Page 1

SPORTS The Tigers’ new Barbee doll pg 24

Could you still make it into AU today? pg 36


Centenarian musings from south Alabama pg 40



In Living Color

The birds and the bees of birds

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Alternative fuel.

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AU Alumni spring 10.indd 1

1/20/2010 10:47:19 AM


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Kilroy Was Here If these walls could talk, oh, the tales they’d tell. Over the last hundred or more years, a handful of Auburn students and alumni have stealthily ventured inside Samford Hall tower, one of Auburn’s most familiar architectural icons, to scribe their names permanently on its interior walls and roof supports. Legend has it that pranksters once led a cow up the tower stairs. If you look closely, you can still see some of the signatures but, alas, no hoofprints. Photograph by Jeff Etheridge

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine


From the Editor

Older and wiser?

Betsy Robertson


Suzanne Johnson



Editor, Auburn Magazine


Once when I was in my 20s, I tried to make a pesto sauce from scratch. I didn’t own a food processor at the time, so I decided it would be OK to whip the olive oil and pine nuts and basil and Parmesan cheese in the blender, because, I reasoned, isn’t a blender pretty much the same thing as a Cuisinart, only taller? I measured and poured the oil, tossed in the pine nuts and packed as much fresh basil into the pitcher as possible, then turned on the machine. Nothing happened. I shouldn’t say nothing; there was a whir, and a few bits of chopped basil were visible near the blades, but none of the ingredients were pureeing properly. So, armed with my trusty wooden spoon, I decided to help things along by tamping the herbs down toward the mixing blades. With the machine still on. A split second later, my kitchen was a scene from “I Love Lucy”: Olive oil dripped from the walls and counters, and I looked like the coyote who accidentally blows himself up with greasy green dynamite meant for Road Runner, complete with splintered spoon. I’d like to think I’m older and wiser now, but sometimes I wonder. Last fall during a vacation, for example, I went for a dip in the ocean, ignoring numerous red warning flags indicating dangerous conditions. I’m a strong swimmer,

AUBURN MAGAZINE (ISSN 1077– 8640) is published quarterly; 4X per year; spring, summer, fall, winter, for dues-paying 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. Phone (334) 844–1164. Fax (334) 844–1477. E–mail: Contents ©2010 by the Auburn Alumni Association, all rights reserved. ADVERTISING INFORMATION Contact Betsy Robertson at (334) 844–1164. POSTMASTER Send address changes to 317 South College St., Auburn University, AL 36849–5149.


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

and with the stubbornness of a mule and the arrogance of the entitled, I plunged into the water for a refreshing crawl. Dumb move: Within minutes, a rip tide had spun me into rough water beyond my depth, and I was dog-paddling for my life, panicked and hyperventilating. My friend Keith saw what was happening and carefully waded out to rescue me. I’ve never been so scared, or felt like such an idiot. After reading Candice Dyer’s profile of 103-year-old William “Doc” Holley (Page 40), I began reflecting quite a bit on age and its relation to wisdom. Are any of us truly smarter now than we were last year, or last decade? In spite of my own intermittent dim-witted decision-making, I do think life experience teaches you things, namely how to behave decently toward other people and how to keep setbacks in perspective. We can, and often do, become better people as we get older, learning from our own mistakes as well as those of others. If I’m meant to live as long as Doc Holley, who we’ve loosely dubbed Auburn University’s oldest living alumnus, then there are about 60 more years of life lessons in my future. With any luck, it’s going to be a terrific ride.

Shannon Bryant-Hankes ’84 ART DIRECTOR




Grace Henderson ’10, Rebecca Lakin ’10, Andrew Sims ’10 DESIGN ASSISTANTS

Ashley Hollis Everett ’10, Cassie Caraway ’11 ADVERTISING ASSISTANT






LETTERS Auburn Magazine welcomes readers’ comments, but reserves the right to edit letters or to refuse publication of letters judged libelous or distasteful. Space availability may prevent publication of all letters in the magazine, in which case, letters not printed will be available on the alumni association Web site at the address listed below. No writer is eligible for publication more often than once every two issues. No anonymous letters will be accepted. Auburn Magazine is available in alternative formats for persons with disabilities. For information, call (334) 844–1143. Auburn Magazine is a benefit of membership in the Auburn Alumni Association and is not available by individual subscription. To request a membership application, call the association at (334) 844–2586.

Maria Baugh ’87, John Carvalho ’78, Susan Dendy ’79, Ed Dickinson ’70, Christian Flathman ’97, Tom Ford ’67, Julie Keith ’90, Mary Lou Foy ’66, Eric Ludgood ’78, Cindy McDaniel ’80, Carol Pappas ’77, Neal Reynolds ’77,

Joyce Reynolds Ringer ’59, Allen Vaughan ’75

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine


Play your cards right

and you reward yourself and Auburn students. The new Spirit of Auburn credit card featuring the WorldPoints® program contributes to Auburn’s scholarship fund while building rewards for you, too. By using this card for all your everyday purchases, you share the Auburn spirit by benefiting students who most deserve academic scholarships – at no additional cost to you – and you ultimately help shape the future of Auburn. Even more reason to enjoy redeeming all the points you earn for cash rewards, travel or merchandise. One good turn deserves another.

To apply for the card, simply call 1.800.438.6262 and mention priority code VAACIK.

Aubie, Member of the Mascot Hall of Fame

The Spirit of Auburn credit card is made possible by the Auburn Spirit Foundation for Scholarships (ASFS), which is affiliated with Auburn University. This advertisement was paid for by the ASFS. For information about the rates, fees, other costs, and benefits associated with the use of this card or to apply, call the number above or visit and refer to the disclosures accompanying the online credit card application. This credit card program is issued and administered by FIA Card Services, N.A. Bank of America and the Bank of America logo are registered trademarks of Bank of America Corporation. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association and is used by the issuer pursuant to license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Platinum Plus and WorldPoints are registered trademarks of FIA Card Services, N.A. AR100650 12/22/2009 © 2010 Bank of America Corporation SOA AuburnMagazine_120809.indd 1

1/13/10 10:38:52 AM

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Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

As an architect, custom builder, and realtor, with more than twenty-five years experience, Mr. Compton is available to make your transition to Auburn worry-free. Whether it’s finding just the right piece of property, building new, or modifying an existing home, Compton Homes is your source for creating the perfect setting for your retirement lifestyle. Prices are very attractive, so this is a great time to make Auburn your home. Visit our website or give us a call anytime. We look forward to bringing new friends to the Loveliest Village on the Plains!

On the cover Male birds’ bright plumage is all about sex appeal. The peacock uses his bright feathers to attract a suitable harem of peahens.

Summer 2010 F R O N T 4 From the Editor

Older and wiser? Not so sure about that. 8 The First Word

Former Auburn and Alabama presidents advocate civilized discourse, starting with schoolchildren. Plus: your letters.

Tony’s a Tiger now

24 Tiger Walk

Hoops in the new age of Barbee. Plus: Lindsay McCormick ’09 enters the locker room with Kobe Bryant, Terrell Owens and their ilk.

10 College Street

In campus news: Legislators exempt Auburn from worst impact of PACT; freshmen engage in tea time; and Aubie gets dirty with the Marines.

B A C K 47 Alumni Center

Home economics class, 1930

Why is this flamingo pink? Birds such as spoonbills and flamingos get their red and pink pigments from their diets. Wading birds tend to nosh on shrimp and other shellfish, resulting in their distinctive hues.

16 Research


Scientists find a link between obesity and Alzheimer’s.


18 Roundup

What’s happening in your college? Check it out. 20 Concourse

Surprise visit: Taylor Swift shows up on campus to wow fans.

Trey Mock loves being Blue

49 Class Notes 55 In Memoriam


This year’s freshman class averaged 26.2 on the ACT college admissions and placement exam, higher than any other incoming group of students in Auburn University’s history. Do you still have what it takes to get admitted to your alma mater? Find out by answering sample questions from the ACT test. by betsy robertson


Swift response and Taylor-made hugs

In Living Color

Auburn ornithologist Geoff Hill investigates richly hued clues to draw conclusions about avian survival, adaptation and evolution. by suzanne johnson


Meet the new recruits: your Auburn Alumni Association’s proposed board nominees. Also, take the field with Indianapolis Colts mascot Trey Mock, and don’t forget to check out our summer events calendar.

Oldest Auburn Alumnus Tells All

It’s been 81 years since William Howard “Doc” Holley ’29 strolled the Plains as a student, but at age 103, the retired pharmacist isn’t ready to hang up his “rat cap” just yet. By the way, he still makes a mean blueberry pie. by candice dyer photographs by jeff etheridge

64 The Last Word

From the etiquette of calling to coping with an anxiety disorder, Mary Ward Brown recalls life at Auburn as a young wartime bride.

Mary Ward Brown’s writing life

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine






The First Word THE TOPIC Auburn Magazine’s Spring 2010 issue tackled students, grits and health care reform, among other subjects. Got something to say? We welcome your letters. Send e-mail to aubmag@auburn. edu, or write us at Auburn Magazine, 317 South College St., Auburn, AL 36849-5149. Run for your life

I have an observation that will be controversial but I think has merit. Concerning “Curing Health Care” (Spring 2010), I have a suggestion. There is much evidence that all of mankind—all genders, strains and ages—are equipped for running. The advantages of better health in runners over nonrunners become more obvious with each scientific report. We know that runners rarely have Alzheimer’s disease and that female runners have half the incidence of breast cancer that non-runners have. At present it is estimated by USA Track & Field that 30 million of us run at least once a week. Of the 750,000 elderly who are admitted to hospitals in our country yearly due to injuries from falling, virtually none are runners. The obvious answer is to get the non-runners to experience the fun and the good of running that keeps runners out of hospitals and healthy. That would reduce the need of regular medication by as much as 80 percent. “It sounds like too much work to me” is often heard, and so it is perhaps the hardest work humans can do. Society will learn that work can be satisfying—a reason for living and a cure for boredom. I predict that, for the elderly, running will become a fad, and health care costs will plummet. After retiring from a busy veterinary practice at 80, I tried running to get in shape. It has become a satisfying addiction. I don’t take a pill, and I run three days a week. I have a running shirt that reads “Oh! To be 90 again.” I am 91. —George D. “Yank” Whitney ’43, Brattleboro, Vt. Glass half full

The remark that the United States “ranks last in the quality of health care provided” by industrialized nations (“Curing Health Care,” Spring 2010) makes me ask why there are so many people from every other industrialized nation who come to the U.S. for health care that cannot be provided in their own nations. While our system is not perfect, a quick look at health care in some other countries will show that the health care provided by the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine to its patients exceeds the health care available to people in those countries. We all should be doing more to improve health care to include all God’s people but not destroy what is already working.


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

The remark/opinion by Fred Kam, medical director, AU Medical Clinic, “that if you are 55 or older, you will not get a kidney transplant, period” also got my attention. I have a sister-in-law who has had a kidney transplant and a brother-in-law who has had a lung transplant. Both are doing great. Perhaps if Fred Kam had someone close to him who had benefited from a transplanted organ, he would feel differently. —Tom Fell ’69, Mobile, Ala. On the same team

Competition is great, but there are games in which Alabamians are on the same side. The opponents are often fierce, and the stakes are high. At issue in one of these games is what kind of citizens our young people will become. Being a citizen will place heavy demands on them in a time of terrorist violence, economic uncertainty and crushing debt. The world they will inherit from us will be every bit as challenging as the one we inherited, maybe more so. We are blessed with fine youngsters—energetic, hopeful, inquisitive, creative and full of potential. Yet they could be overwhelmed by vast global forces and destructive internal divisions. Their future will depend on how well they are able to join forces despite their differences. The ultimate test of citizenship is people’s ability to decide and act together on problems that endanger everyone. This game is being played at the American Village in Shelby County, which has been hosting a promising experiment in civic education begun by teachers in the Birmingham City Schools. The goal is to develop students’ skills for making decisions on problems that require people to act as a team of citizens. In addition to the Birmingham school system and the American Village, other partners in this experiment include Miles College, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Regional In-service Center and the Birmingham Council of PTAs. The hope is this experiment could spread throughout area counties, and then state and nationwide. As former presidents of the University of Alabama and Auburn University, we’ve combined our efforts to encourage and support this initiative. Last year, we observed that students need to learn about difficult issues facing their communities and nation, and to work effectively with others to identify the most appropriate actions to take. A process by which students can gain an understanding of an important problem and evaluate the alternative solutions that might be pursued is called public deliberation. The research of the Kettering Foundation and the support of the National

Issues Forums Institute are joined to promote the use of public deliberation. They produce materials that describe critical issues for use in public forums around the nation where people work to reach shared conclusions. Increasingly, teachers are using deliberation in the classroom to help their students develop the skills that will permit them to be informed and involved citizens. We are pleased that Alabama is playing a leadership role in this effort through the Alabama Teachers’ Institute. The sessions at the American Village will train teachers as to how deliberation works. According to Peggy F. Sparks, director of the National Issues Forums in the Classroom Teachers’ Institute, 32 social studies teachers will take part in the professional development sessions. School systems represented include the Birmingham, Fairfield, Vestavia Hills, Bessemer and Leeds city systems, the Bibb and Hale county systems, and Miles College and the Bethel STEPS Community Learning Center. A great deal is riding on the Teachers’ Institute project. The teachers are playing in a must-win game, and they deserve everyone’s support. —David Mathews, president, Kettering Foundation, and Bill Muse, president, National Issues Forums Institute. Muse and Mathews are former presidents of Auburn University and the University of Alabama, respectively. © The Birmingham News, 2010. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Born at Drake

I have often wondered how many “Auburn University natives” there are: My father was born in the campus infirmary while his father played football at AU and attended classes. His parents had married young and already had a little boy, and they lived on campus (where Graves Center was) at the time. My father and his family lived at the same house for four years. The pictures we have of that time are timeless, and I’ve often thought about writing Auburn Magazine to inquire if such statistics are known or to suggest a possible story. As of today, my family on both maternal and paternal sides have attended Auburn: three generations chock full of AU grads and proud of it. —Michelle L. Adcock ’00, Tampa, Fla. NEXT TOPIC Were you or someone you know

born in the old Drake infirmary on Magnolia Drive, which served ailing Auburn students from 1938 to 2005? Send us your story: e-mail or write to: Drake Memories, Auburn Magazine, 317 South College St., Auburn, AL 36849-5149. We’ll run the letters in our Fall 2010 issue.

Jule Collins smith museum of fine Art




Continuing Auburn’s tradition of excellence since 2003 We

invite you to join us as We uphold a legacy

begun more than


years ago, of

fine arts


auburn university’s collection.


