineering; Auburn University Master’s in Engineering; University of Alabama-Huntsville Master of Arts • Walt Woltosz developed his first augmentative
• In the late 1990s, Woltosz turned his inventor’s
communication system for persons with severe communication disabilities after his mother-inlaw was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).
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.
• 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.
• 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.
I’d like to see Auburn rise even further in national rankings in all of its programs, and to have an endowment that ranks near the top of the SEC rather than near the bottom. I’d like to see all Auburn alumni recognize that the special love we feel for Auburn is because Auburn made us who we are, that the Auburn environment is unique in higher education, and to maintain that uniqueness takes resources. George Petrie wrote the Auburn Creed the year I was born. If I have to pick only one line, I guess it would be, “I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.” There’s a saying by Calvin Coolidge about persistence, in which he says that talent, genius, and education do not guarantee success, it is persistence that makes us successful. I believe George Petrie frames that as work, hard work.
S H A R E YO U R N E W S W I T H U S AT AU B M AG @AU B U R N . E D U
PHOTOGRAPH BY MELISSA HUMBLE
IN HIS OWN WORDS
When I first got the news, it was completely overwhelming, because Auburn means so much to me as far as life and opportunities and in so many ways how it’s affected my life in a positive way.
Lt. William Joel “Joel” Shumaker Class of 2005
Young Alumni Achievement Award Winner—Auburn University Bachelor’s in Nursing
• Joel Shumaker served in the U.S. Navy as a Navy Hospital Corpsman and enrolled in the School of Nursing in 2003. After graduating in 2005, Shumaker worked as a registered nurse with the Navy as he rapidly moved up the ranks, being promoted to charge nurse, department head and division officer in three years. • In June 2013, Lieutenant Shumaker was deployed to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, the only enduring U.S. military base on the African continent. At Camp Lemonnier, Shumaker was one of only four nurses caring for more than 6,200 qualified beneficiaries from all four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Also
while at Camp Lemonnier, Shumaker served the surrounding communities by making multiple weekly trips to a local orphanage and to shelters for street children. • Shumaker served as department head of the maternal/infant unit at the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., before transitioning to Navy Reserves in December 2014. He currently manages 41 in-patient beds in the medical/ surgical/oncology specialties at St. Vincent’s East Hospital in Birmingham. • Shumaker has three daughters and is a life
I started at Auburn in 2001, and I had just finished about three years and eight months of being enlisted as a medic with the Navy, actually on the Marine Corps side. There was a lot of growing up that I did in that time that I was thankful for, but to go to Auburn, right away, I saw the outreach, the friendliness. You can focus on personal achievements, but this is what I say to my staff now: my philosophy is one of servant-leadership. What are you doing for others that really proves the value of your own existence? I always go back to the Auburn Creed, and the work ethic that’s instilled by our Creed—sound mind and sound body. It’s very much spiritually focused, and it’s very much focused on the way we look at people. You’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to take care of people and serve others, but you’ve also got to have fun. And you’ve got to enjoy what God’s blessed you with, too. I would put every single bit of energy into studying, but when it came time for football games, it was time to let loose.
member of the Auburn Alumni Association.
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
Send your classnotes and other
from 1975-80, when he was named
Association. He now operates a farm
KENNETH B. “BO” WALKLEY ’71
updates to Auburn Magazine
Auburn’s vice president for
and hunting lodge in Covington
retired on Feb. 1 as vice president
317 S. College St., Auburn
agriculture, home economics and
County with his brother, Albert.
for research at the National
veterinary medicine. The Andalusia
Other honorees were Wayne
Institute of Aerospace (NIA) in
native also was a cattleman who, on
Thames, production-sector honoree,
Hampton, Va., completing a 43-year
retiring in 2001, donated his Angus
and STANLEY WILSON ’53,
career in aerospace. He and his
herd and all his farming equipment
wife, JUDY WALKLEY ’73, will
to the College of Agriculture’s Beef
Pioneer awards were presented to
continue to live in Yorktown, Va.
Teaching Unit, which was named in
the families of the late WALTER
JIM FITZPATRICK ’42 was
his honor. Other honorees were
“SONNY” CORCORAN ’54 and the
RICK GILL ’75 had his photography
presented the Cross of Military
Wayne Thames, production-sector
late RALPH HARRIS ’48.
featured in Jam—Sweets for
Service at the 122nd Annual United
honoree, and JAMES M. “JIM”
Daughters of the Confederacy
CRAVEY ‘70, agribusiness inductee.
CATHRYN MORTON PERDUE ’73
Bill Warren, pastor at Allen
convention in Raleigh, N.C., on Nov.
Pioneer awards were presented to
married Louis A. Delionback on Feb.
Memorial Baptist Church in
6. He was recognized for his service
the families of the late WALTER
15, 2014. They live in Reno, Nev.,
Salisbury, Md. Gill and Warren were
during World War II. The news was
“SONNY” CORCORAN ’54 and the
where she is working with The CFO
childhood friends in Pensacola, Fla.,
sent in by his granddaughter
late RALPH HARRIS ’48.