Imagine your next business meeting or retreat: Come to Auburn Stay, meet and dine with us Walk to Toomer’s Corner Walk to campus and reminisce Golf at AU Club And, come back again.


www. jcsm. au bur n .ed u 901 South College Street • Auburn, AL 36849 334.844.1484 Direct: 334-821-8200 •

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine





One book, three teacups

Safe travels


Blame it on in-

riders to obey the rules

Auburn administrators

and police are remind-

creased traffic, dis-

of the road, and Au-

ing students and faculty

tracted drivers or preoc-

burn police have

to look both ways before

cupied pedestrians—

stepped up traffic and

crossing the road—par-

whatever the reason,

safety enforcement,

ticularly Magnolia Av-

administrators decided

tagging people for jay-

enue and North College

to improve the lighting

walking, running red

Street skirting the uni-

and signage at the bus-

lights and failing to

versity campus, where

iest crosswalks. A new

stop at crosswalks. For

half a dozen pedestri-

“Travel with Care”

more information, see

ans have been hit by

campaign encourages


cars during the current

motorists, cyclists,

academic year.

pedestrians and transit

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

By reading the same book over the summer, this year’s 4,000 incoming Auburn freshmen will start their homework before the first autumn leaves turn red, yellow and orange. Freshman-orientation counselors are encouraging all new students to read Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time (Penguin, 2006) by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin during the months leading up to the start of fall semester on Aug. 18. After classes begin, students will attend group discussions about various aspects of the book, learn about its themes in their courses, hear topical lectures and even complete related service projects. The idea is to create a common academic bonding experience that transcends majors and backgrounds, and gets students engaged with each other and faculty. “Common book” programs for college students are relatively common; more than 100 other universities boast similar shared experiences, typically galvanized around books that generate conversation about the human condition and/or important social issues. Three Cups of Tea revolves around Mortenson’s failed 1993 attempt to climb the world’s second-tallest mountain and how it led him to get to know the impoverished villagers of rural Pakistan. The author subsequently spearheaded an initiative to build schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson is scheduled to give a campus lecture on Oct. 26, and many freshman classes will integrate Three Cups of Tea into coursework and class discussions. “We are focusing on doing projects to increase students’ intellectual connection to each other and to the university very early on, ideally in their first semester,” says program organizer Constance Relihan, senior associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. “If we can ask students to read a book over the summer, then bring them together when they first get to campus in the fall through activities like discussion groups, lectures and service projects, they can be engaged in something that isn’t just social.” Though the program is aimed at freshmen, older students, faculty and even alumni are encouraged to read the book and be on the lookout for opportunities to discuss it with others in the Auburn family. The Auburn Alumni Association, for example, plans to offer a new online book group for graduates and friends beginning this fall.


Lucky numbers? Despite the controversy over gambling in Alabama, a recent poll by Auburn’s Center for Governmental Services shows that 68 percent of the state’s adults support a lottery while 60 percent back video gaming as a means of increasing state revenues for balancing the budget and funding education.


Flashback 100 years ago

75 years ago

50 years ago

25 years ago

10 years ago

Summer 1910

Summer 1935

Summer 1960

Summer 1985

Summer 2000

Coach “Iron Mike” Donahue announced that Alabama Polytechnic Institute would adopt new football rules for fall. First, both teams would line up within five yards of the ball. Second, the quarterback could cross the line of scrimmage at any point. Finally, forward passes were to come from behind the line of scrimmage—and any player could receive the pass.

Luther Duncan, formerly director of the Alabama Extension Service, completed his first quarter as president of API after being named to the post earlier in the year. During his tenure, the Russellville native fought to make sure Auburn received equal state funding and was considered a pioneer in the development of the state’s early 4-H clubs.

After four years of design and development, Auburn installed a new 200-mph wind tunnel for use in aerospace engineering studies. Professors Fred W. Martin and L.G. Sherling headed up the windtunnel project, which cost about $18,000 without the instruments. Auburn’s present aerodynamics lab boasts two subsonic and three supersonic wind tunnels as well as a low-speed smoke tunnel.

The School of Pharmacy celebrated its centennial birthday with tennis, golf and softball tournaments, a picnic, and continuing-education lectures. The oldest professional school at Auburn, the pharmacy school is the only institution in Alabama offering a graduate program in pharmaceutical sciences. It was named the Harrison School of Pharmacy in 2002 to honor API graduate James I. Harrison ’25.

Hal Baird ended his last season as Auburn’s head baseball coach with a trip to the NCAA College World Series. The Tigers ended Southeastern Conference tournament play 40-19. Baird coached the Tigers for 15 years before retiring. John Pawlowski became the team’s 16th head coach in 2008.

Above: Auburn’s Samford Hall clock tower underwent a facelift in the summer of 1960. While the tower’s clocks are cleaned annually, periodic work to shore up the 170-foot tower usually falls during summertime, when fewer campus visitors are likely to see it indisposed.

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine






Ahead of the curve Every university touts its ability to produce well-rounded graduates who’ve used their college years to learn what they need to be successful in life. Now Auburn can claim its success with conviction: Administrators have produced data that not only proves Auburn students learn certain skills and abilities during their undergraduate years, but also that they learn at a faster rate than their counterparts at other schools. Over the past few years, Auburn University has tested its students to establish gains in intellectual and academic skills as they progressed from freshmen to seniors. The pioneering study, known as the Collegiate Learning Assessment, involves more


than two dozen colleges and universities across the U.S. and attempts to answer the question of how institutions can demonstrate that students actually get smarter during their time in college, says Drew Clark, Auburn’s director of institutional research and assessment. The CLA gives students three hours to complete two tasks requiring them to read, analyze, evaluate and apply information to develop solutions to problems. The latest test results show that Auburn students improved significantly and exceeded average scores on both CLA tasks. Auburn students made especially strong gains in analytic writing between their freshman and senior years. Auburn began

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

developing a writing initiative three years ago and formed the Miller Writing Center last year after findings from its first CLA testing— administered when today’s seniors were freshmen—showed that many students arrived on campus without strong writing skills. Three years later, tests of these students as seniors showed they had acquired the skills during their time at Auburn and were performing well above expectations. The CLA results also place the university in the top third of the 26 institutions that completed all phases of the four-year study. Ohio State University, Syracuse University, George Washington University and Loyola University of Chicago were among

the other research institutions participating in the learning assessment. All types of colleges, public and private, were represented. “The CLA provides a strong accountability component to education,” says AU provost Mary Ellen Mazey. “Auburn was one of the first institutions nationally to participate, and results will allow us to continually monitor and improve our student outcomes.” The CLA uses a scoring system comparable to the SAT exam, in which students in a scientifically selected sample take the first series of tests in their freshman year. They take a comparable test in their sophomore year and again as seniors to measure educational progress.

After months of debate, the Alabama legislature passed a bill in mid-April that will pump nearly $548 million into the state’s Pre-paid Affordable College Tuition program, rendering it financially viable through 2027. PACT, created by the legislature in 1989 to provide a way for families to pre-pay their children’s college tuition, ran into funding shortfalls during the economic downturn, leaving parents who’d invested in the program wondering about their children’s educational future. “The legislature has been grappling for several weeks with potential solutions to shore up PACT after its investments declined significantly in recent years,” wrote Auburn University president Jay Gogue ’69 in a letter to alumni. “Because of those investment declines, the program became unable to meet all of its obligations to participants.” The biggest sticking point in the official debate over the PACT legislation dealt with whether or not future state college and university tuition costs should be capped for PACT students. Both Auburn and the University of Alabama protested a proposed tuition cap, arguing the measure would have a fundamentally unfair effect on non-PACT students and students in other prepaid programs by saddling them and their parents with the burden of subsidizing PACT participants. About 10 percent of Auburn’s students are enrolled in the PACT program. “At the outset, we supported a solution that would return PACT to solvency and do so in a way that is fair and equal to all students and their families—those in PACT as well as those participating in other college savings programs,” Gogue said. The new legislation would fund PACT with savings the state earns as it pays off bond issues. Tuition increases will be limited at all colleges and universities except Auburn and Alabama, which account for about 64 percent of PACT students.


Weather alert The National Weather Service has designated Auburn’s campus as a “StormReady” university for having met specific criteria in advance planning, education and awareness to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff when severe weather threatens. The university boasts e-mail and phone alert systems, outdoor warning sirens, and a weathermonitoring process, among other precautions. The only other “StormReady” universities in Alabama are Jacksonville State and the University of South Alabama.


Building on research JAY GOGUE ’69

President, Auburn University When the Auburn Research Park opened in 2008, it assumed a vital mission to support the state of Alabama in moving toward a knowledgebased economy. By establishing an atmosphere in which business and research come together to foster creativity and innovation, the research park will enhance the economic vitality of the community, state and region. Auburn University faculty and researchers have worked to bring in privatesector investment and federal grants, and have made great progress toward this goal, leading to the construction of two new centers. In February, the university broke ground on a 45,000-square-foot Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Center that is scheduled for completion in September. The center will house one of the world’s few 7-Tesla MRIs, the most powerful available. A master research agreement signed last year with Siemens will advance Auburn to the forefront of biomedical engineering and has the potential to bring life-saving technologies to the citizens of Alabama and the region. Examples of cur-

Q and A Has there been another time when politicians and citizens have been so divided on the issues?

The contemporary issue is about partisan politics and ideology, and there are many examples of periods when people have objected to policy changes by the national government. Many of the New Deal programs were met with objections by pockets of the citizenry, as were women’s

rent and potential areas of MRI-related research include brain function, metabolic imaging and pharmaceuticals, as well as research into diabetes and heart disease. The university will match $14.4 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology as cost-share support to build a Center for Advanced Science, Innovation and Commerce. The 68,000-square-foot, 21-lab facility will contain five multidisciplinary “research clusters” where scientists from a variety of disciplines across campus will collaborate on research projects aimed at improving standards, measurements and forecasting related to food safety, bioenergy technologies, aquaculture development and sustainability, and water and environmental quality. The new research center is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012. These two new additions to the Auburn Research Park will soon have a major impact on the university in keeping with Auburn’s goal to seek innovation, discovery and knowledge to improve people’s lives.

The cheaper four-year plan Forget the five-year

total cost for an Auburn

degree. Beginning this


summer, Alabama stu-

dents could save as much

burn’s executive

as $10,000 in tuition,

vice president and

fees, housing and other

chief financial officer,

expenses by enrolling

estimates the savings

in more course hours

to be significant for

per semester under

most students. “The

Auburn’s new tuition-

updated tuition sched-

and-fees structure.

ule reflects the realities

of both today’s econo-

The new menu of

Don Large ’75, Au-

prices, announced by

my and the academic

the university board

requirements to earn a

of trustees earlier

degree,” he says.

this spring, will allow

students to take more

summer, tuition for a

than 12 credit hours

full-time, in-state under-

at no additional cost

graduate will be $3,950

during fall and spring

per semester, regardless

semesters, and attend

of whether a student

summer classes part-

takes as few as 12 hours

time at reduced rates.

or as many as 18. Stud-

ies have shown that a

“Eliminating the

Beginning this

financial hurdle for

whopping 94 percent of

suffrage, the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, our involvement in Vietnam, and the results from court cases like Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade. Although widespread, it is questionable whether the current protests are attracting a broad base of support. For example, the Lee County TEA Party protest in April attracted 400 people, or one-third of 1 percent of the population.

taking either more

Auburn students (and

hours or summer

their parents) want

classes helps students

or expect to graduate

and families cope with

in four years, which

tough economic times,”

requires taking 15 or

says Sarah Newton ’74,

more hours per semester

board president pro

or attending summer

tempore. “We want our

school. Before the new

students to be able to

structure was adopted,

both take the course

students had to pay

Mitchell Brown

loads they need to

higher tuition and fees to

graduate on time and

take more than 12 hours

also to reduce their

per semester.

Assistant professor of political science

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine





Meet the Prof Ed Youngblood Assistant professor of communication and journalism, College of Liberal Arts BACKSTORY Youngblood is helping take AU journalism into the realm of “new media” by working with other journalism faculty to “reinvent” the Auburn Reporter—the program’s alumni magazine—as an online publication with audio segments produced by students. He also teaches a course on podcast production. Students in his class on media-technology history have collected oral histories on the adoption of Internet use at Auburn that will be placed in the AU Libraries’ archives. COMING SOON Youngblood will be working this

summer to reshape the oral history project as part of the College of Liberal Arts’ Community and Civic Engagement Summer Academy. The academy, which began in 2007, supports faculty who learn how to incorporate civic engagement and service-learning practices in their coursework, teaching and research.

MUDCAT: Aubie got down and dirty at the 2010 Amphibious Warrior Mud Run on campus sponsored by Auburn’s ROTC Marine Corps in April. The route consisted of about three miles of off-road trails, creeks, hills, obstacles and mud pits; proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project, which assists combat-injured soldiers.



the Lee County Emergen-

porting people to the

University is a very safe

cy Management Agency,


shooter” on the loose,

place to go to school and

East Alabama Emergency

menacing classrooms,

a very safe place to

Medical Services and the

says he was impressed

dorms and other public

work,” says Corbett,

AU Medical Clinic.

with both the results

buildings. Chance Cor-

associate director of

of the exercise and the

bett prays it never hap-

emergency management

bright orange wristbands

attitudes of those who

pens at Auburn, but if it

in Auburn’s Department

and carrying unloaded

helped carry it out.

does, he wants key law

of Public Safety and

weapons patrolled the

“Nobody wants to fail at

enforcement personnel

Security. “But we are an

outside of the center and

anything, and they took

and administrators to

open campus, and we

searched inside for two

it seriously,” he says.

be ready.

need to be prepared for

pretend “shooters.”

“This is serious, because


Ambulances armed with

you’re looking at 24,000

tested its emergency

paramedics tore to the

students, and their safety

preparedness with a

lation was held at the

scene to care for fake

is in our hands. We need

full-scale exercise during

Student Center on cam-

victims, and a Life Saver

to take every bit of this

which key responders

pus. Auburn city police

helicopter landed on the

seriously, every day of

practiced reacting to a

and firemen participated,

front lawn of the Nichols

our careers.”—Grace

campus shooting.

along with employees of

Center to practice trans-


It’s a campus’ worst

nightmare: an “active

The university recently

“We feel like Auburn

The emergency simu-

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Officers wearing

In the end, Corbett

BEHIND THE SCENES Having received his academic degrees in history, Youngblood eased into the communication field while pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, studying the development of military technology. In the process, he became involved with the university’s CNN World Report Television Archive and eventually moved into research and graduate work in communication. WHAT HIS STUDENTS MIGHT NOT KNOW:

“I enjoy playing guitar—I actually keep one in the office. I also enjoy leisurely motorcycle rides, though with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, there’s not much time to do that these days.”


Business sense A new professional- and career-development office in Auburn’s College of Business is now command central for recruiting, career education, training and other services. Students can learn how to search for a job, choose a career, and identify and network with potential employers.



Mapping the body In 1977, the field of radiology experienced a revolution when the magnetic resonance imaging machine began taking better pictures of the human body from the inside out. This fall, Auburn University will put Alabama on the imaging map by opening a $21 million MRI Research Center, located in Auburn Research Park on South College Street. Construction of the 45,000-squarefoot building began in January, with an expected completion date of September. Magnetic resonance imaging uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of organs, tissues and the skeletal system. The heart of the MRI machine is a large magnet whose strength is measured in Tesla, or T, and named for electrical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla.

The center is a joint effort of Auburn, Siemens Healthcare (which is building the MRI machines) and East Alabama Medical Center, says Larry Benefield, dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering. The collaboration is expected to advance Auburn to the forefront of the biomedical engineering industry, administrators say. The three-story facility will house a 3-Tesla scanner and a 7-Tesla scanner, which will be used by tenants including AU researchers, Siemens, EAMC, the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Lab, Auburn’s kinesiology department, the Auburn Spine and Neurosurgery Center, and Warren Innovation Inc. The center will be headed by Thomas Denney Jr. ’85, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Auburn.

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Quantifying the quake Structural engineering professor Justin Marshall and several academic colleagues traveled to Haiti following January’s magnitude-7 earthquake to assist the U.S. Southern Command. The team installed instruments to measure aftershocks and help pinpoint the earthquake’s epicenter; poor structural design was blamed for most of the deaths. The trip was sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey and the national Earthquake Engineering Research Institute.

and people safer.” The

tists are taking the hands

project began more than

out of dog handling: En-

three years ago when

gineering and veterinary

David Bevly, an associate

researchers are working

professor of mechani-

on a way to allow comput-

cal engineering at AU,

ers to issue commands to

secured funding through

dogs via remote control.

the Office of Naval

“To our knowledge,

Research. After years of

this is the first example

work, he and his students

of a computer issuing

effectively designed and

commands to control a

implemented a system

canine without a human,”

that uses pre-designated

says project leader

Global Positioning Sys-

Winard “Win” Britt ’04,

tem coordinates to direct

who received his Ph.D.

detector dogs. The dogs

in computer science and

are trained to respond

software engineering

to different tones and

from Auburn last year.

vibrations based on the

“People have mounted

coordinates’ direction.

sensors and equipment

“Animals are already

on canines before, but

equipped with a com-

humans have always

pletely natural sensor

been the controllers. The

suite that makes engi-

long-term implications

neers’ lives easier,” says

of this are huge, because

Jeff Miller, a doctoral

it means that canines

student in mechanical

could be sent on mis-

engineering. “We just

sions without humans,

can’t mimic a nose.”

keeping both canines

—Grace Henderson


Auburn University scien-


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Canine clickers

‘Type 3’ diabetes is gaining ground fast Scientists have known for years that obese men and women have an increased chance of developing Type 2 diabetes and that older people are at higher risk for cognitive impairment. An Auburn University researcher now has found a genetic link between obesity and Alzheimer’s. “In the past few years, clinicians have begun calling Alzheimer’s ‘Type 3 diabetes,’” says biologist Marie Wooten, AU associate dean for research. Wooten recently found that mice lacking a protein molecule in the brain called p62 are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s and more likely to be obese. The research holds promise for eventually developing treatments for both debilitating—and costly—conditions. Like many scientific discoveries, it came as a surprise. “When we deleted the p62 gene from mice, unexpectedly they became obese and memory-impaired, leading to insulin-resistance and Alzheimer’s-like symptoms,” says Wooten, whose work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “Our work revealed that p62 plays a critical role in receptor trafficking, which supports survival of neurons in the brain.” “Receptor trafficking” is a process in the brain that allows neurons, or nerve cells, to communicate information to each other. Alzheimer’s disease occurs when neurons deteriorate and die, causing memory loss. In future studies, Wooten plans to induce obesity in mice by feeding them fatty foods to increase their odds of developing diabetes, allowing Wooten to see whether increased levels of p62 protect the mice against Alzheimer’s. The mice also will be paired with mates that have human genes implicated in Alzheimer’s. Wooten plans to observe the mice as they age, comparing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease in the group against those mice with normal or reduced p62 levels. “If the increased p62 protein keeps the mice from getting the disease or delays the onset, we can start looking into ways to apply the findings in combating the disease in humans,” Wooten says. Old age is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. According to the National Institute on Aging, as many as 4.5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s, and that number is growing. Early symptoms include mild memory failure; later, severe brain damage occurs. Obesity puts sufferers at risk for insulinresistance and Type 2 diabetes, which affects 23.6 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Small steps Even a little exercise goes a long way toward preventing heart disease, says John Quindry, director of Auburn’s Cardioprotection Research Lab. Studies show that simply walking for 30 minutes three times a week helps prevent your ticker from damage.



Alabama’s pine decline Future teachers Alabama boasts about

importance of presenta-

320 agriculture teach-

tion skills. Eventually

ers, and 40 percent of

the program will include

them are about to retire.

dual-credit agriculture

Two Auburn professors

courses for high school

are working to make

students, but the real

sure there’ll be enough

goal is to light a fire

new ones to help stu-

under teenagers for

dents get back to their

going to college and


majoring in agricultural


When Brian Parr

joined Future Farmers

of America in 1987, it

a teacher shortage in

“We’re already in

changed his life. Now

several different areas,

the assistant professor

and agriculture is one of

of agriscience educa-

those,” Parr says. “This

tion is hoping he can

is kind of a recruiting ef-

do the same for others

fort to expose secondary

with a program dubbed

students to the career

“MATRIX for the Future:

of agriculture education

Premier Agriscience

and also to our College

Education Academy.”

of Education and Col-

Funded by the U.S. De-

lege of Agriculture.”

partment of Agriculture,

Parr and animal scienc-

program will do for high

es professor Don Mul-

schoolers what FFA did

vaney have developed

for him. “It gave me

agricultural and leader-

something to become a

ship seminars for high

part of and something to

school students across

belong to,” Parr recalls.

Alabama. The program

“It obviously changed

brings 30 students and

my life forever, because

their teachers to Auburn

here I am, 23 years

for a five-day seminar on

later, trying to bring

careers in agricultural

other kids into it for the

education, the technical

benefit it had for me.”

side of farming and the

—Grace Henderson

Remember when kudzu creep was a problem? Now there’s a new plant pest in the neighborhood: cogongrass, an Asian invader now spreading rapidly across Alabama and already ranking seventh on a list of the world’s worst weeds. It’s hard to kill and spreads like wildfire—it can even cause fires due to its combustibility. A team of Auburn scientists is looking for links between the increase in cogongrass and the decline of pine trees in the state—two biological phenomena that pose serious ecological and economic threats. Led by invasive-plant specialist Stephen Enloe, the researchers are trying to determine whether cogongrass is leading to “pine decline,” a syndrome jeopardizing the health and survivability of loblolly pine plantations statewide. Cogongrass has plagued southwestern Alabama for several decades but has spread rapidly since it hitchhiked around the state on vehicles and equipment whose owners assisted coastal residents after Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In the past six years, the weed has staked its claim

on 100,000 acres in 32 of Alabama’s 67 counties. Scientists also are looking at the impact of cogongrass on the longleaf pine, pine ecosystems and insect communities in pine forests. Forestry is Alabama’s top industry, and loblolly pines are a major player, accounting for 36 percent of the state’s 22.7 million acres of timberland. In recent decades, though, the health of many loblolly pine forests across the Deep South has deteriorated. “We know that cogongrass and the increased risk of intense fires it presents play havoc on a forest ecosystem’s natural vegetation, but no one has looked at whether there’s a cascading effect on the species and populations of insects,” Enloe says. “Our top goals are to find out how cogongrass infestations, as well as the herbicides and other management strategies being used to control the weed, alter insect diversity and abundance in those loblolly pine forests showing symptoms of pine decline.”

He hopes the MATRIX

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Agriculture Poultry science professor Patricia Curtis, past chair of the National Alliance on Food Safety, spent this spring as an Auburn University Presidential Fellow, working with administrators and faculty to develop a new interdisciplinary program called the Food Safety Initiative. The program is designed to expand and establish food-safety research projects on campus. … Henry Fadamiro, an associate professor of entomology and plant pathology who has published breakthrough research on the treatment of fire ants, has been named a fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London, the oldest and most esteemed organization of its kind. He also was named co-editor of the society’s journal, Physiological Entomology, marking the first time the publication has boasted a U.S. editor. COLLEGE OF

Architecture and the American Institute of Architects’ Housing & Custom Residential Knowledge Committee for their DESIGNhabitat program, an

ongoing collaboration between Auburn’s architecture school and the Alabama Association of Habitat Affiliates. Since 2001, AU’s architecture faculty and students have helped design and build high-quality, affordable housing across the region through affiliates of Habitat for Humanity. The program focuses on “learning by doing” as a training method for architectsto-be and cultivates the values of community engagement, leadership and service.

Architecture, Design and COLLEGE OF Construction Business Architecture faculty members David W. Hinson ’82, Frederick S. Norman Jr. and Justin Miller ’99 received the 200910 Housing Design Education Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of


University of Arkansas administrator Bill Hardgrave is leaving one of the “10 coolest labs” in the U.S. to serve as the College of Business’ new dean. Hardgrave is founder and executive director of the Information

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Technology Research Institute at Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business, which was named one of America’s “10 Coolest” by Network World in 2008.

Hardgrave’s research focuses on software development and radiofrequency identification, or RFID, which involves placing a small tag on a product for inventory management, tracking and pricing. He says he plans to work with the business school’s stakeholders “to create an environment of engaged scholarship, which will enhance the educational experience of our students, enlighten our research and boost the value of our outreach regionally, nationally and globally.” Hardgrave received a doctorate in management information systems from Oklahoma State University. He succeeds Paul Bobrowski, who is returning to the faculty on Aug. 1. COLLEGE OF

Education Betty Lou Whitford, dean of the College of

Education and Human Development and professor of education at the University of Southern Maine, has been named dean of the College of Education

effective Aug. 1. Whitford has taught courses for undergraduate and graduate students in initial teacher education programs as well as courses for master’s and doctoral students in school change, secondary curriculum, qualitative field research methods and research design. A consultant for numerous school districts, Whitford has served as an adviser to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Lucent Technologies Foundation, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education’s Professional Development Schools Standards Project, the U.S. Office for Educational Research and Improvement, the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Arts Education Partnership, the Appalachian Educational Laboratory and the Schlechty Center for Leadership in School Reform.


Engineering Junior chemical engineering major David Marshall Harris of Hoover is one of about 300 students nationwide chosen as a 2010 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, considered the most prestigious undergraduate award in the U.S. in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Harris is studying biomedical applications of chemical engineering, and his goal is to use polymer engineering to make a safer and more effective drug-eluting stent. Medicated stents help prevent blockages in patients with diseased coronary arteries. The Goldwater scholarship covers eligible expenses up to $7,500 annually for undergraduate tuition, fees, books and housing. Harris’ research has been guided by associate chemical engineering professor Mark Byrne. … Computer science and software engineering associate professor Richard Chapman and his students are creating applications for Apple’s iPhone that include a heart-rate monitor, a locationbased pedometer and a program that helps users keep track of their medications. “The iPhone is an important part of the wireless landscape, where the future of computing is

increasingly proving to be mobile devices,” says Chapman. “Because Auburn has the only wireless engineering program in the nation, our students are best equipped for jobs in this area.” Other students are developing games for so-called “smartphones.” SCHOOL OF

Forestry and Wildlife Sciences It might not be Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “forest primeval,” but Auburn’s “urban forest” has caught the attention of the Arbor Day Foundation. The organization recognized Auburn’s tree-filled campus, which the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences helps to maintain, in February with its “Tree Campus USA University” designation recognizing dedication to campus and forestry management and environmental stewardship. Auburn’s campus has almost 7,000 trees, including 974 planted last year alone.

Graduate School The Graduate School began a new colloquium series in April titled “Understanding Life and Culture in America.” The series kicked off with retired Auburn


Headed south Auburn agronomy-and-soils professor Beth Guertal will spend fall semester teaching turfgrass management and sustainable agriculture at the University of Mauritius as a Fulbright scholar. The small Indian Ocean island of Mauritius is located off the southeastern coast of Africa and is known for its tropical climate, beaches and world-renowned golf courses.

history professor Wayne Flynt speaking about Alabama and the origin of the civil rights movement. Flynt has written 11 books, including Poor but Proud: Alabama’s Poor Whites and Alabama in the 20th Century. He founded two community-service organizations, the Alabama Poverty Project and Perry County’s Sowing Seeds of Hope, and is the founding general editor of the online Encyclopedia of Alabama. COLLEGE OF

Human Sciences Katy Law ’01, director of Americas sales for Design Hotels, is the first College of Human Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award winner. A native of Bradenton, Fla., Law has worked as a sales director for the Berlin-based hospitality marketing firm for the past three years. She formerly served as an eventsmanagement intern for the United Nations, and her professional experience includes positions with Societe des Bains de Mer, the Consulate of Monaco and Mason Rose USA. Law was recognized at the college’s 2010 Hospitality Gala in March. Junior and senior hotel- and restaurant-management majors planned and executed the event.


Liberal Arts Conde Nast Portfolio columnist Howell Raines was one of five veteran news professionals receiving 2010 Auburn Journalism Honors Awards in April from the Auburn University Journalism Advisory Council in the College of Liberal Arts. Other honorees were the late Paul Hemphill ’59, a former Atlanta Journal columnist and author; John W. Stevenson ’70, editor and publisher of The Randolph Leader in Roanoke; George Smith, former sports editor and longtime columnist for The Anniston Star; and David White ’78, who has covered the Alabama legislature for The Birmingham News since 1989. Raines, a Birmingham native, was honored with the Distinguished Mass Media Achievement Award. He won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for his New York Times article about his rela-

tionship with his family’s black housekeeper during the segregation era and served as the paper’s executive editor for two years. Hemphill, who died last year, received the Distinguished AU Journalism Alumnus Award. He authored more than a dozen books after a long run as a newspaper reporter and columnist in Montgomery, Birmingham and Atlanta. Stevenson, who was named Distinguished Alabama Community Journalist, has headed The Randolph Leader in Roanoke since 1982. White received the Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism Award.

group’s initiatives, grant opportunities, conferences, publications, workshops and other member benefits. Pope earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University Montgomery in 1998 and advanced degrees from Samford University. He joined the Auburn faculty last year, and currently teaches psychiatric/ mental health nursing and serves as faculty adviser to the Student Nurses Association. Some 800 NLN ambassadors represent nursing schools in all 50 states and five countries.


Nursing The National League of Nursing has appointed assistant professor Stuart Pope to serve as its Auburn University campus ambassador, keeping faculty and administrators informed about the



Pharmacy students took to the dance floor in March, holding a high-school-promthemed fundraiser to benefit student travel to professional conferences. More than 140 student pharmacists donned formals and voted for “Mr. and Ms. Harrison School of Pharmacy.” The winners: students Ben Huluka and Lindsey Edwards, who were

crowned with green polka-dotted party hats. Other members of the “2010 HSOP Prom Court” were Mohammad Rahman, Emilee McConkey, J.P. Walker and Erica Glidewell. College Of

Sciences and Mathematics Chemistry and biochemistry assistant professor Wei Zhan has received a five-year, $580,000 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development award to conduct research on solar energy. Zahn’s research is designed to provide insight into a more efficient conversion of solar energy to electrical energy. Although solar energy has the potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, many current technologies are inefficient and costly. “Solar energy is essentially inexhaustible and doesn’t generate greenhouse gases,” Zhan says. “The traditional, silicon-based photovoltaic panels are very efficient and durable, but they are so expensive that they can’t replace fossil fuels yet as the major energy source. Low-cost alternatives are always welcome.” Although his research is still in its early stages, Zhan also plans to teach about alternativeenergy generation in his classes and conduct demonstrations.



Veterinary Medicine Vet medicine resident Marc Caldwell ’06 was one of five postgraduates presented with the 2010 Jeffrey W. Tyler Food-Animal Incentive Award from the Western Veterinary Conference at the group’s annual meeting in Las Vegas. Five awards are given each year to veterinarians engaged in a university or private-practice internship or residency in food-animal medicine, surgery, production medicine, theriogenology or epidemiology. After working in a mixed-animal veterinary practice in Georgia, Caldwell returned to Auburn to pursue a doctorate and began his residency last year. His research focuses on postexposure treatment of horses for anthrax, a bacterial disease most often found in cattle, sheep, horses and goats. … Jeanne Swanner Robertson ’67 was the keynote speaker at the 103rd annual Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Conference held in mid-April. The conference brings together veterinarians, technicians and others for seminars and class reunions. Robertson is the great-granddaughter of I.S. McAdory, the second dean of the veterinary school.

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Desperately seeking Swift Interview Naveenan Thiagarajan Doctoral student, mechanical engineering The 4-1-1 India native Naveenan Thiagarajan has

played cricket since he was a kid, so it seemed natural to keep up the sport after moving to America four years ago. He now serves as captain of Auburn’s cricket team, which became part of the university’s official club sports program in January.

Why did you decide to start an official Auburn cricket club? “It was prompted by a victory

at Mississippi State University’s Bulldawg Championship,” Thiagarajan says. Last year, the unofficial Auburn team won two tournaments, and two of its players, Prasanna Ravishankar and Rahul Potghan, were named All-Americans. The team also hosted its own tourney for the first time, the Tiger Cup, which Auburn won. The group decided the next logical step was to seek the university’s official stamp of approval. How’s this season going? “We competed in

the American College Cricket Championship in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in March.” Twenty-one college and university teams participated, even teams from Canada and the University of West Indies. Auburn finished with two wins and two losses. When’s the next Tiger Cup? “We’ll have it again

this year about September. We will make it bigger and grander than the last time.”