Group Inc. as tax manager.
where Gill currently lives. Proceeds
JIMMY B. POOL ’71, judge of the
For more information, visit
15th Judicial Circuit, was recently
University, AL 36849 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
the Soul, recently released by
ALLISON FITZPATRICK ’06.
from the book go to charity.
recognized by the Alabama Law HENRY “HANK” MILLER JR. ’64
Foundation by designating him as a
TIMOTHY BARTON ’78 writes, “In
JOSEPH MAXWELL ’54 has
accepted the Congressional Gold
Fellow, honoring his dedication to
addition to my current position as
invented and developed an
Medal on behalf of his father, Rear
the legal profession and his
vice president for finance at
automated transportation system
Admiral Henry Miller, for his
community. The Fellows program,
Travelink American Express Travel
that is powered by electricity and
participation in the Doolittle Raid
established in 1995, honors
in Nashville, Tenn., I recently
can move shipping containers
over Tokyo, also known as “Thirty
Alabama Bar Association members
became an adjunct instructor at
automatically through the system
Seconds Over Tokyo, 1942.” The
for outstanding service and
Lipscomb University. I’m currently
to multiple exit locations. Even
presentation took place in Alameda,
commitment. Since no more than 1
teaching the Accounting for
though the system moves at very
Calif., aboard the U.S.S. Hornet.
percent of bar members are invited
Executives MBA program within
into Fellowship, the selection
the college of business.”
high speed, accidents cannot happen and deliveries cannot be misdirected. He writes that
Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of
committee chooses new members from an exceptional group that
WILLIAM HOPEWELL ’78 recently
foundation trustee president Joe
accepted a position at RealtySouth,
Engineering is working with him to
JAMES M. “JIM” CRAVEY ’70 was
Fawal termed “our best and
located in Oneonta. He recently was
help commercialize the system.
honored by the Auburn University
brightest.” Also awarded Fellowship
employed at Federal Land Bank
Scale models of the system will be
Agricultural Alumni Association on
posthumously this year was MAYS
Association. He writes that he
brought to Auburn in March.
Feb. 4 with induction into the 2016
R. JEMISON ’71.
retired in 2012 after 32 years with
Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor.
Farm Credit as senior appraiser in
STANLEY P. WILSON ’53 was
Cravey has held various leadership
LYN BABB SCHMID ’71 is currently
North Alabama, and he is currently
honored by the Auburn University
positions with the Alabama Farmers
president of the Delta Kappa
working with his wife, Nancy,
Agricultural Alumni Association on
Federation during his 34 years there.
Gamma Society for Key Women
selling real estate and traveling
Feb. 4 with induction into the 2016
He retired in 2004 as commodity
Educators International, located in
internationally with their children.
Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor.
department senior director and
Austin, Texas. She is an educational
Wilson was assistant dean of
dairy division director. He temporar-
consultant for the Pennsylvania
Auburn’s College of Agriculture and
ily returned to work in 2013 to serve
Department of Education and lives
associate director of the Alabama
as interim executive director of the
in Harrisburg, Pa.
Agricultural Experiment Station
Alabama Peanut Producers
1980s STEPHEN RAMEY ’80 recently
S H A R E YO U R N E W S W I T H U S AT AU B M AG @AU B U R N . E D U
A once-neglected neighborhood near the heart of St. Augustine flourishes in the book Lincolnville, A Sketchbook Journal of St. Augustine’s Historic Neighborhood.
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
Comes Alive in Paint THE AWARD-WINNING ARTIST and author of the book is Auburn University alumna Rosamond Parrish from the class of 1959. Her family has a long history with Auburn. Mary Martin Hall is named after her great aunt and a number of generations have attended. Parrish’s time at Auburn was packed tightly as she double-majored in English Literature and Spanish and stayed involved in clubs on campus. She said she still fondly remembers the excitement that jolted the university when Auburn’s football team became number one in 1957. She stayed busy after graduating, with post-graduate studies in Fine Art at the National University of Mexico, the University of Hawaii, Flagler College and the University of North Florida. Her love, teachings and gift for art allowed her to teach drawing and painting at the Jacksonville Art Museum for over 23 years. She became a member of the Florida Watercolor Society in 1972 and founded the Jacksonville Watercolor Society in 1982. Watercoloring is her signature medium, with brightly colored soft strokes featured in many of her paintings. Her art has garnered plenty of attention and awards, most notably the Carl Steinsieck Award for excellence in drawing at the St. Augustine Art Association. Parrish also loves history and has been active in the St.
Augustine Historical Society, the Archeological Society and has spent years painting and admiring architecture. Her passions built over the 24 years she has lived in St. Augustine. When she first moved into town the neighborhood of Lincolnville was in disrepair, St. Augustine was barely on the map. “When I moved here we didn’t have a McDonald’s or a Home Depot or a Wal-Mart,” Parrish said. “It was just kind of a quiet small town.” While St. Augustine quickly became a tourist destination, gaining fame as numerous travel magazines and websites rated the town among “The Happiest Town,” “The Best Historic Town,” and “Best Travel Town,” Lincolnville was slower to revive. The neighborhood, once visited by Martin Luther King Jr. and the site of Civil Rights marches and protests that were instrumental in the Civil Rights Legislation of 1964, had sidewalks overrun by weeds, historic buildings shuttered and had become known as an area that “wasn’t a real great place to live.” —Rachael Gamlin www.rosamondparrish.com
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
accepted a position as chief financial officer at Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Cookeville, Tenn. He came there from the CFO position at Southampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin, Tenn. EDWARD HUDSON ’81 was recently
named a partner with Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP, where he will practice with the firm’s residential real estate practice group in the Columbus, Ga., office. He
Board Nominations THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE of the
Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors is requesting nominations from alumni and friends of Auburn University for four new directors. All nominees must be life members of the association, and be willing to serve on a volunteer basis. These board positions require travel to Auburn at least three times per year. Successful nominees will be installed this fall; each will serve a four-year term. Nominations are also requested for the officer positions of president and vice president, both of which serve two-year terms. All nominees must be current or former members of the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors elected by the members and life members of the association. Candidates should have a demonstrated history of leadership in support of the Auburn Alumni Association and Auburn University. Strong consideration will be shown to those who have actively promoted the association and AU through involvement with local Auburn Clubs. Additionally, persons who have previously contributed both time and resources to AU and the association will be strongly considered. In agreeing to serve on the Auburn Alumni Association board, directors and officers are expected to join the association’s sustaining life membership program through contributions to the “Circle of Excellence” scholarship society.