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What is cricket? “It can be most easily compared to baseball, except instead of four bases there are only two, and you run back and forth. Pitching is called bowling, and the bowler throws the ball toward the ground.”

Country/pop singer Taylor Swift has her share of fans among college-age guys, but only two are responsible for bringing country music’s “It” girl to campus for a surprise visit in April. Auburn University senior Michael Wekall, a history major from Matthews, N.C., and his friend Ryan Leander seized on a Swift interview quote—“if we all hugged more, the world would be a better place”—and decided no one was more deserving of hugs than themselves. They got the idea from a 2004 documentary, “My Date with Drew,” in which a broke, aspiring filmmaker depicts his month-long odyssey to win a date with his seemingly unattainable crush, actress Drew Barrymore. Wekall and Leander set their sights on obtaining hugs from Swift, creating a website (, Twitter feeds, several YouTube videos and a Facebook group that has attracted more than 1,600 followers. News of the pair’s obsession reached Swift, who took up the cause but challenged Wekall and Leander to earn their hugs by completing missions. She began communicating with them in March via her own website, initially requesting that the guys post a video of themselves helping an “old lady” cross the street. Done. In early April, Swift asked the guys to use her favorite number, 13, in a creative way. They responded by making 13 oneminute videos of themselves alternately doing good deeds and completing oddball gags, among them giving 13 doughnuts to a friend and flying a small plane over a field where 13 cars were arranged—you guessed it—to form the number 13. Swift’s third challenge came on April 25, when the singer requested that Wekall and Leander invite their friends to The Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center to film themselves singing karaoke. About 300 students showed up, unaware that Swift was waiting backstage. Moments later, the singer and her band bounded onstage for an impromptu mini-concert, which included a rousing “War Eagle” battle cry as well as Swift’s hit songs “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me.” Naturally, both Wekall and Leander received their hugs, along with a bonus peck on the cheek.

Free for all A few years ago, graduating Auburn students often received multiple job offers and even signing bonuses. Now more students are opting to accept unpaid internships after graduation just to get some professional experience. AU career counselor Katie Mantooth says post-grad internships are a good idea for those whose fulltime job prospects are temporarily dim. “If it means waitressing at night so you can get that experience during the day, that is worth it—you’re not wasting your time.”


Street walkers

Landscape architecture assistant professor Charlene LeBleu and her students are hitting the streets of Mobile, hoping to transform the city’s downtown into an eye-popping, flood-stopping, heat-dropping environmental zone. Funded by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, LeBleu’s team has studied downtown Mobile to determine its potential for a “green” makeover. She and her students now are working toward breaking ground on their plans; they hope to tackle some of the smaller projects first, including shrouding buildings’ walls and roofs with plants for insulation. They’d also like to redesign certain streets to build parks and plant trees for shade. LeBleu and her students hope to add cisterns to buildings as well, so that collected rainwater can be used to hydrate downtown plants and power the historic fountain in Bienville Square. The College of Architecture, Design and Construction professor says she hopes Mobile serves as an example for other Southeastern municipalities. “Mobile becomes the first,” she says. “There’s no reason why the template we create there cannot be used in every city in Alabama.” —Grace Henderson

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Syllabus COURSE NAME AVMG 3050 “Aviation Meteorol-

ogy: Severe and Hazardous Weather” INSTRUCTOR Ray Hamilton, associate professor of aviation policy, College of Business THE SCOOP The course features simulation

exercises designed to test students’ ability to predict and handle various weather disruptions and examines the economic effects of inclement weather on air transportation and other modes of travel. One simulation puts students in the Norman, Okla., Severe Weather Storm Lab, where they use charts to track a tornado. Groups of students may compete to see which team best predicts a storm.


WHO TAKES IT The class is required for junior

Getting noticed Hands in pockets and heads plugged with earbuds, students routinely ignore Auburn University’s “invisible population”—the Spanish-speaking grounds, construction and maintenance crews that keep their campus functional and pretty. AU Spanish professor Gilda Socarrás and Spanish/ political science major Taylor Baronich are trying to get the two groups talking. The pair has formed Closing the Gap, a student organization aimed at fostering communication between Auburn students and the town’s commu-


nity of immigrants. “It is vital for students to gain interaction with Hispanics and other immigrants for the culture exchange as well as alleviating negative stereotypes from both sides,” says Baronich, who hails from Madison, Miss. “Auburn students have few opportunities for relating to international citizens in the local community.” Members of Closing the Gap teach English-language classes twice a week at Vida Nueva Church in Auburn and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Opelika, and also host bilingual social hours. The group

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plans to hold a food drive, health fair and panel discussions. “By building a bond of trust and friendship, we are showing our immigrant population that they do not have to fear their surroundings and that we are not so unlike them in their goals and ambitions,” Baronich says. “Their own future looks a little brighter because they’re able to believe in themselves. I was absolutely thrilled to receive a thankyou letter written by Carlos, a student of the English classes. The awesome thing, though, was that he wrote it completely in English—something he was unable

to do a year ago.” Closing the Gap is working to establish a relationship between local immigrants and students, Baronich says, with the goal of getting students to reach out to those around them instead of silently passing by. “Many students will be working with Hispanics, Indians, Chinese and other nationalities in just a few years,” she says. “The ability to have interaction and exposure now will only help them form positive relationships with those of other cultural backgrounds in the future.”—Grace Henderson

aviation-management and professional flightmanagement majors. vocabulary word The term “katabatic wind” describes a gust of cold air moving down an incline beneath warmer, less dense air. Katabatic winds often occur in coastal areas characterized by high cliffs and chilly weather. They typically occur in Antarctica and can reach speeds of up to 250 mph. They’re also called “fall winds.” SUGGESTED READING Severe and Hazardous

Weather: An Introduction to High-Impact Meteorology (Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2005) by Robert M. Rauber, John E. Walsh and Donna J. Charlevoix

Bonjour, France Helen Hunter Robertson of Daphne, a senior in education and liberal arts majoring in foreign language education/French, was awarded a Fulbright-French Ministry of Education stipend to teach in the Toulouse area beginning this year.



Winning words

House calls Each semester, more than 400 pharmacy students travel up to 30 miles from the Auburn University campus to bring services directly to patients. Since 1997, all first-, second- and third-year pharmacy students have provided free health- and medication-monitoring services to people who are taking at least two medications and have at least one chronic health condition. “It’s very beneficial for our students to learn those skills of being a pharmacist besides just counting out pills and dispensing medication,” says program coordinator Kathy Kyle. “It allows not only the students, but us as a school, to provide outreach, to give back to the community and serve people who need it.” Students do blood-sugar and bloodpressure checks, help fill pill boxes, and answer questions about medications and their potential side effects. Patients range in age and economic status from teenagers to retired faculty. “One of the goals of the program is to give students the opportunity to interact with people in the community with chronic health issues,” Kyle says. “It teaches them about what it’s like to live with a diagnosis. It gives us more than just textbook learning.”—Grace Henderson

The Auburn Plainsman found itself at the top of the heap after besting more than 300 competitors from 32 schools in the region to be named “Best College Newspaper” by the Southeastern Journalism Conference in February. The Plainsman was followed by Emory University’s The Emory Wheel, Ole Miss’ Daily Mississippian, the University of Alabama’s Crimson White, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Kaleidoscope. “I was really excited for my staff and could not be prouder of them,” said Plainsman editor Lindsey Davidson. “They worked really hard throughout last semester and the entire year. I’ve been pushing them to try new design and photography and content. They’ve been working extra hours and putting in the extra effort. It’s because of their hard work that we received this award.” The Plainsman’s website (www.the placed eighth in the competition and two of the paper’s staffers walked away with individual awards. Managing editor Rod Guajardo received second place for Best Press Photographer, while news editor Ellison Langford finished ninth in the Journalist of the Year category.

“I didn’t expect to win, but it was definitely a nice reward for working so hard for this publication and trying to be the eyes of this campus and this community,” Guajardo said. Langford, who has served on the paper’s staff for a year, says the best part of the experience was being nominated for an award by her Plainsman colleagues. “To be chosen by the Southeastern Journalism Conference is one thing, but to have the people you work with and who know you best nominate you is worth so much more.” Since its inception in 1894, The Auburn Plainsman has won its share of accolades, including more Pacemaker awards, 23, than any college paper other than the University of Texas’ Daily Texan. The Pacemaker, awarded by the American Collegiate Press, is considered the Pulitzer Prize of the college journalism world. The Plainsman last won in 2005.—Grace Henderson

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine



todd van emst


Basketball Barbee

New head coach hopes to launch roundball renaissance As the weather warmed and football recruiting began in earnest, talk among Tigers fans in late spring turned to … basketball. The ink had barely dried on Auburn’s offer to hire University of Texas at El Paso basketball coach Tony Barbee before he’d sent a letter to AU students saying the time was ripe for a roundball renaissance on the Plains. “When I accepted this job I knew there would be challenges, but what struck me the most was the tremendous potential of this program, with everything Auburn has to offer,” he wrote. “The university, the community and the fan base are all topnotch, and the new state-of-the-art Auburn Arena demonstrates a commitment to this program that will help us take Auburn basketball to new heights.” Barbee, 38, brought his entire UTEP staff to Auburn, including assistant coach-


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

es Randall Dickey, Tony Madlock and Milt Wagner, and director of basketball operations Mike Babul. Barbee’s UTEP Miners averaged 20.5 wins per season, compiling a 26-7 record on the way to the 2010 Conference USA regular-season title and an NCAA tournament appearance. He succeeds Jeff Lebo, who accepted a head coaching job at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. Before his four-year stint at UTEP, Barbee spent six successful seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis, where he was considered one of the nation’s top recruiters. He’s also a man with a plan: You’re known as a top recruiter. What’s your recruiting philosophy? TB: The players here are my immediate goal. Change is never easy. It’s emotional.

They’ve been emotional, and I have been emotional. They’re evaluating me to see if it is the right fit for them; I’m evaluating them to see if they are the right fit for me. There is no question these men understand that Auburn University is a special place. We have already met as a team; hopefully, as I get time to meet with them individually, and they get to understand my philosophy and what I’m about, it will be an easy decision to retain our team and current recruits. There are two things I talked about with (AU athletic director Jay Jacobs) that I think are the most difficult things to do as a head coach in college basketball, and that’s scheduling and recruiting. We are going to go after and attract the best players in the country—the best that fit with me, Auburn University, with the Auburn family and what it stands for. We

Drafted The Houston Texans picked Tigers running back Ben Tate in the second round of the NFL draft in April, while teammate Walt McFadden, an Auburn defensive back, was chosen in the fifth round by the Oakland Raiders. Tate is fifth all-time at Auburn with 3,321 rushing yards and tied for sixth in school history with 24 rushing touchdowns. McFadden played in 49 career games at Auburn, starting in every game during his final two years. He finished with 87 career stops, 26 pass deflections and nine interceptions.

are not going to be afraid of going after the best players in the state of Alabama. We are not going to be afraid of going after the best players in the Southeast. We are not going to be afraid to go after the best players anywhere in the country. I promise you that. Not only will we be recruiting student athletes who I think can succeed here academically and athletically, we will be recruiting the media for exposure; we are going to be recruiting the community for support; and we are going to be recruiting the students, because my responsibility is to rekindle that love affair between the Auburn community, the Auburn family and this storied program. That is my challenge, and I accept it wholeheartedly.

Opposite: Auburn’s newest head coach played college hoops at the University of Massachusetts, then experienced life as a pro player in Spain and France. He and wife Holly have a daughter, Hayden Alexandra, and a son, Andrew Marsh.

What about scheduling?

TB: My scheduling philosophy is built on

How would you describe your style of play? TB: My style is based around one word: pressure. We’re going to pressure our opposing teams for 40 minutes starting on the defensive end of the floor. That’s where you win and compete for championships. I believe in a man-to-man, hard-nosed, inyour-face defense. We’ll play an up-tempo style that’s fun and exciting for the fans to watch, but it’s not helter-skelter; it’s not run-andgun. There’s a discipline you have to have to play at a pace I want to play at while limiting your turnovers. You have to be disciplined. At the same time, any good coach is going to base his style around the personnel he has at the time, and that’s part of the evaluation process I’m going to have to go through initially to figure out if we can employ this style immediately, or is it going to take time to build.

Can you have a winning basketball program at a football school? TB: Why can’t you? That’s not going to hold me back. I think it’s a wonderful, amazing thing the success football has had here at Auburn. I think it’s my job to embrace that success. It can only help what we are trying to accomplish in men’s basketball. There are some great examples around the country. There is one that comes to mind in this league, the University of Florida. Why can’t it be done here, too, when you look at everything this university has to offer? How will you get students to support Auburn basketball? TB: I’m going to make the students a part of this program just like I’m going to make this community a part of this program. That love affair has to be rekindled, and that’s my job. The support we get here is my responsibility. I’m challenging our fan base and our students: We need you. You have a direct impact on the outcome of games in this arena, and I need each and every one of you there every night, because there is not going to be a harder-working coach, a harder-working staff or a harder-working group of young men that are going to do it the right way, with class, with integrity, with passion, with heart, with desire. I’ve got a blueprint, because I faced similar challenges when I went to UTEP ... and we finished this year second in attendance in Conference USA. Our student section was sold out all season long. We finished the season with six straight sellouts in a 12,000-seat arena. Winning has a big part in that, but it’s not just winning.


The community and the students have to understand, and they’ll get a feel that I’m a part of this university, and I’m a part of this family and proud to be that way. When they feel that connection with me, then they won’t want to let me down, and they won’t want to disappoint me by not showing up and supporting this program. Any final thoughts on Tigers hoops? TB: When you talk about the great players, great teams, great coaches—Sonny Smith in 1986, one game away from a Final Four, Chuck Person, Wesley Person, Charles Barkley—there is a precedent with this program. And when you look at the Auburn Arena, why can’t it be done again? That is why I am here. There is no one who is going to outwork my staff and me. There is no one who is going to outwork my team. Every day, as the head men’s basketball coach of this program, I will work to make the former players proud and the Auburn family proud. In saying that, I will never lose sight of our main goal: making sure every single one of these men walk out of Auburn University with a degree that is going to put them on track for long-term success.—Andrew Sims Melissa humble

one thing: getting to the NCAA tournament. Every year I will evaluate my schedule, and it will be built around making sure we give ourselves the best chance. You connect our Southeastern Conference schedule with our non-conference schedule to give us the best strength to participate in that postseason tournament.

At what point did you know that Auburn was the right place for you? TB: It’s hard to pinpoint when that was exactly, but after meeting with Jay and the committee during the process, (and) as I’ve done my homework on Auburn University, it became recognizable to me very soon that this is a place I could not only build a team, but that I could sustain a program—a high-level program—because of the commitment the university has made to this men’s basketball program. ... Everything is in place for you to build and sustain a championship-level program.


a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine




A few good women Nominations are being accepted through June 30 for this year’s Pamela Wells Sheffield Award, which is presented annually to a woman who embodies selfless service and commitment to Auburn University and the Auburn family. The award was established in 1991 by the university president’s office and the athletics department. For details, contact Beverly DeVane at (334) 844-9523 or

Sports roundup Football

looked great. Obviously,

Junior quarterback Cam-

she would’ve liked to per-

eron Newton has sur-

form a little bit better, but

faced as the Tigers’ No.

we’re just really happy

1 quarterback coming

and proud of what she’s

out of spring practice,

done this season.”

head coach Gene Chizik announced in April.


“Obviously, he will have

At press time, the Tigers

a lot of work to do over

had amassed a 25-13

the summer and during

record overall with an

two-a-days to continue

8-7 Southeastern Con-

along this path,” Chizik

ference win-loss record.

said. “We fully expect

Junior first-baseman

our other quarterbacks

Hunter Morris continued

to continue to work hard

to mature as a hitter,

and compete with Cam

with a mid-season total

during the off-season

of 13 home runs and

and into fall camp.”

49 RBI.

Newton, who joined Auburn in January, was the


No. 1 overall junior col-

The Auburn women’s

lege prospect in 2009,

golf team finished fifth

according to,

and the men’s team sev-

and helped lead Texas’

enth in tough SEC cham-

Blinn College to last

pionship tournaments in

year’s NJCAA national

April. The women’s team

championship. A native

went into its tourney

of College Park, Ga., the

ranked third but came

6-foot-6-inch, 245-pound

in with an even-par 284

Newton passed for

in the final round played

2,833 yards and 22

at the North River Yacht

touchdowns while rush-

Club in Tuscaloosa. The

ing for 655 yards and 16

par-71 course played

scores this past season

at 6,057 yards for the

at Blinn.

tournament. The University of Alabama finished



atop the SEC, followed

Auburn junior gymnast

by Vanderbilt, Arkansas

Rachel Inniss competed

and Georgia. The men’s

for an NCAA champion-

team (287-859) shot

ship as an individual

7-over in the final round

qualifier in the floor

at the par-70, 7,055-

exercise, scoring a 9.7 in

yard Seaside Course in

rotation five. She placed

Sea Island, Ga. Senior

34th in section two of

Cole Moreland led the

the championship. “It

Tigers in a tie for 12th

was really a long day for

individually, followed by

her,” said associate head

sophomores Will Mc-

coach Rachelle Thomp-

Curdy and David Zickler,

son ’04. “We’re super

tied for 18th. The

proud of how far she’s

University of Georgia

come this year, and she

claimed the team title.

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

ESPN’S shooting Star When I called, college football analyst Lindsay McCormick ’09 was at a party at the W hotel and about to interview Terrell Owens for ESPN The Magazine, which actually wasn’t as big a deal for her as the time she talked to Kobe Bryant, or ooooh, that one time with Ron Artest, because she’s from Houston and was “a huge fan of his when he played for the Rockets.” But still—Venus Williams, Lil’ Kim, Mike Ditka, Pete Wentz spinning records, Vikings and Jets players everywhere … no, it wasn’t a good time to talk, even if it was just T.O. Later, answering interview questions on her cell phone in between A-list preparties on the Thursday night before the Super Bowl: If she thinks it’s all a bit surreal, or at least that her career thus far has been just a little meteoric, 22-year-old McCormick isn’t letting on. “I know what you mean,” she says, “but everyone tells me that once you break into this industry everything just falls into place and happens for you.” At least they do for attractive, sportsobsessed coed workaholics—she finished her coursework in three and a half years— with an enviable knack for being in the right place at the right time. In 2008 that was on the sidelines at the Auburn-LSU football game, which just happened to be that week’s ESPN Game Day location. “I worked for ‘Eagle Eye News’ as a sideline reporter and a postgame interviewer. ESPN saw me working, and I met the producers and we joked around. I said, ‘You

don’t happen to have an internship … ’” They had an internship. “Afterward, somehow my college demo reel was being passed around ESPN. I got called in for a screening test, and that led to where I am today.” In other words, employed in a highprofile job less than a year after graduating from Auburn with a communication degree—in the midst of the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression. McCormick visited the Plains as a high school senior in 2005 with what her dad called a 1 percent chance of actually enrolling that had everything to do with his wanting to keep his daughter in Texas. “When we came we were staying at The Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center, and it was Sunday, and we heard these church bells ringing and all these college kids were going to church ... I said, ‘Dad, I think this is where God wants me to be.’ And he said, ‘I do, too.’” If she needed confirmation—right place, right time—she got it pretty quick. The first person she met as an incoming freshman? Tigers defensive back Jerraud Powers, now a starting rookie cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, who was in Miami during Super Bowl week for a little gig of his own. “Yeah, I was actually supposed to see him last night before the game, but he couldn’t make it to South Beach.” Of course, they’ll probably have plenty of years to catch up on the sidelines. —Jeremy Henderson ’04/The War Eagle Reader. Reprinted/adapted with permission.



todd van emst

The athlete’s

guide to life

Swimming upstream It would be easy to be disappointed in this year’s swimming-and-diving season, in which the Tigers finished with a No. 6 national ranking. After all, the men’s team has brought home the national championship six of the last 10 years. But while head coach Brett Hawke acknowledged “it was a tough year,” the team continues an important streak, placing in the top 10 nationally every year since 1993. Perennial rival University

of Texas took home the win at this year’s NCAA Men’s Swimming-and-Diving Championship, held in April at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion at Ohio State University. Rounding out the top five ahead of Auburn were the universities of California, Arizona and Florida, plus Stanford University. “Our finish in this meet really summarized the whole season for us,” Hawke said. “We’re going to take a break and regroup. We know we’re a good team,

and we’ll come back stronger next year.” During the meet, AU athletes racked up 39 All-America honors, and 10 competed in a championship final. Senior Gideon Louw and sophomore Adam Brown represented the Tigers in the 100 free championship final, marking the eighth year in a row that Auburn athletes have competed in that race. Louw swam a season-best time of 42.06 to take third in the event, besting his finish from last year’s meet by five

spots. Brown, swimming in his first-ever NCAA meet, earned fourth in 42.36. His time of 42.33 in the preliminaries was a career best. Senior Adam Klein finished third in the 200 breaststroke, while senior diver Kelly Marx, the 2010 Southeastern Conference Diver of the Year, finished fourth overall with a personal best in the final diving event of his college career. Swimmer Jordan Anderson was named an SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

On university campuses—especially those boasting NCAA Division I athletics—a jock’s level of fame may fall between that of a rock star and a D-list celebrity, depending on his or her talent and future prospects. But an athlete’s college career isn’t all redcarpet autograph sessions, sports practices and cheering crowds. Enter A Student Athlete’s Guide to College Success: Peak Performance in Class and Life (Wadsworth/Cengage, 2010). The book, written by psychologist Doug Hankes ’85 and co-authors Trent A. Petrie and Eric L. Denson, is a how-to manual for athletes who want to graduate from college and succeed off the field. “A lot of students view athletes as having everything handed to them on a plate,” says Hankes, director of Auburn University’s Student Counseling Center. “In some respects, some things are easier, like class schedules. But the demand on student athletes’ time is huge. They really have very little life outside academics. Everything revolves around their sport.” The book includes chapters on time management, goal setting, critical thinking, and classroom and relationship skills, plus profiles of current student athletes and motivational quotes. “I think it’s a pretty interesting read,” says Hankes. “We wanted it to be engaging, so the students wouldn’t be totally bored when they’re reading about study skills.” Student athletes’ jam-packed schedules and heightened campus profiles often compete with their ability to have a typical student experience. Hankes and his coauthors, who are also professional counselors, are hoping to change that. Petrie is director of the Center for Sport Psychology at the University of North Texas, and Denson heads clinical training at Western Washington University’s counseling center. “We’re trying to help student athletes find balance in a very imbalanced life,” Hankes says. “Being a student athlete is tough, and this book helps them navigate that difficult path.”—Grace Henderson

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine



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Why does the robin have a red breast? What’s the reason a goldfinch isn’t always gold? Binoculars cocked, Auburn University ornithologist Geoffrey Hill examines life and love among the feathered set. b y s u z a n n e j o h n s o n

In Living Color The color and quality of a peacock’s feathers can indicate his age, vigor and social standing; peahens may consider several choices before picking a suitor. A peacock’s color comes from the way light reflects off his feather structure. In other species, pigments may determine feather color.

A tiny nesting house finch, no bigger than your thumb, jostles for position in her nest behind a gutter on the side of a dorm on the Auburn University campus. Only a few days old, she’s all pink skin and hunger: head crowned by a soft patch of down, eyes closed and sightless. Mother remains close while father bird takes wing in search of food. He returns, hovering, with dandelion seeds and a cookie crumb subconsciously scattered by a latent predator of the human sort. Within a week, baby girl’s downy feathers are growing, and she assumes the brownish-gray color of the family’s nest. When the parents are away hunting or otherwise occupied with the details of survival, she and her brothers alternately nap and chirp, signaling time for their next meal. Finally, her black eyes crack open, and she begins to see

illustration S B Y jonathan alderfer

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the world as a magical place of color and movement. Peeking over the nest’s edge, maturing with each passing day, she spots a human watching. She stares back.


iologist Geoff Hill spends a lot of time watching birds—always has. As a kid in Ohio, his mother, an English teacher, would smile as he trudged outside toting his binoculars, birding guide and notebook, fully focused on exploring the world as children will do. On rainy days, he’d mine his 64-pack of Crayola crayons, carefully discerning the difference between various shades of green, among them pine, forest, fern and mountain meadow. So no one was surprised when he made a career out of studying birds: In hindsight, even his specialty—bird coloration—wasn’t much of a shock. But Hill himself never guessed that his discoveries about bird ornamentation would end up making him one of the world’s foremost authorities on the topic. Until this spring, Hill’s four books and nearly 200 published articles—on such mysteries as why bluebirds are blue and males tend to be more visually brilliant than females—remained fodder for like-minded academicians and scientists. Which he thought was a shame. So, two years ago, with the dogged determination of a true zealot, he began looking for a way to proselytize on pigmentation to a lay audience, preaching the gospel of color and how it affects the complex life of a creature as seemingly ordinary as a house finch. The resulting book, Bird Coloration, published by the National Geographic Society in March, offers ordinary mortals a richly nuanced window on the avian world.

Baby girl finch is two weeks old now and almost the size of her parents. Her first growth of feathers has formed, although, like a kid’s cowlick, telltale bits of fluff betray her youth. Gray-brown and richly patterned, she blends with the branches. This isn’t the time to stand out from the crowd.


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For the past few days she’s been moving about the nest, flexing her wings, peering longingly at the ground. Temptation. Fear. Finally, she hops to the nest’s edge. Urged on by her parents, she hops shakily into the abyss, frantically flaps her wings and—yes!—she’s aloft, at least for a moment, landing awkwardly on the ground. So far, so good. Having worked up an appetite, she looks for mom, dad and food. In the quest for sustenance, humans are ignored. Later, she tests her wings again and finds a high branch upon which to perch. She chirps to the others in her flock. But now she sees that one human being—that guy—again. He’s still watching, along with others like him, younger maybe. She stares at them, wary and unsure.


tudents who work with Geoff Hill find house finches, while predictable and, yes, a tad mundane, much less frustrating than, say, the yellow-rumped warbler, which in reality may or may not have a yellow rump. The latter are an identification nightmare: Some have black stripes, while others appear brown and dull depending on season, age and diet. “By the end of the first field trip or two, (students) all loathe yellow-rumped warblers,” Hill writes in his book. “Sometimes they suspect I’m fooling them when I keep using the same species name for birds that look so different.” It’s the point of the lesson, though, this fact: The color of birds is more than feather-deep. Plumage color tells scientists and experienced bird watchers a lot about a bird’s gender and even its position on the avian Opposite: Biologist social ladder. Hill wrote Hill has a par- Geoffrey academic tomes on ticular soft spot for bird coloration before house finches, and authoring a book on the for lay readers. he’s researched their topic His other books include coloring and habits A Red Bird in a Brown more extensively Bag, which details the plumage particulars than any other spe- of the house finch, and cies. “They’re easy Ivorybill Hunters: Search Proof in a Flooded to spot, and they go for Wilderness, a fun read about their lives about his ongoing openly, ignoring search for the world’s the humans around rarest bird.

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine





them,” he notes. “(Finches) also have many of the variations in color that we find so interesting.” They’re also a little like us. The house finch is monogamous: Mated pairs build their cup-shaped nests together and share household responsibilities such as feeding the kids and keeping the nest clean. Finches can be aggressive when it comes to finding food and eating it; backyard birdfeeders act as little fast-food outposts, attracting fly-through traffic year-round. Alabama’s house finches don’t tend to migrate, often spending much of their eight-year average lifespan in a relatively small area. All of that doesn’t much interest Hill, though, except as it pertains to his research on bird coloration. “Humans tend to think of birds as monochromatic creatures,” he notes. “When cartoon birds are invented, they are rarely imagined as males and females having different plumage.” In fact, pop culture is rampant with misinformation about bird color, Hill complains. Most viewers of the Disney classic “Cinderella,” for example, might be able to accept that the title character’s bluebird friends are identical to each other, but Hill isn’t buying it: In reality, more than half of all birds are what he calls “sexually dichromatic”—meaning males and females differ in color. Birds also change hues from season to season as they molt, their bodies substituting new feathers for damaged or aging ones on a regular schedule. In winter, the color of new feathers might appear muted to help camouflage a bird against a stark winter landscape. During mating season, feathers grow bright and vibrant. Think red-light district. “It is always hard to break the news to my undergraduates that the striking black and yellow coloration of the male American goldfinch—so prominently displayed in their field guides—is not what American goldfinches look like in the fall and winter in Alabama,” he says. “In winter, goldfinches are drab, brownish-yellow birds. Like many other species, they undergo a remarkable transformation twice each year as they change back and forth between seasonal plumages.” Color also ebbs and flows with age. Adolescent birds are shaded differently than their parents, which protects them


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from rivals eager to score others’ mates and territories. The kids get a free pass, at least for a while.

As a teenager, baby girl finch practices her social skills, improves her food-gathering ability and begins scouting nesting areas of her own. One day, another group of finches flies into her family’s air space near the center of campus. The adults, especially the men, take exception to the invasion, fighting and squawking, snapping their beaks and taking chase. Eventually the invaders are ousted, and her attention is drawn to the ground again, where the man and his human flock have been documenting the fuss. Are the contraptions they carry—black cylinders in attached pairs, something to do with their eyes—edible?


bird’s world isn’t easy even though we occasionally try to help, charming ourselves by providing them with baths, houses and feeders. Our winged friends are territorial, and theirs is a violent society. “Birds live in a world of perpetual, often fierce, competition,” Hill says. “In most cases the rules are simple: Take what you can for yourself, your mate and your offspring. Take no pity on competitors.” Birds rise to the top of the pecking order—literally—by brute force. They fight for territory, provisions, shelter, social standing, mates and more, the color of their plumage often signaling their battle readiness. The darker a male bird’s hue, the more likely he is to provoke aggression by other dominant males. Rich shades—especially those with lots of Opposite: Most green coloring in birds stems black pigment— from a combination are status sym- of yellow pigment and feather structure, bols in the avian blue but the white-cheeked coterie, as are turaco sports brilliant large patches of green body feathers by a rarer color. Lighter-hued shaded copper-based pigment birds, who might called turacoverdin. be weaker due to The turaco, a scarce African forest bird, diet or physical primarily eats fruit. problems, are re-




garded as non-threatening among others of their kind, so “alpha birds” tend to leave them alone. Want a quick look at social status among a flock? Hang out in a McDonald’s parking lot. “Restaurants with attendant flocks of house sparrows are great places to observe dominance related to color,” Hill says. “As sparrows come to food scraps, note which sex gets the biggest morsels and, among the males, note how the birds with larger and smaller throat patches fare. You should observe males besting females and large-patched males dominating small-patched males.”

It’s been a year since baby girl finch was born, and she’s a young lady now. Her round black eyes gaze sharply from a mottled brown-and-gray mug—her eyesight beats human vision by a mile, absorbing a broad spectrum of ultraviolet hues. Her world is visually rich beyond her stalkers’ imagination. Tucking her fudge-and-beige-striped wings against her body, she turns her mind to more interesting things. Specifically, a trio of male finches perched in some nearby trees. Marked by brightly colored adult breeding plumage, these guys are on the make. Spotting her, they preen and posture, jostling for a spot where the sunlight hits their bodies at just the right angle. Girl finch rejects the one with yellow feathers right off the bat. His appearance suggests he isn’t healthy, and that’s not attractive. Sensing a weakling, the other two males—redheads—eventually chase him away. Now it’s down to two. One of the boys has a nice red crown, but the patch of color on his chest is more pink than ruby. He pales, in fact, beside the guy on the next branch, whose crown and chest are a rich, brilliant red. She finds him dazzling and flits over to roost nearby. She pecks at his beak and he preens for a moment, savoring victory before hopping to the ground. He finds a nice, fat dandelion seed, feeding it to her enticingly. They eat, make finch eyes and notice the humans below, the avian version of dinner and a movie.