represents a variety of lenders, developers, builders, investors, buyers and sellers.
The Nominating Committee will also consider an individual’s accomplishments as demonstrated through career development and community service, along with their potential for representing the association’s various constituencies. Additionally, an individual’s college major(s), profession and the geographic location of his or her residence may influence the committee’s determination. The committee encourages all alumni association members to participate by submitting nominations for consideration to Susan Barnes, Office of the Vice President for Alumni Affairs, Auburn Alumni Center, 317 South College Street, Auburn University, AL 368495149. A nomination form must be submitted, along with at least two letters of recommendation (but no more than four), from life members of the association. Resumes may also be submitted. The nomination form is available for downloading on the association website (www. aualum.org), or by contacting Susan Barnes at (334) 844-3820. Completed forms, letters of recommendation and resumes may be returned to Ms. Barnes at the above address or sent to her by fax (334) 844-4003 or as email attachments (email@example.com). The deadline for receiving nominations and supporting documentation is 5 p.m. CST, March 28, 2016. For more information, see www. aualum.org.
ROBERT “BO” LAUDER ’84 has
been named Outstanding Principal/ Head of School by the Blackboard Awards, which honors achievement in education in New York City. PAT B. MERRITT ’84 has been
named vice president for community and economic development for Georgia Electric Membership Corp. For the past 16 years, she has led Georgia EMC’s community development team and brings nearly 30 years of experience working with electric co-ops at Georgia EMC and Oglethorpe Power Corp. She also has served as president of the National Rural Economic Developers Association. She and her husband, Darrel W. “Buz” Merritt ’85, live in Tucker, Ga. TROY TURNER ’84 has been named
editor of The Opelika-Auburn News, where he began his career as a cub reporter shortly after graduating from Auburn. In the years between, he has worked as a reporter, columnist and editor at various news publications throughout the U.S., including early stints with the
S H A R E YO U R N E W S W I T H U S AT AU B M AG @AU B U R N . E D U
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
New York Times Co. at its affiliates in Gadsden and Florence and later
at The Anniston Star, where he
TRACI KNIGHT INGLERIGHT ’94,
Atlanta, has been promoted to vice
an enrichment teacher at Gwin
president. POH is the 13th-largest
Elementary School in Birmingham,
architectural firm in Atlanta, as
served as executive editor. He
KEVIN SNYDER ’90 has been
was one of three Hoover School
ranked by the Atlanta Business
worked as an editor at newspapers
selected to fly with the Blue Angels,
System nominees for the Jackson-
Chronicle. He is a registered
in Colorado and New Mexico before
the U.S. Navy’s flight-demonstration
ville State University Teacher Hall of
architect and also is a LEED-accred-
being promoted to a role as
squadron, under their key influencer
Fame. She has been teaching for 21
ited professional. His design
corporate news editor for Digital
program while performing at the
years, including 10 in her current
experience includes a variety of
First Media in New York, where he
Great Georgia Air Show in October.
position at Gwin. She has served on
project types, including governmen-
led national reporting efforts.
The Blue Angels’ Key Influencer
the Alabama Environmental
tal, multi-family housing, retail,
program selects individuals who
Literacy Plan Task Force, as a board
educational, office, interiors and
KEVIN GREENE ’85, a former
shape attitudes and opinions of
member of the Environmental
master planning. As a member of
walk-on at Auburn who went on to
youth in their communities. Key
Education Association of Alabama
the firm’s design team, Chuck
play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Los
Influencers may be experts in their
and on the Governor’s Task Force for
defines the aesthetic and organiza-
Angeles Rams, Carolina Panthers
field, public figures, leaders of youth
Environmental Literacy in Alabama.
tion of a project by translating the
and San Francisco 49ers, was
organizations, teachers, guidance
Under her leadership, Gwin has
program into the building design.
recently elected to the Pro Football
counselors or school administrators.
received the Project Learning Tree
Hall of Fame. Greene ranks third
They are not always the person at
Green School Award, the National
JOSEPH BRANCHE ’95 and his
all-time in NFL history with 160
the top of an organization, but
Wildlife Federation Green Flag
wife, Grace, announce the birth
sacks, trailing only his contempo-
rather individuals that have an
Award and the U.S. Department of
of their daughter, Sophia, on Sept.
raries and fellow Hall of Fame pass
impact on recruiting youth. Kevin is
Education’s Green Ribbon Award.
6, 2015. The family lives in
rushers Bruce Smith and Reggie
very involved in youth in numerous
White. He twice led the NFL in
ways, including being a Scout leader.
sacks, accumulating 14 and 14.5
Fullerton, Calif. CHUCK O’BRIEN IV ’94, principal at
Pieper O’Brien Herr Architects in
sacks, respectively, in 1994 and 1996.
The outside linebacker and
“MATT” THOMAS ’90
defensive end also accumulated 669
and KIMPER CANNON
tackles, forced 23 fumbles and
THOMAS ’01 announce
intercepted five passes in his career,
the birth of a daughter,
which spanned from 1985 until
Evelyn Rosemary, on
1999. Greene won a Super Bowl with
Sept. 21, 2015. She joins
the Green Bay Packers as their
her brother, Cannon,
outside linebackers coach in 2011.
and family in
He currently lives in Destin, Fla.
DEBORAH SEALE BRASWELL ’87
and Steven Braswell were married
HAMRICK ’91 and his
on July 18, 2015, in Helena. They live
wife, Jessica, announce
in Alabaster, Ala. The bride’s two
the birth of their son,
children and the groom’s three
John Aiden, on Oct. 7,
children served as the attendants.
2015, in Johnson City,
They were planning a honeymoon in
Tenn. The grandparents
Hello! We will be calling you this
Hawaii in February.
are Billy and Jeanie
summer to update your records for the Auburn
Walker and JIM ’63
Alumni Association directory. The directory,
and LYNDALL ’66
which lists all Auburn University alumni on
record, will be produced in 2017.
! g n i R
Planting the Idea IMAGINE A MEGA-WEBSITE similar to that of Amazon. com—only with plants. That’s the concept Cameron Cantrelle ’96 used when creating Plantbid, a successful online platform dedicated to connecting nurseries and professional landscapers to facilitate the sale of plants. “Plantbid is nothing more than a communication platform to create efficiencies in the professional plant-buying community,” said Cantrelle. “It’s a way for the sellers of that community to communicate efficiently with the buyers.” Cantrelle, a professional landscaper and a ’96 Auburn graduate with a degree in ornamental horticulture, formulated his idea for the website out of a frustration with the amount of time he had to spend searching for the plants he needed for each job. His Smoketree Landscape Services is based in Mandeville, La., across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. “Through the years, I’ve purchased millions of dollars of plants to install our projects… and what I realized was that I was spending an inordinate amount of time finding what I needed.” Cantrelle confesses to his lack of technological know-how before creating his innovative website. “Before I started Plantbid, I didn’t even check my own emails. My wife or my staff would tell me that
an email came through and then I would read it.” That didn’t deter him from developing a platform that has facilitated nearly $2 million in sales . After coming up with the idea, Cantrelle partnered with his college best friend’s brother, Dave Wooden, who has a background in optimization and algorithms, to work on the coding and technical aspects of the tool. In an industry that was hit hard by the 2009 economic recession and still relies heavily on outdated methods, Plantbid is a technological breath of fresh air for buyers and sellers. It’s free for sellers to post their inventories, a strong incentive to put products on the website. Buyers don’t pay until they’ve decided to purchase from a seller on Plantbid. “It doesn’t cost the buyers anything to see what the opportunity could look like,” Cantrelle said. “They only pay when they execute the opportunity, and at that point, they’re executing it knowing that it was a smart way to buy.” By expediting the process of sourcing plants necessary for landscape professionals to complete their jobs, Plantbid is revolutionizing the industry. “At the end of the day, that’s what makes Plantbid,” Cantrelle said. “It’s software that can tell you who you should be shopping with based off of your unique list, help find your most profitable cost for your job, and assuring quality.”—Rachael Gamlin plantbid.com
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
RODERICK D. PERRY ’95 was
recently named the director of
athletics at Indiana University-Pur-
KATHLEEN B. CONNELL ‘01 has
The company specializes in
been selected among Georgia
designing, building and managing
Trend magazine’s 2015 Legal Elite.
highly sustainable LEED Platinum
due University, Indianapolis. It is a
NICOLE WILLIAMS ’00 has been
She practices family law with
multifamily projects in Portland,
Division I institution and a member
appointed a member of the Dallas
Cumberland, Ga.-based Boyd Collar
Ore., and Seattle, Wash., that feature
of the Summit League.
Judicial Nomination Commission,
Nolen & Tuggle.
solar panels, green roofs and living
serving a term that began Jan. 20
wall systems. Prior to his move to
REBECCA FRATELLO ’97 battled
and will run through Sept. 30, 2017.
ASHLEY WALLS ’02 is director of
Portland with his wife, Jessi, Jeremy
“crazy waves” to finish her first
Williams is a partner in the trial
general administration for Boaz
spent 10 years in Nashville, Tenn.,
Ironman competition, Ironman
practice group of Thompson and
(Ala.) City Schools. She and her
with Earl Swensson Associates.
Florida, in Panama City on Nov. 7.