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n avian culture, when it comes to courtship the most flamboyant man wins; women blend into the background. As breeding season approaches, males sport gaudy feathers and bright ornamentation. “A pattern seen in many bird families is to grow brightly colored ornamental feathers for courtship and breeding, and then to molt into a much drabber plumage for the nonbreeding period,” Hill explains. “After breeding, bill, eye and leg coloration often changes from colorful and striking to drab and inconspicuous.” One of the most spectacularly decorated male birds is the peacock, whose tailfeathers drove naturalist Charles Darwin to tears. Having just published On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection, he didn’t understand how the peacock’s sensational tailfeathers contributed to the bird’s longevity; in fact, it seemed as though a peacock’s showiness would likely endanger the bird by drawing attention to it. Finally, the frustrated evolution theorist concluded that a male peacock’s gaudiness might have no purpose other than to make him irresistible to females. Darwin labeled the process “sexual selection”; his 19th-century colleagues thought he was nuts. “Humans were walking on the moon before most biologists began to take Darwin’s ideas about mate choice seri-

ously,” Hill says. Below: A dramatic “Sexual selection closeup of the blueacting through and-yellow macaw the cover of female choice fi- illustrates Auburn scientist Geofnally gained wide frey Hill’s new book. acceptance as a Each macaw’s striping is as unique as reasonable expla- pattern a human fingerprint. nation for orna- Right: Alumnus Matmental traits like thew Shawkey ’05 and colleagues have figured bird coloration out the plumage color when a series of of prehistoric birds. behavioral studies confirmed that female fish and birds of some ornamented species prefer more colorful males.” Much of Hill’s career has been spent studying female mate choice in the house finch, conducting experiments both in the wild and in captivity. “Females definitely find the redder males sexier,” he notes, adding that the rosy color likely arises from pigments in food—the redder the feathers, the better the diet; the better the diet, the more likely the male finch will be able to provide for his wife and children. “Mate choice is serious business for female birds,” Hill says. “The male that a female selects to sire her young and be her partner during nesting can have a huge impact on her reproductive success. For some birds, choosing a mate is a bigger decision than where to nest, when to nest or how many eggs to lay.” Ornithologists have identified three “payoffs” for female birds that choose a brightly colored mate: food, protection and good genes. “It’s called the ‘sexy son’ hypothesis,” Hill explains. “If colorful plumage makes offspring more attractive as mates when they mature, then young sired by attractive males will inherit the attractive appearance and will be more successful at gaining mates.” Sound familiar?

Girl finch attends her babies in a nice nest in some dense bushes along the Auburn quad and awaits her man, who is off trying to find them all something to eat. She assesses her kingdom, noticing that her human watcher has left for the day, along with the others. She twitches, flutters and turns again to her chicks. Maybe the humans have their own mouths to feed.


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Dino-might With up to 10 graduate students working in his lab at any given time, ornithologists who’ve cut their scientific teeth working with Auburn’s Geoffrey Hill are now taking wing in the field of avian research. One alumnus recently gained mainstream media attention for changing the way we think about prehistoric birds. When Yale University evolutionary biologist Richard O. Prum discovered existing melanosomes, or pigment sacs, in the fossils of feathered dinosaurs—precursors of today’s birds—he turned to University of Akron biologist Matthew Shawkey ’05, who has extensively investigated the patterns of melanosomes within bird feathers. The pair took melanosome samples from different parts of an Anchiornis huxleyi fossil and recreated a portrait of the birdlike dinosaur that is widely viewed as the evolutionary link between the earliest birds and those we commonly see in our backyards. In the meantime, the scientists created a whole new field of study. Shawkey had met Prum earlier, when he began looking for a link between the shape of melanosomes and their colors. In fossils, only the shape of the melanosome can be detected. He found the link, and Anchiornis huxleyi came to life. “We had some idea of what it would look like,” Shawkey says. “We thought the black feathers would have rod-shaped, tube-like melanosomes and the brown feathers would have meatball-shaped melanosomes.” Scientists now have real evidence of what color dinosaurs were when they roamed the Earth. Previously, the color of di-

nosaurs was little more than a figment of illustrators’ imaginations. Shawkey’s work determined that Anchiornis huxleyi actually sported a dramatic pattern of black and white feathers on its wings and legs as well as a brilliant red ruff atop its head. The scientists’ findings, which Prum likened in The New York Times to “writing the first entry in a Jurassic field guide to feathered dinosaurs,” has opened a new area of study for scientists as they begin to look at other dinosaur fossils. The scientists’ findings appeared in Science journal. Shawkey now wants to try to determine the coloration of non-feathered dinosaurs as well as other ancient birds and mammals. “We want to see if we can reconstruct the hair color on mammals and look at dinosaur skin color as well. T. rex is always shown as green or grey, but if we’re lucky we’ll be able to reconstruct its skin color as well.” —Suzanne Johnson

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On average, Auburn’s 2009 freshman class scored higher on the ACT college admission exam than any other incoming class on the Plains. Are you smarter than an Auburn freshman? Take our practice quiz to find out. by betsy robertson

ACT Now It’s a rite of passage for college-bound teenagers: Last year, more than 1.4 million American high school students took the standardized ACT test in hopes of getting accepted to their first-choice colleges. Nationally, the average ACT score in fall 2009 was 21.1, compared to an average score of 26.2 among Auburn’s 4,000 freshmen. The ACT exam attempts to measure what students have learned in preparation for their college courses, and it’s tough: Less than a quarter of test-takers last year achieved the minimum score (as suggested by the testing organization) required for students to have the best chance of success in basic college courses such as English composition, algebra, social sciences and biology. The three-hour test consists of 215 multiple-choice questions covering four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading and science. And if that’s not enough for a kid to handle, there’s an optional writing portion in which test-takers must compose an essay elucidating a position on an issue relevant to high school students. All of which begs the question: Could you still get into Auburn today? Go on, take our 20-question sample test below. Your scores will remain confidential.

English My Father’s Garden When I was a boy growing up in Delhi, India, we had a kitchen garden behind our downstairs apartment. My father was an avid gardener, he still is:1 and every Sat-

urday morning he would put on his work clothes, pick up his hoe and trowel, and would head 2 out the back door. As a ten-year-old, I was supremely unenthusiastic about swinging a hoe in the garden when I could be out playing with my friends. Having tried and failed,4 my father was unable to make a gardener of me. I had no qualms, of course,5 about enjoying the results of his labor: the potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and cauliflower that he pursued 6 out of the earth. I would even help him dig out the potatoes or cut a cucumber from its vine. To me, it was much more fun to reap than sowing.7 1.

A. NO CHANGE B. gardener—he still is— C. gardener, he still is— D. gardener and he still is

2. F. NO CHANGE G. picked up his hoe and trowel, and headed H. pick up his hoe and trowel, and head J. picking up his hoe and trowel, and headed

D. a crucial link to the following paragraph. 4. Which of the following choices best emphasizes how much the father wanted his son to share his avid inter- est in gardening? F. NO CHANGE G. Because of my indifference to his hobby. H. Contrary to his thinking. J. Despite his repeated attempts. 5. A. NO CHANGE B. More important, I had no qualms C. It stands to reason, then, that I certainly would have no qualms D. I had no qualms, as a conse- quence of it, 6.

F. NO CHANGE G. coaxed H. surrendered J. enlisted

7. A. NO CHANGE B. the most fun to reap than to sow. C. much more fun to reap than to sow. D. the most fun reaping than if I’d had to sow.

3. If the word Saturday were deleted from the second sentence, the essay would primarily lose: A. evidence that the father was an Math avid gardener. B. a detail that changes the meaning 8. What is the degree measure of the acute angle formed by the hands of a 12 of the sentence. hour clock that reads exactly 1 o’clock? C. support for a point made earlier.

I llustration by J ames Y ang

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A. 15° B. 30° C. 45° D. 60° E. 72°

9. What is the probability that a number selected at random from the set {2, 3, 7, 12, 15, 22, 72, 108} will be divisible by both 2 and 3? 1 F. ⁄4 3 G. ⁄8 3 H. ⁄5 5 J. ⁄8 7 K. ⁄8 10. A circle has a circumference of 16 feet. What is the radius of the circle, in feet? A. 8 B. 4 C. 8 D. 16 E. 32 11.

A rectangle with a perimeter of 30 centimeters is twice as long as it is wide. What is the area of the rectangle in square centimeters? F. 15 G. 50 H 200 J. 3 15 K. 6 15

12. In the standard (x,y) coordinate plane, what are the coordinates of the mid point of a line segment whose end points are (-3,0) and (7,4)? A. (2,2) B. (2,4) C. (5,2) D. (5,4) E. (5,5)

Reading Prose fiction: This passage is adapted from the novel The Men of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor (©1998 by Gloria Naylor) Clifford Jackson, or Abshu, as he preferred to be known in the streets, had committed himself several years ago to use his talents as a playwright to broaden the horizons for the young, gifted, and black—which was how he saw every child milling around that dark street. As head of the community center he went after every


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existing grant on the city and state level to bring them puppet shows with the message to avoid drugs and stay in school; and plays in the park such as actors rapping their way through Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Abshu believed there was something in Shakespeare for everyone, even the young of Brewster Place, and if he broadened their horizons just a little bit, there might be enough room for some of them to slip through and see what the world had waiting. No, it would not be a perfect world, but definitely one with more room than they had now. The kids who hung around the community center liked Abshu, because he never preached and it was clear that when they spoke he listened; so he could zero in on the kid who had a real problem. It might be an offhand remark while shooting a game of pool or a one-on-one out on the basketball court, but he had a way of making them feel special with just a word or two. Abshu wished that his own family could have stayed together. There were four of them who ended up in foster care: him, two younger sisters, and a baby brother. He understood why his mother did what she did, but he couldn’t help wondering if there might have been a better way. Abshu was put into a home that already had two other boys from foster care. The Masons lived in a small wooden bungalow right on the edge of Linden Hills. And Mother Mason insisted that they tell anybody who asked that they actually lived in Linden Hills, a more prestigious address than Summit Place. It was a home that was kept immaculate. But what he remembered most about the Masons was that it seemed there was never quite enough to eat. She sent them to school with a lunch of exactly one and a half sandwiches—white bread spread with margarine and sprinkled with sugar—and half an apple. When Abshu dreamed of leaving— which was every day—he had his own apartment with a refrigerator overflowing with food that he gorged himself with day and night. The Masons weren’t mean people; he knew he could have ended up with a lot worse. Abshu lived with these people for nine years, won a scholarship to a local college, and moved out to support himself through school by working in a doughnut shop. By this time his mother was ready

to take her children back home, but he decided that since he was already out on his own he would stay there. One less mouth for her to worry about feeding. And after he graduated with his degree in social work, he might even be able to give her a little money to help her along. One thing he did thank the Masons for was keeping him out of gangs. There was a strict curfew in their home that was rigidly observed. And church was mandatory. “When you’re out on your own,” Father Mason always said, “you can do whatever you want, but in my home you do as I say.” No, they weren’t mean people, but they were stingy—stingy with their food and with their affection. Existing that way all the time, on the edge of hunger, on the edge of kindness, gave Abshu an appreciation for a life fully lived. Do whatever job makes you happy, regardless of the cost; and fill your home with love. Well, his home became the community center right around the corner from Brewster Place and the job that made him most fulfilled was working with young kids. The kids who hung out at the community center weren’t all lost yet. They wanted to make use of the tutors for their homework; and they wanted a safe place to hang. His motto was: Lose no child to the streets. And on occasion when that happened, he went home to cry. But he never let his emotions show at work. To the kids he was just a big, quiet kind of dude who didn’t go looking for trouble, but he wouldn’t run from it either. He was always challenged by a new set of boys who showed up at the center. He made it real clear to them that this was his territory—his rules—and if they needed to flex their muscles, they were welcome to try. And he showed many that just because he was kind, it didn’t mean he was weak. There had to be rules someplace in their world, some kind of discipline. And if they understood that, then he worked with them, long and hard, to let them see that they could make a difference in their own lives. 13. The point of view from which the passage is told can best be described as that of: A. a man looking back on the best years of his life as director of a community center in a strife ridden neighborhood. B. a narrator describing his experi-


ences as they happen, starting with childhood and continuing through his adult years as an advocate for troubled children. C. an unidentified narrator describ- ing a man who devoted his life to neighborhood children after his own difficult childhood. D. an admiring relative of a man whose generosity with children was widely respected in the neighborhood where he turned around a declining community center.

teorite craters. Europa’s surface ice shows evidence of being continually resmoothed and reshaped. Cracks, dark bands, and pressure ridges (created when water or slush is squeezed up between two slabs of ice) are commonly seen in images of the surface. Two scientists express their views as to whether the presence of a deep ocean beneath the surface is responsible for Europa’s surface features. Scientist 1: A deep ocean of liquid water exists on Europa. Jupiter’s gravitational field produces tides within Europa that can cause heating of the subsurface to a point 14. It can reasonably be inferred from where liquid water can exist. The numer the passage that which of the ous cracks and dark bands in the surface following is a cherished dream that ice closely resemble the appearance of Abshu expects to make a reality in his thawing ice covering the polar oceans on lifetime? Earth. Only a substantial amount of cir F. Establishing himself financially so culating liquid water can crack and rotate as to be able to bring his original such large slabs of ice. The few meteorite family back under one roof craters that exist are shallow and have G. Seeing the children at the commu- been smoothed by liquid water that oozed nity center shift their interest up into the crater from the subsurface and from sports to the dramatic arts then quickly froze. H. Building on the success of the Jupiter’s magnetic field, sweeping past community center by opening Europa, would interact with the salty, deep other centers like it throughout ocean and produce a second magnetic field the state around Europa. The spacecraft has found J. Expanding for some, if not all, of evidence of this second magnetic field. the children the vision they have of themselves and their futures Scientist 2: No deep, liquid water ocean exists on Europa. The heat generated by 15. It can be reasonably inferred from the gravitational tides is quickly lost to space passage that Abshu and the Masons because of Europa’s small size, as shown would agree with which of the follow- by its very low surface temperature (-160° ing statements about the best way to C). Many of the features on Europa’s sur raise a child? face resemble features created by flowing A. For a child to be happy, he or she glaciers on Earth. Large amounts of liquid must develop a firm basis in reli- water are not required for the creation of gion at an early age. these features. If a thin layer of ice below B. For a child to be fulfilled, he or the surface is much warmer than the sur she must be exposed to great face ice, it may be able to flow and cause works of art and literature that cracking and movement of the surface ice. contain universal themes. Few meteorite craters are observed be C. For a child to thrive and be a cause of Europa’s very thin atmosphere; responsible member of society, surface ice continually sublimes (changes he or she must develop a sense from solid to gas) into this atmosphere, of discipline. quickly eroding and removing any craters D. For a child to achieve greatness, that may have formed. he or she must attach importance to the community and not to the 16. Which of the following best describes self. how the two scientists explain how craters are removed from Europa’s surface? Science A. Scientist 1: Sublimation Unmanned spacecraft taking images of Scientist 2: Filled in by water Jupiter’s moon Europa have found its B. Scientist 1: Filled in by water surface to be very smooth with few me- Scientist 2: Sublimation


C. Scientist 1: Worn smooth by wind Scientist 2: Sublimation D. Scientist 1: Worn smooth by wind Scientist 2: Filled in by water 17. According to the information provid ed, which of the following descrip tions of Europa would be accepted by both scientists? F. Europa has a larger diameter than does Jupiter. G. Europa has a surface made of rocky material. H. Europa has a surface temperature of 20°C. J. Europa is completely covered by a layer of ice. 18. Scientist 2 explains that ice sublimes to water vapor and enters Europa’s atmosphere. If ultraviolet light then broke those water vapor molecules apart, which of the following gases would one most likely expect to find in Europa’s atmosphere as a result? A. Nitrogen B. Methane C. Chlorine D. Oxygen 19. Based on the information in Scientist 1’s view, which of the following mate rials must be present on Europa if a magnetic field is to be generated on Europa? F. Frozen nitrogen G. Water ice H. Dissolved salts J. Molten magma 20. Assume Scientist 2’s view about the similarities between Europa’s surface features and flowing glaciers on Earth is correct. Based on this assumption and the information provided, Earth’s glaciers would be least likely to ex hibit which of the following features? A. Pressure ridges B. Cracks C. Meteorite craters D. Dark bands


1.B, 2.H, 3.B, 4.J, 5.A, 6.G, 7.C, 8.B, 9.G, 10.C, 11.G, 12.A, 13.C, 14.J, 15.C, 16.B, 17.J, 18.D, 19.H, 20.C

Sample questions reprinted with permission from ACT Inc.

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Alive for most of the 20th century, 103-yearold William “Doc” Holley has an API diploma made of actual sheepskin and still holds a valid driver’s license. What’s the key to his longevity? Read on. b y c a n d i c e d y e r

Oldest Living Auburn Alumnus Tells All In 1907, the year Doc Holley was born, the New York Stock Exchange fell 50 percent from its previous peak and sent the U.S. into a financial crisis that became known as the 1907 Bankers’ Panic. The Federal Reserve System was created, theoretically, to avert another such crisis.

William Howard “Doc” Holley ’29 stands as straight as a poplar, and his handshake is firm but flexible. “I’ve still got some mind,” says the Headland resident, as if there were any doubt. “Most people my age have already gone crazy.” Not that he has many contemporaries with whom to compare notes. Dressed in a starched oxford shirt and dress slacks, with several 1950s-style fedoras handy for trips outdoors, he’s gimlet-eyed and mischievous, silently daring anyone to patronize him, to pet and cosset him like some frail, dotty old-timer.

Photographs by Jeff Etheridge

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At 103, Holley is more functional and formidably acute than those of us half or even a quarter his age. He lives alone, makes his bed every morning, cooks breakfast, keeps up with the news and stays busy researching his family tree. He has a crackerjack memory for names, dates and landmarks—just ask about the “begats” of his ancestors dating back to the 1600s. His 90s were hectic. He still farmed, putting up miles of fence with a posthole digger, picking blueberries to bake pies and demonstrating how to shear sheep at Headland’s Landmark Park. At 97, he joined the Sons of the American Revolution and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He also familiarized himself with computers. “You never get too old to learn if you put your mind to it,” he says resolutely. Until about three years ago, the retired pharmacist still tooled around town in his pickup—as the driver. “If there’d been an accident, I would’ve been blamed even if it wasn’t my fault,” he says pointedly, “but I still have an active driver’s license, just in case.” Holley, who grew up in tiny Samson, Ala., just north of the Florida state line, graduated from Alabama Polytechnic Institute’s pharmacy program in 1929, the year Wall Street crashed and ushered in the Great Depression. Over the next eight decades he fought in World War II and helped establish a hospital on the Seine River in France; cultivated two farms; raised a daughter and a son, both of whom also graduated from API (now known as


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Auburn University); and operated Holley’s Pharmacy, a locus of small-town life in Headland. “My father has always been the go-to guy for all kinds of situations, the kind of resourceful person who can solve problems or at least point the way to the right answers,” says daughter Elizabeth Holley Caneer ’59. “He has assisted in delivering babies by administering chloroform to women in labor, which he did for my birth, and he would find a doctor to stitch people up after fights late on a rowdy Saturday night. People were always waking him up in the middle of the night when they needed medicine. It was a round-the-clock job; he saw a lot. But he always treated people with compassion, generosity and complete honesty.” The townspeople nicknamed him “Doc,” and some no doubt wonder whether, while compounding medications over the years, he managed to discover a formula for longevity. In a sense, he did just that, relying on ingredients that are all-natural but exceedingly hard to come by.


olley defines himself by his rural roots. “Can you imagine an ol’ country boy like me walking down the streets of Paris?” he asks, recalling his Army days. Or “Can you imagine an ol’ country boy like me setting foot on that big college campus, when I’d never even been to Montgomery?” For Holley, the town of Auburn might as well have been the City of Light. Born Feb. 1, 1907, he was the youngest of eight children in a pioneer family that tended cattle, sheep, corn, peanuts and velvet beans on a farm near the Pea River, which forms the border of Barbour and Pike counties in southeastern Alabama. Agriculture might have been a way of life for the Holleys—all but one of his siblings were born in the 1800s—but for the fact that Doc’s oldest brother had been killed in a logging accident, which gave tragic resolve to his parents’ commitment to education. Book-based professions seemed safer than sawmilling. Holley’s father would say, “When the body gives out and can no longer do the manual labor, the brain can provide you with a means to make your living,” Caneer writes in a family history. So, with one brother established as a doctor and another as a dentist, W.H. Holley boarded a train in 1926 for API, which boasted the state’s only pharmacy school. “I didn’t know a soul in Auburn and didn’t have a place lined up to stay,” he recalls. As the train slowed around Loachapoka, another student—Edwin V. Smith ’28, who later became the university’s dean of agriculture—invited Holley to rent a room at a boardinghouse on Drake Avenue. With the matter of housing settled, Holley relaxed, only to be greeted at the depot by a mob of upperclassmen bent on tormenting him and Auburn’s other incoming freshmen, known back then as “rats” and easily distinguished by their orange-and-blue beanies, or “rat caps.” “They’d whip you!” he exclaims. “I Left: When W.H. Holley was not for hazing then, and I am not for was an Auburn freshman in fall 1926, gangster Al it now. Fortunately, I was a fast runner.” Capone was wreaking Having graduated from a high school havoc on the Chicago that had no running water, other aspects underworld and A.A. Milne had just published a collecof campus life also bewildered Holley, at tion of children’s stories least at first: the gung-ho sports teams; titled Winnie-the-Pooh.

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the grand, columned fraternity houses; the worldly professors; and the brain-strain of chemistry and physics courses. He buckled down in his tiny room though, scavenging coal chunks and wood from the nearby railroad tracks to burn for heat and limiting meals to two per day to stay within his meager budget. “He was looking for a niche, for anything that might give him confidence,” Caneer says, “and he found it in ROTC.” Holley proudly brandishes a photo of himself from the era—thick, dark hair parted slickly down the middle; a slight, mysterious smile playing at the corners of his mouth (the beginnings of a keen expression he still wears today); and a snug, woolen uniform left over from World War I provisions. To Holley’s amusement, the city boys at school kept sliding off their saddles while he comfortably rode even the cavalry’s most skittish horses. The college’s rifle range proved easy compared to picking off squirrels skittering along the tops of swampy red oaks. And besides, with few other clothes in his wardrobe, Holley treasured the old uniform, which he wore to class twice a week. Not unlike today’s freshmen, he simply adapted to college life. “Auburn is a friendly, down-to-earth place with nice people,” he says. “It’s not full of big shots with their noses stuck up in the air like some other parts of Alabama.” Still, he was homesick. When Christmas break rolled around and he returned to the comforts of his mother’s syrup-sopped biscuits and sweet potato pie, he thought wistfully of staying put in Samson. But farm prices were dropping, the logging industry was dying, and his parents kept up their drumbeat for education. Holley’s mission was clear: He’d go back to school and work even harder. There was little money for football games or dates; his only one-on-one interaction with the opposite sex came from chaste English tutoring sessions from a Wetumpka graduate student named Miss Collins. He was quick to seek out the expertise of others, also getting help from classmate Carl John Rehling ’29, a chemical engineering major who eventually became Alabama’s state toxicologist. Holley excelled, and in his third year at Auburn was elected vice president of the Pharmaceutical Society. He took some teasing for his illegible handwriting but graduated in 1929 on the eve of the stock market crash, wearing a hand-me-down suit from his brother. His API diploma, which still hangs on his bedroom wall, is made of actual sheepskin. Holley passed the state board examination on his first try and never regretted his career choice. “Being a pharmacist seemed like a good way to help people get well,” he says.


friend introduced Holley to Martha Solomon, a good-humored brunette whose family ran a dry-goods business in Headland. “I married the only woman I ever dated,” he says. He started filling prescriptions at Cash Drugs in nearby Abbeville—“working for $2 a day”—and eventually bought a share of the store in 1935. Shortly after daughter Elizabeth was born, he was drafted into the Army and served as a pharmacist with the 179th General Hospital Unit, which established medical clinics in France. “I’d never even talked on a dial telephone or used a subway,” he marvels. “Paris was a big town.”


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He was discharged in 1945 with cita- Opposite: Doc Holley tions including the World War II Victory, ’29 attributes his to a lifetime of European African Middle Eastern Service longevity discipline: No drinking and Good Conduct medals. Back home, or smoking, hard work he scraped together enough money to buy and a healthy diet have made him a model of White’s Pharmacy in Headland, where his independent living at wife’s family lived, and changed its name age 103. to Holley’s Pharmacy. “I was making about $325 a month in 1945,” he recalls, noting he still possesses the tax returns to prove it; he seldom throws away documents. “Being a pharmacist was different then. We compounded our own medicine, making liquids and packing capsules, and wrapping powders in papers.” At the time, pharmacists often determined doses and measures by factoring a customer’s weight and other characteristics—a system that played to one of Holley’s abiding strengths: precision. “My father is, um, extremely methodical and exact in all things,” says Caneer, a former middle-school science teacher. “Our family tends to be more analytical and scientific than literary or artistic.” Holley’s Pharmacy also boasted a cheery soda fountain that dispensed hand-mixed-from-syrup soft drinks, plus hot dogs and ice cream. It became a mid-century gathering place, lively with gossip and fellowship and, for kids, comic-book swapping and sugar buzzes. The store typically stayed open every day of the week until 10 p.m. or later, depending on the crowds and their hijinks. “Today, Headland is a sleepy bedroom community of Dothan, but back then, it was one busy, hopping place, full of drama,” recalls James “Junior” Carpenter, who worked at Holley’s Pharmacy for 36 years. “The square would be so packed, especially on Saturdays, that you couldn’t walk through downtown. And people would get crazy at night. One fellow was brought to us in a flatbed pickup truck; he’d been shot and was bleeding so bad that blood was running down the curb. Doc Holley left a warm house a lot of nights to accommodate people.” Holley oversaw an integrated group of employees, some of whom rode bicycles to deliver ice cream and curvy glass bottles of Coke around town. “I remember riding around on the bicycle with one of the black delivery people who would sing loudly as he pedaled around the square,” Caneer says. “I don’t recall us thinking that much about racial divisions. We all were just part of each other’s community.” With Holley’s encouragement, several of his apprentices earned their own pharmaceutical licenses. “He started as my employer, became my mentor and, above that, he was my friend,” Carpenter says. “I spent 36 years within those same four walls, and they were wonderful years. Doc preached and truly lived his motto, which was the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. How could anyone have a better boss?” Holley possesses that reflex, common among people in small farming communities where survival depends on the social compact, of always doing the right thing, or at least trying hard. Practicing moderation and self-discipline bordering on the ascetic, he has never smoked, drunk alcohol or taken recreational drugs. “I’ve seen too many addicts, especially druggists and doctors,” he asserts. “Most of them get hooked early. I won’t take pain medication now.” Quips son Bill ’71: “I’ve never even seen him take a second helping of food.” A crisis responder who seems divinely designed for the fa-

O ldest L iving A uburn A lumnus T ells A ll

bled 3 a.m. phone call, Holley insists that “a good name is better than great riches.” He’s Depression-era frugal, punctual (note to visitors: lunch is at 11:30, not 11:31 a.m.), bankably reliable and forthright. He’s what people mean when they say “salt of the earth.” “You never have to wonder where he stands on anything,” Bill Holley notes. Doc Holley also comes across as relatively angst-free, despite having had more than a hundred years to dwell on life’s toughest questions. “He tends to take crises in stride, not to worry and get stressed out as some people do,” Caneer says, adding, “With the exception of mother’s death. That hit him hard.” Holley’s hardiness appears to vindicate the Calvinist notion that work holds intrinsic value: He may have earned a living with his mind, but he kept his hands callused by sowing and reaping. While minding the drugstore, Holley owned two farms, 525 acres tended by tenants back in Samson and another 283 in Headland, where he greeted the dawn every day. “He’d be there at 4 a.m. to build fences before going into work at the store around 7 to put in another 12 hours,” says Caneer with a smile. “He fenced all of those acres by himself. He was such a gentle and generous man that I wanted to spend time with him, but he was always working. So as a child, I would get up at 4 a.m. too and go with him to help.” Bill, on the other hand, didn’t revel in his dad’s chores. “I

had a motorcycle that I wanted to ride, but he would have me feeding the cows,” the younger Holley says with a laugh. “Dad was never one to cut corners, take shortcuts or take the easy way out of anything. He insists on doing everything the hard way, the old way. Even with building fences—he used a posthole digger and a machete.” Holley’s son-in-law, Ralph Caneer, recalls one fence-building project in particular. “I went along just to act as surveyor and make sure his lines were straight while he did all the work,” Caneer says. “We worked from early morning until 4 p.m., when he looked at me and said, ‘You look tired—I’ll drive us back.’ He was 95 at the time.” You might say Holley endures, in part, because he simply can’t abide any form of idleness. A course in physics and his own observations have taught him over the years that objects in motion tend to stay that way. He retired in 1973 and turned the business over to his son, who’s now 62 and retired himself (“I’m happy not to work—I took after my mother’s side of the family,” Bill jokes). The old drugstore is now a fitness center, and the senior Holley has seen his family grow to include four grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren. They, and everyone else, often beg the question of Holley: What’s the secret to longevity? His answer is deceptively simple: “Live right.”