Knight LLP’s Dallas, Texas, office,
husband, JAMES ROBERT WALLS
and focuses her practice on
’96, have two daughters, Harper
CAROLYN A. ALENCI ’06 was
KIMBERLY SCHLACHTA ’97 married
litigation and counseling on matters
honored by the Duane Morris
Michael Rabalais on April 18. The
involving antitrust, advertising,
couple lives in Fort Myers, Fla.,
RICO, gaming, banking, title
MEGGAN GRAY STOLARSKI ‘03 and
Success with the Margery Reed
where Kim has been president of
curative issues, and other complex
JOHN STOLARSKI ’03 announce the
Professional Excellence Award. The
Boylan Environmental Consultants
commercial disputes and govern-
birth of their third child, Aiden
honor recognizes contributions
Inc. for the past five years. Kim
ment investigations. Nicole also
Graham, on Dec. 15, 2015. He joins a
toward creating, modeling and
was a student-athlete for the
fosters the development of Dallas
brother, Austin, and sister, Avery.
mentoring others regarding issues
Auburn volleyball team. After
youth as a mock trial coach at
John is a principal at Allred
of work-life management. She
graduation, she returned to her
James Madison High School and is
Stolarski Architects in Ocean
practices in the area of intellectual
hometown and started her
a member of the executive board of
Springs, Miss., and Meggan is a
property litigation, concentrating
environmental career at Boylan in
directors for Rainbow Days.
morning news anchor at WLOX-TV
on the chemical and pharmaceuti-
in Biloxi, Miss.
cal industries by assisting generic
1998. The company has provided
Women’s Impact Network for
ecological consulting services in
KATIE CONNELL ’01 recently
Southwest Florida since 1989 to
announced the opening of her new
GEOFFREY PEARCE ’04 and
pharmaceutical companies filing abbreviated new drug applications
both the private and public sector,
law firm with fellow attorney Leigh
ASHLEY HARRIS PEARCE ’09
with the U.S. Food and Drug
including wetland and wildlife
Faulk Cummings. Connell Cum-
announce the birth of their first
Administration. She also assists
surveys, environmental planning
mings LLC is located at Cumber-
child, Carter Jameson Pearce, on
clients in the life sciences and
and permitting, impact assess-
land Center in Atlanta’s Cumber-
Jan. 30. They are hoping that, in 18
medical devices fields with security
ments, habitat management plans
land/Galleria area. Prior to forming
years, Carter will become a
patent rights and in patent
and design of mitigation projects.
Connell Cummings, Katie was a
fourth-generation Auburn student!
partner with Boyd, Collar, Nolen &
The Pearces live in Newnan, Ga.,
AMY BRATCHER ’99 received an
Tuggle. The firm’s practice will
Ed.S. in collaborative professional
encompass all family law-related
REBECCA QUINNEY SCHOBER ’04
MADELYN KIMBROUGH BUTLER ’08
issues, including divorce, custody
and RICK SCHOBER ’98 announce
announce the birth of a son,
from Lipscomb University in
and visitation, alimony, child
the birth of a son, Albert Frederick
Coleman Russell, on Sept 10, 2015.
August 2015. She teaches middle
support, property division,
Schober IV, on Dec. 8, 2015. The
The family lives in Madison, Miss.
school language arts and serves as
prenuptial and postnuptial
family lives in Orrville.
a teacher leader. She teaches at
agreements, paternity and
Ellis Middle School in Henderson-
legitimation, adoption, restraining
CATHERINE DAVIS PATTISON ’05
married George Bardin Hooks Jr. in
and protective orders, and
and her husband, Chase, announce
Atlanta on Sept. 12, 2015. Hayden is
mediation and arbitration. A native
the birth of a son, William Charles
an associate attorney with Perry
DANIEL GESS ’99 and DEVON
of Savannah, Ga., Katie was recently
Jr., “Charlie,” on March 25, 2015.
and Walters in Albany, Ga., and
BONDS GESS ’00 announce the
reappointed by Gov. Nathan Deal to
The family lives in Nashville, Tenn.
George is a partner with the
birth of a daughter, Lillian Danielle,
serve on the Georgia Commission
on June 28, 2015. The family lives in
for Child Support.
ANDREW BUTLER ’07 and
HAYDEN BLAKE HEADLEY ’07
Americus, Ga., law firm of Arnold JEREMY THOMPSON ’05 is a
and Hooks. The couple lives in
project architect with SolTerra, a
Americus with their dog, Scarlett
design-build firm in the Northwest.
THE CLASSES > CLASSNOTES
ARSALAN A. NAYANI ’10, a Chicago-
CLARK M. HEREFORD ’43 of
CLARENCE HORNSBY JR. ’50 of Rock
W. DELANE CRANFORD ’53 of Arab
based associate in the government
Huntsville died on Sept. 9, 2015.
Hill, S.C., died on March 28, 2015.
died on Feb. 27, 2014.
practice group of Hinshaw &
ETHAN C. HOLT ’43 of College
EVELYN BLAKE JOHNSON ’50 of
ANNE HARRIS HARP ’53 of
Culbertson LLP, has been elected
Station, Texas, died on Sept. 7, 2015.
Leesburg died on Sept. 21, 2015.
Montgomery died on Sept. 13, 2015.
treasurer of the Indian American
JANE W. JACKSON ’43 of Sevier-
ROBERT RAY JONES ’50 of
BILLY JOE YORK ’53 of Cullman
Bar Association of Chicago. His
ville, Tenn., died on June 13, 2014.
Huntsville died on Oct. 22, 2015.
died on Sept. 21, 2015.
one-year term began on Jan. 1.
WILLIAM FRANK JENKINS ’43 of
TIMOTHY B. LAGRONE ’50 of
WILLIAM M. FALKENBERRY ’54 of
Nayani earned his J.D. from DePaul
Birmingham died on Sept. 6, 2014.
Alexander City died on April 18, 2015.
Anniston died on Sept. 17, 2015.
University College of Law after
WILLIAM H. RYAN JR. ’43 of Selma
BUTLER B. WHITFIELD ’50 of
JERRY W. MIKLIC ’54 of Mountain
earning his bachelor’s from Auburn.
died on Sept. 10, 2015.
Doerun, Ga., died on April 24, 2015.
Brook died on Aug. 14, 2014.
MORRIS LEROY SPEARMAN ’43
SHELLIE O. WILLIAMSON ’50 of
BYRD LEE MOORE ’54 of Fairhope
LUKE R. CRESSMAN ’12 has
of Newport News, Va., died on
Chesterfield, Mo., died on Oct. 14, 2014.
died on Sept. 10, 2015.
joined HDR Engineering Inc. of
Sept. 1, 2015.
HERMAN E. BALL ’51 of Lafayette,
JACK DALE WILLIAMS ’54 of
Corpus Christi, Texas, as a
JACK DOUGLAS CURLEE ‘44 of
Colo., died on April 16, 2014.
Alpharetta, Ga., died on Jan. 16, 2015.
structural engineer. He works on
Atlanta died on Sept. 10, 2015.
MARVIN F. FORRESTER ’51 of Warner
SARAH ELIZABETH CROUCH ‘55 of
liquid bulk material dock,
ALMA BROWNING ’46 of Griffin,
Robins, Ga., died on Oct. 30, 2015.
Fortville, Ind., died on March 16, 2015.
Department of Defense and
Ga., died on Sept. 19.
ROBERT BROOKS GRIGGS ’51 of
AUGUSTA YORK KRACKE ’55
JANETTE KNIGHT COLLIER ‘46 of
Atlanta died on Aug. 27, 2015.
of Panama City, Fla., died on
Gadsden died on Aug. 26, 2015.
GEORGE ELLIS HILL ’51 of Oak
Jan. 25, 2008.
ANDY MCERLEAN ’12 lives in
HERBERT O. FULLER JR. ’47 of
Ridge, N.C., died on Nov. 7, 2015.
THOMAS G. MIZELL ’55 of Arab
Austin, Texas, and works for
Columbus, Ga., died on Aug. 19, 2015.
FRED O. KELLEY ’51 of Birmingham
died on Nov. 4, 2015.
Everfast, a tech startup centered
JACQUELINE S. GANTT ’47 of
died on Jan. 14, 2015.
OLIN LEE MORGAN ’55 of Wake
around festivals and the idea of
Andalusia died on Aug. 20, 2015.
W. RUSSELL LASTER JR. ’51 of
Forest, N.C., died on Aug. 17, 2015.
bringing together people to share in
JOSEPH HARRY ROMANO ’47 of
Lancaster, Pa., died on Sept. 24, 2015.
RONALD K. OWEN ’55 of Ponte
a common, positive experience. “In
Hoover died on Aug. 22, 2015.
JAMES RUSSELL LOWERY ’51 of
Vedra, Fla., died on June 15, 2015.
a way, that’s what Auburn was and
WILLIAM HEFLIN “BILL” BARTON ’48
Decatur died on March 21, 2013.
HIRAM EDMOND PHILLIPS ’55 of
is,” he writes. “It’s a place where
of Tuscaloosa died on Sept. 16, 2015.
CHARLES “BO” LOYD ’51 of
Hartford died on Sept. 7, 2015.
people come to share a completely
BILLY JAY BATTLE ‘48 of Birming-
Scottsboro died on Aug. 19, 2015.
LOUISE GANDY PRICE ’55 of
unique and transformative
ham died on Aug. 14, 2015.
JOHN “BO” THOMAS MILLER ’51 of
Auburn died on Sept. 4, 2015.
TAYLOR GEORGE BURKE ‘48 of Oak
Nashville, Tenn., died on Sept. 14, 2015.
CHARLES BALDWIN ’56 of Fort
Ridge, Tenn., died on Aug. 28.
ELEESE ADAMSON SHADDIX ’51 of
White, Fla., died on April 10, 2014.
PATRICK L. SNELLINGS ’15
DOROTHY G. GALLOWAY ’48 of
Dalton, Ga., died on Dec. 23, 2015.
HARRY T. HALL ’56 of Marina Del
recently started work as a fisheries
Knoxville, Tenn., died on Jan. 21, 2015.
THOMAS H. SIMMONS ’51 of
Rey, Calif., died on March 21, 2015.
biologist for Georgia DNR Wildlife
HELEN COWLES GOGGANS ’48 of
Kingwood, Texas, died on Jan. 12, 2015.
THOMAS GENE LYNN ’56 of Biloxi,
Montgomery died on Aug. 31, 2015.
EDWARD T. GRAHAM ’52 of
Miss., died on Oct. 25, 2015.
LAURA POWELL HALL ’48 of Dallas,
Sarasota, Fla., died on Aug. 29, 2015.
JAMES M. WEBB ’56 of Dunwoody,
Texas, died on Aug. 23, 2015.
WILFRED R. HARPER ’52 of Soso,
Ga., died on May 3, 2015.
LEONARD JOHN “BUDDY” HOOPER
Miss., died on Aug. 30, 2015.
BILL M. BARNETT ’57 of Fort
For more complete obituaries, visit
’48 of Gainesville, Fla., died on Aug.
ALLAN L. PARKS ’52 of Auburn
Worth, Texas, died on July 23, 2015.
died on May 21, 2014.
BARBARA GLADNEY CAUTHEN ’57
JAMES WILLARD BARTLEY JR. ’49
JAMES E. REYNOLDS ’52 of La
of Hartselle died on Sept. 12, 2015.
CHARLES BURR VAUGHN ’37 of The
of Waco, Texas, died on Sept. 9, 2015.
Canada Flintridge, Calif., died on
LEN B. SHANNON JR. ’57 of
Villages, Fla., died on Aug. 19, 2015.
KATHERYN “KATY” SIMS BEIN-
Aug. 1, 2015.
Birmingham died on Sept. 12, 2015.
SIDNEY J. HARDY JR. ’39 of
DORF ‘49 of Vero Beach, Fla., died
WILLIAM ROBERT “BILL” ROSS ’52 of
WILLIAM R. “BILL” SMITH ’57 of
Alberta died on Sept. 8, 2015.
on Aug. 19, 2015.
Indianola, Miss., died on Aug. 18, 2015.
Birmingham died on Aug. 31, 2015.
MONROE F. VEST JR. ’41 of
ARTHUR LEE ENNIS ’49 of Gadsden
CONRAD ELBERT ADAIR ’53 of
DINAH HEARN TINGLE ’57
Birmingham died on Aug. 28, 2015.
died on Sept. 2, 2015.
Andalusia died on Aug. 25, 2015.
of Mountain Brook died on
SAMUEL URIAH HARDIE JR. ’43 of
ANGELO TOMASSO JR. ’49 of New
MARVIN CLARENCE BRAND JR. ’53
Sept. 23, 2015.
Florence died on Sept. 10, 2015.
Britain, Conn., died on Sept. 18, 2015.
of Andalusia died on Aug. 18, 2015.
S H A R E YO U R N E W S W I T H U S AT AU B M AG @AU B U R N . E D U
THE CLASSES > IN MEMORIAM
C. SENTELL HARPER ’58 of Reform
BURLEY JOE “BUD” ALLEN ‘65 of
THOMAS J. BROWN JR. ’72 of
JACQUELYN C. DEMUS ’92 of
died on Jan. 6, 2015.
Bagdad, Fla., died on Sept. 12, 2015.
Childersburg died on Sept. 17, 2015.
Montgomery died on Aug. 16, 2015.
ANNE METCALF KERKHOFF ’58 of
ALBERT RUSSELL BRITTAIN ’65
JAMES LANSON ESTEP ’72 of Jonas
ALBERT LEE SMITH ’93 of
Sugar Hill, Ga., died on Jan. 10, 2013.
of Lake Monticello, Va., died on Aug.
Ridge, N.C., died on May 9, 2015.
Guntersville died on Sept. 8, 2015.
CHARLES NEWTON SAMPLE ’58 of
JAMES R. “JIM” STANSELL JR. ’73
ROBERT ANDREW HOUSE ’94 of
Tomball, Texas, died on Sept. 21, 2015.
GERALD KEITH GINNINGS ’65
of Tifton, Ga., died on Aug. 22, 2015.
Decatur, Ga., died on Sept. 4, 2015.
JAMES A. EMBRY II ’59 of Sevier-
of Jonesborough, Tenn., died on
PATRICIA WARR BAKER ’73 of
WILLIAM HINOTE WATSON JR. ’94
ville, Tenn., died on Aug. 19, 2015.
June 9, 2012.
St. Simons Island, Ga., died on
of Brentwood, Tenn., died on
R. DOUGLAS HAWKINS ’59 of Troy
KENT HANBY ’65 of San Angelo,
Sept. 14, 2015.
Sept. 18, 2015.
died on Sept. 5, 2015.
Texas, died on Nov. 14, 2015.
RODERICK W. POWERS ’74 of
DAVID JASON KASERMAN ’02
MARY ELIZABETH “BETTY” WALSH
J. CALVIN SHAW ’65 of Dalton, Ga.,
Auburn died on Sept. 19, 2015.
of Auburn died on Sept. 19, 2015.
MORRISSEY ’59 of Alexandria, Va.,
died on Oct. 18, 2015.
HANS L. VON SCHWEINITZ ’74
ROBERT GREGORY BRYANT ’09
died on Sept. 8, 2015.
CHARLES OSCAR STEPHENS ’65 of
of Pflugerville, Texas, died on Aug.
of Mary Esther, Fla., died on
JAMES “JIM” C. PYRON ’59 of
LaGrange, Ga., died on Sept. 16, 2015.
Aug. 29, 2015.
Loachapoka died on Sept. 3, 2015.
DAVID JAMES “COACH” HOGG ’66 of
ROBERT HICKMAN DUPREE ’75 of
DAVID GILCHRIST KARN ’10 of
WILLIAM R. SALTER ’59 of Panama
McDonough, Ga., died on Aug. 23, 2015.
Tuscaloosa died on July 13, 2015.
Clanton died on Sept. 1, 2015.
City, Fla., died on April 16, 2014.
ROBERT E. EILAND ’66 of Durham,
WILLIAM KEITH DAVIS ’76 of Fort
BIVIN CARTER “BILL” BROUGHTON
N.C., died on Nov. 5, 2015.
Payne died on Sept. 12, 2015.
’60 of Meridian, Miss., died on Sept.
JOSEPH C. MILLER ’67 of Lillian
DAVID F. WATKINS ’76 of Hot
died on Sept. 14, 2015.
Springs, Ark., died on Aug. 17, 2015.
JOSEPH WILBUR WALKER ’60 of
EDWIN M. ODOR ’67 of Seaford, Del.,
TOMMY ANTHONY CANARY ’77 of
Fayetteville, N.C., died on April 28, 2015.
died on Aug. 21, 2015.
Birmingham died on Aug. 8, 2013.
PATRICIA ANN BIRDSONG of Jasper
JULIAN WELDON JENKINS ’61 of
SARAH FRANCES “SALLY” SUTTER ’67
JAMES ANDREW HOLMES ’77 of
died on Aug. 26, 2015.
Anniston died on Sept. 16, 215.
of Birmingham died on Sept. 4, 2015.
Augusta, Ga., died on Sept. 12, 2015.
JAMES L. CARDEN of Calera died on
WILLIAM D. “BILL” PARKER JR. ’61
JAMES B. WRIGHT ’67 of Pell City
OMIGENE K. GLASSCOCK ’78 of
Sept. 23, 2015.
of Anniston died on Aug. 27, 2015.
died on Aug. 26, 2015.
Montgomery on Aug. 29, 2015.
CARL H. CLARK of Auburn died on
EDWIN MURPHY SALLAS ’61 of Safety
NOLA JEAN YOUNG HEADRICK ’68 of
JEFFREY WAYNE INGRAM ’78 of
Sept. 8, 2015.
Harbor, Fla., died on Sept. 22, 2015.
Jackson, Miss., died on Sept. 25, 2015.
Fairhope died on Aug. 26, 2015.
CLARENCE BERTRAM “RED”
SELBY A. TUGGLE ’61 of Statesboro,
JAMES A. MAYER ’68 of Elizabeth-
RAYE R. NEWTON ’79 of Auburn
COLLIER JR. of Gadsden died on
Ga., died on July 7, 2015.
town, Ky., died on Sept 10, 2015.
died on Aug. 17, 2015.
Dec. 20, 2013.
W.R. “GNAT” BOZEMAN JR. ’62 of
WILBUR FRANK “BUTCH” BENTON
JEANETTE FRANDSEN ’80 of
VIRGINIA P. ETHERIDGE of Jefferson,
Irving, Texas, died on June 25, 2015.
’69 of Sullivan’s Island, S.C., died on
Auburn died on Sept. 17, 2015.
Ga., died on Sept. 6, 2015.
FREDDIE MITCHELL BUSH ’62 of
Sept. 13, 2015.
GAIL HOLMES PAXMAN ’80 of Round
CAROL JEAN GARRETT of Bessemer
Athens died on Aug. 19, 2015.
GARRY P. BLEDSOE ’69 of Gurley
Rock, Texas, died on Aug. 16, 2015.
died on Sept. 4, 2015.
OSCAR C. HARPER ’63 of Montgom-
died on Sept. 19, 2015.
SHARON ANDERSON DANIEL ’81 of
NORMAN NEAL KLASE of Auburn
ery died on Aug. 31, 2015.
DENNIE LEE SMITH ’69 of College
Canton, Ga., died on Sept. 19, 2015.
died on Sept. 13, 2015.
WILLIAM C. HARWELL ’62 of Coving-
Station, Texas, died on Sept. 10, 2015.
PAMELA D. GODWIN ’81 of Huntsville
WILLIAM W. MORRISON of Auburn
ton, Ga., died on March 14, 2014.
CHANDLER LEE VON SCHRADER ’69
died on Sept. 14, 2015.
died on Sept. 4, 2015.
PATRICIA CARDEN NOBLE ’63 of
of Arlington, Va., died on Sept. 6, 2015.
ANGELA R. DELAITSCH ’82 of
LETA ORRISON of Hoover died on
Santa Fe, N.M., died on Aug. 14, 2015.
PETER VINCENT BALDWIN ’70 of
Montgomery died on Aug. 31, 2015.
died Aug. 15, 2015.
CLYDE E. WALKER ’63 of Huntsville
Tampa, Fla., died on Sept. 11, 2015
SARAH WALTERS FORD ’82 of
EDWARD STEPHENS of Auburn died
died on Aug. 26, 2015.
DONALD RAY CRIPPEN ’70 of
Auburn died on Sept. 14, 2015.
on Sept. 2, 2015.
CARLTON E. WHITTLE ’63 of
Montgomery died on Aug. 30, 2015.
RHONDA MELISSA LESTER COTTEN
PERRY D. WELCH of Lineville died
Greenville died on Aug. 10, 2015.
JAMES O. HOUSE ’70 of Columbi-
‘86 of Gulf Breeze, Fla., died on Aug.
on Aug. 23, 2015.
SAMUEL JAY “SAM” BAKER ’64 of
ana died on Sept. 2, 2015.
Fairhope died on Sept. 23, 2015.
ALBERT J. MCRAE III ’70 of Orange-
JERRY BRETT SUITER ’87 of
HILL R. HUFFMAN III ’64 of Canton,
burg, S.C., on Sept. 20, 2015.
Dacula, Ga., died on Aug. 13, 2015.
Ga., died on Sept. 16, 2015.
RICHARD W. SMART ’71 of Colonial
JANA C. O’NEIL ’88 of Lanett died
Beach, Va., died on July 27, 2015.
on Sept. 10, 2015.
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