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine


War Eagle! Your alumni association is a group of more than 45,000 Auburn alumni, friends and family who support Auburn University. This active association offers something for everyone! Last year we entertained 600,000 visitors to our Web site and reached 15,000 people through our Auburn Club Program. We distributed more than 230 scholarships to students and faculty, and served more than 9,000 hot dogs at our Alumni Hospitality Tent before home football games. Nearly 200 alumni and friends chose to vacation with us last year, and we sold nearly 540 authentic Toomer’s Corner bricks for scholarships. You are a member of one of the strongest alumni associations in the nation.

w w w. a u a l u m . o r g


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g




Troops, we salute you

June 2-16

NANCY YOUNG FORTNER ’71 President, Auburn Alumni Association

HBO’s 10-part  miniseries, “The  Pacific,” which began airing in March, has stirred interest from the Auburn faithful because of its Auburn University alumnus connection: About a third of the plot is based on the memoir of World War II veteran Eugene Sledge ’49, who served as a mortarman in the U.S. Marines. Produced by Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, the series follows three soldiers who fought in the Pacific theater; Sledge saw combat on the island of Peleliu and participated in the assault on Okinawa. Auburn men and women have a rich, proud history of military service—great leadersh ip of sel f less ser v ice , hu mbly doing the right things for the right reasons. I dedicate this column to those who have, are and will be serving in the armed forces. Auburn boasts ROTC programs associated with each of the U.S. military branches—Air Force, Army and Navy/ Marine Corps—the latter being the only one of its kind in Alabama. Each unit is ranked among the top 10 in the nation. You may have noticed a team of ROTC cadets and midshipmen presenting all 50 state flags on the football field prior to home games. More than 100 officers who attended AU have reached flag rank (general or admiral), including one, Gen. Carl E. Mundy Jr. ’57, who served as the 30th commandant of the Marine Corps. In addition to the many outstanding ROTC graduates commissioned through Auburn, a pair of alumni, four-star generals Hugh Shelton ’73 and Richard Myers ’77, have served as chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It would be impossible to include all alumni military contributions in this short space, but allow me to salute one exemplary representative of each branch:

• Ensign Lauren Nevels ’09, a summa cum laude nursing graduate, was recognized as the nation’s top naval ROTC midshipman last year. She is now assigned to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam. • Staff Sgt. Josh Jarrell ’05 was named to USA Today’s 2005 All-USA College Academic Team. Before graduation, Jarrell put his education on hold and deployed to Iraq in 2003. In addition to his military duties, he spent his tour tutoring fellow soldiers in math. His tutoring curriculum has become the standard at all unofficial education centers in Iraq. Jarrell is now on active duty with the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg, N.C., completing Special Forces qualification in Arabic language skills and medic training. • Lt. Gen. Leslie F. Kenne ’70 (retired) was the first female ROTC cadet at Auburn, graduating with honors. An expert in complex military systems and their integration, she was the first woman to achieve the rank of lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force. • Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston ’62, a retired U.S. Marine Corps general, was awarded the United States’ highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor— for heroic actions in 1968 during the Vietnam War. After retiring, he served as board chairman of the National D-Day Museum and remains a museum trustee. These alumni exemplify a core value of the Auburn Creed: “I believe in my country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my home.” You inspire us and make us proud to be Auburn alumni. War Eagle!



This popular itinerary begins in London, where you’ll set sail to ports of call that include Bruges, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Berlin, Helsinki and Stockholm. Stops in Sweden, Latvia and Estonia also make this a memorable tour of the Nordic countries. From $4,438. Info: (334) 844-1143. June 3 CHARLOTTE AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C., featuring Tigers offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Info: www. PALMETTO AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Greenville, S.C., featuring Tigers defensive coordinator Ted Roof. Info: www. June 5 GEORGIA MOUNTAINS AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Big Canoe, Ga., featuring Tigers football operations coordinator Scott Fountain. Info: June 8 TIGER TREK: NORTHEAST ALABAMA

Regional Auburn club meeting featuring Tigers head football coach Gene Chizik at Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge and Convention Center. Hosted by the Dekalb County, Marshall County and Jackson County Auburn clubs. Info: www. June 9 COWETA/FAYETTE COUNTIES AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Peachtree City, Ga., featuring Mark Murphy, editor and publisher of Inside the Auburn Tigers magazine. Info: June 10 TIGER TREK: CULLMAN COUNTY

Club meeting featuring Tigers head football coach Gene Chizik at Cullman Civic Center. Hosted by the Cullman County Auburn Club. Info: June 11–21 WAR EAGLE TRAVELERS: GREAT JOURNEY THROUGH EUROPE

Immerse yourself in the cultural and scenic treasures of Europe’s heartland on this unique cruise-and-rail itinerary tracing the Rhine River from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea. Included are lovely villages in Switzerland, France, Germany and Holland. Also offered June 23–July 3. From $3,395. Info: (334) 844-1143.

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine





Join us for a journey that combines a presentation of the legendary Oberammergau passion play with a delightful cruise along the Danube River. Also offered July 26–Aug. 3. From $2,995. Info: (334) 844-1143. June 14 ATLANTA AUBURN CLUB

Nineteenth annual Roy B. Sewell Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament at Windermere Golf & Country Club in Cumming, Ga. Proceeds benefit student scholarships. Info: June 17 LOWCOUNTRY AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Charleston, S.C., featuring Rod Bramblett, director of broadcast services and voice of the Auburn Tigers radio network. Info: www. July 2-11 WAR EAGLE TRAVELERS: GREEK ISLES YOUNG ALUMNI TOUR

Join other recent grads on a spectacular tour of ancient Athens, and cruise sapphire seas to the enchanted Greek Isles. From $2,098. Info: (334) 844-1143.

Check out our itineraries for recent graduates! July 17-29 WAR EAGLE TRAVELERS: BRITISH ISLES

Beginning in London, set sail for the cities of Dublin, Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow before basking in Paris, the City of Light. From $2,335. Info: (334) 844-1143. July 22 CALHOUN/CLEBURNE COUNTIES AUBURN CLUB

Annual freshman send-off event in Anniston. Info:


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Take a trip with classmates DEBBIE SHAW ’84

Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director, Auburn Alumni Association There was a time I would never consider traveling internationally with a group of people. No way would I allow myself to be confined to a schedule, having to depend on others to get where I wanted to go, on their timeline. I wanted to be free to do as I liked. That all changed after I went on my first international tour with the Auburn Alumni Association’s War Eagle Travelers program several years ago. I quickly realized how much time I had previously wasted arriving at a destination, only to spend hours trying to figure out where I was going each day, the type of transportation I would use to get there, the money I would spend in the process (in foreign currency) and whether anyone would rip me off. On top of that was determining where I would eat each meal, what type of food was offered, how much it would cost, and more. For some seasoned travelers, this is perhaps one of the joys of touring; I suppose the process of learning to navigate a new country could be intriguing. To me, though, it’s just stressful and time-consuming. I didn’t actually realize to what extent I had become frustrated until I signed up for a trip to the Italian Lake District with the War Eagle Travelers, and my love of touring with Auburn people was born. That particular trip included more than 20 members of the Auburn family. I didn’t know any of them prior to the journey. We stayed in the same hotel overlooking the beautiful waters of northern Italy, ate most of our meals together and cruised from island to island. Transportation was provided at every turn, and a well-versed tour guide lived in the hotel with us, speaking the language and advising on the itinerary and the exchange rates. I had so much

more time to see and enjoy this area of Italy due to all the work having been done for me. I could hang out at the hotel each day if I wanted, but I found myself desiring to soak up the culture, and I had more energy to do so since the trip was so well planned. The common bond shared by the 22 individuals on the trip, who were initially strangers, was our love of Auburn University. Nothing beats being with Auburn people, I don’t care where you are. On this particular trip, I became great friends with Frances Reeves ’71 and her husband Charles ’49, Marilyn Seier ’62 and her sister Jean Wall ’65, Barbara ’74 and Alan Bass ’74, Kathy and Ron Sanders ’70, and Connie ’55 and John Parke ’55, to name a few. We still stay in touch to this day. I encourage you to take a good look at the 2011 War Eagle Travelers trips (see ad on page 59). Itineraries include cruises on the Mediterranean, through the Panama Canal, along the Alaskan coastline and among the Greek islands, as well as tours of Paris, South America and Israel. There are also still a few passenger slots remaining on our 2010 tours. If you’re one of the hundreds of adventurers each year who regularly participate in our program, you’ll have a great time choosing your next vacation spot. If you’ve never traveled with us, try it. Take advantage of seeing the world with Auburn alumni and friends—you won’t regret it! For a detailed tour list and prices, see, or contact (334) 844-1113 or wareagletravelers@ War Eagle!



Class Notes GOT NEWS? Auburn Magazine 317 S. College Street Auburn University, AL 36849-5149, or Life Member Annual Member

’20–’59 G.B. Brown III ’48 and wife Betty Watkins Brown ’46 moved from Birmingham to Greenville, S.C., to be near their daughter. G.B. is a retired AT&T engineer and has been an active civic volunteer.

McWherter Leadership Award from the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence. He is the chief executive officer of Bristol Tennessee Essential Services utility company. Benjamin Barnett Spratling III ’67 was

appointed chair of the Alabama State Bar’s History and Archives Committee for 200910. He is an attorney in the Birmingham office of Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker.

Thomas O. Mosley ’52 and wife Edna of Birmingham celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary in March. Don Williams ’59

and wife Beverly of Hope Hull celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January.

’60–’69 Lee M. Ozley ’61

wrote Why Aren’t You More Like Me? Dealing with Conflict (Word Association Publishers, 2009). He lives on Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Lester Howard Killebrew Sr. ’68 of

Abbeville was elected chairman of the board of directors of the North American Equipment Dealers Association. He heads SunSouth, a network of John Deere dealerships.

Alexander City is the district attorney for Chambers, Macon, Randolph and Tallapoosa counties. He was recognized last fall by the Humane Society of the United States for leading a major cockfighting bust and two dog-fighting raids.

a Sylacauga attorney and retired circuit court judge, was elected chairman of the board of the Alabama Council of Hospital Trustees.

was named assistant principal for Deer Point Elementary School, which is set to open in August in Panama City, Fla. He formerly served as assistant principal at Waller Elementary School and taught high school for 10 years.

70–’79 Jackie Horton Davis

Mike Browder ’66

received this year’s Ned

consultant with TSA Consulting Group Inc. in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The company provides complianceadministration services to eligible employers in public school systems and colleges throughout the U.S. Gerry and wife Beth live in Shalimar, Fla. The couple has one daughter, Rebecca.

’72, a Montgomery ac-

countant, was appointed to the board of directors of Children’s Harbor, a nonprofit organization that offers programming, counseling and services for seriously ill children and their families. J. Maurice Persall ’72

Jerry Fielding ’69,

’70 and husband J. Dan Davis ’70 celebrated

positions. He lives in Hoover with wife Laura Lewis Kirkpatrick ’87 and daughter Brooke.

William G. “Gerry” Chalker ’71 is a program

William E. Barranco

Robert Simonson ’69 E. Paul Jones ’65 of

the birth of a granddaughter, Alivia Madison Buff, in November.

received Samford University’s George Macon Memorial Award for outstanding performance as a teacher, counselor and friend to students. He is an education professor and administrator at the university. Don Morgan ’73

opened his own law office in Columbus, Ga. He was formerly with Rothschild & Morgan law firm. Timothy Lee Kirkpatrick ’75 was promoted to executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, where he has worked for 34 years in various

Thomas “Chuck”


Club meeting featuring Auburn football head coach Gene Chizik at Cahaba Grand Conference Center. Hosted by the Greater Birmingham Auburn Club. Info:

Houston ’76 retired from

AT&T in Birmingham in 2008 after 32 years. He also retired from the U.S. Army Reserve at the rank of lieutenant colonel after 37 years and received the Legion of Merit. He now works as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army in Stuttgart, Germany.


Annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. Info: www. July 29 MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST AUBURN CLUB

Annual meeting in Gulfport, Miss., featuring Rod Bramblett, director of broadcast services and voice of the Auburn Tigers radio network. Info: www.

Kay Wilburn ’77 was appointed to the board of directors of the Alabama Federal Tax Clinic. She is an attorney in the firm of Feld, Hyde, Wertheimer, Bryant & Stone in Birmingham. Jerry D. Hughes ’78

was promoted to vice president and director of legal service for Caddell Construction Co. Inc. in Montgomery. Summer at St. George’s Market in Belfast, Ireland Dorman Grace ’79 is

a poultry farmer in Jasper and a past president of the Alabama Poultry & Egg Association. MARRIED Timothy Barton ’78

to Traci Shockney on Oct. 17. They live in Birmingham.


Enjoy blue glaciers, pristine waters, towering mountains, untouched coastlines and abundant wildlife unfolding on this journey to the last great American frontier. Also offered Aug. 20-27. From $2,995. Info: (334) 844-1143. Aug. 15 MINORITY ALUMNI INVOLVEMENT NOW: BIRMINGHAM

BORN A son, Elon W. IV, to Elon Maddox Jr. ’73 and wife Pamela Terry Maddox ’74 on Feb. 16.

’80–’89 Charles E. Barrett Jr.

Annual picnic at Oak Mountain State Park. Info: (334) 844-1113. Aug. 31 DEADLINE, TOOMER’S BRICK ORDERS

Last day to buy Toomer’s bricks excavated from the corner of College Street and Magnolia Avenue. Proceeds benefit student scholarships. Info: (334) 844-7420.

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine




Class Notes

Board nominees The Auburn Alumni Association board of directors’ nominating committee, having solicited nominations from the membership as required in the association bylaws, has submitted its list of candidates for two new officers and four new directors to the full board. The recommended candidates have been approved by the board and are presented below for the membership’s consideration. According to the association’s bylaws, members may propose other candidates via the process outlined in Article XI, Section 4 (see below). The deadline for contesting any candidate recommended by the board is June 16. If no further nominations are received, the unopposed candidates will be deemed automatically elected and will begin their terms at the association’s annual meeting on Nov 6.

Auburn Club; member, College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council; past presenter, Club

’81, a former pilot and air traffic controller, wrote his first novel, The Savannah Project (Switchback Publishing, 2010).

Leadership Conference Thomas Lally ’81 WILLIAM C. “BEAU” BYRD II ’89 RESIDENCE: Birmingham MAJOR: Accountancy EMPLOYMENT: Attorney, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings AUBURN ACTIVITIES: Past president, Greater Birmingham Auburn Club; Circle of Excellence; George Petrie Society; All-American Society

was promoted to the rank of commander in the U.S. Navy at Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Operations Center at Pearl Harbor. He also serves as Northeast Asia division operations officer.

M. VAN HENLEY ’80 RESIDENCE: Colleyville, Texas

McAdory “Mac”

MAJOR: Accountancy

Lipscomb Jr. ’81 was

EMPLOYMENT: Partner, Ernst & Young

named operating partner of RRE Ventures, a New York venture capital firm.

AUBURN ACTIVITIES: Member, Dallas Auburn Club; School of Accountancy Advisory Council; College of Business Shareholder’s Club; Dallas–Fort Worth capital campaign committee; Samford Society


Nancy Isbell Meisler



RESIDENCE: Montgomery


MAJOR: Management

MAJOR: Civil engineering

EMPLOYMENT: Attorney, Bradley Arant

EMPLOYMENT: Transmission lines maintenance

Boult Cummings

supervisor, Alabama Power

AUBURN ACTIVITIES: Auburn Alumni Association

AUBURN ACTIVITIES: Engineering Eagle Club; Di-

board of directors, 2007-present; past president,

versity and Multicultural Affairs Leadership Council;

Montgomery County Auburn Club; Auburn University

Minority Engineering Program Advisory Council;

Trustee Selection Committee; Circle of Excellence

member, Mobile County Auburn Club; former board member, Greater Birmingham Auburn Club; former


board member, Mississippi Gulf Coast Auburn Club

WILLIAM B. “BILL” STONE II ’85 RESIDENCE: Brentwood, Tenn. MAJOR: Electrical engineering EMPLOYMENT: East region industrial sales manager, BSE/Harris Electric AUBURN ACTIVITIES: Auburn Alumni Association board of directors, 2007-present; past president, Greater Nashville Auburn Club; Auburn Alumni Association Most Outstanding Club Leader, 2003; cochair, Nashville capital campaign 2006-08; Engineering Eagle Society; Circle of Excellence DIRECTORS JEREMY L. ARTHUR ’99 RESIDENCE: Prattville MAJOR: Political science, public administration EMPLOYMENT: Executive vice president, Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce AUBURN ACTIVITIES: President, Autauga County


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Article XI, Section 4: Nominations from Members at Large. Members may propose other candidates for any position provided that (1) the name and a biography of their proposed candidate is submitted in writing to the secretary of the association by the time specified in the notice, which can be no sooner than 30 days from the day of the announcement; (2) the submission specifies which candidate submitted by the board of directors the new candidate opposes; (3) the submission bears the new candidate’s signed consent; and (4) the submission of the new candidate contains the signed endorsement of at least seventy-five (75) members of the association. Facsimile transmissions of this information will be accepted.

’81 of Birmingham was one of two Auburn University and Auburn University Montgomery School of Nursing graduates to receive the school’s first Distinguished Alumni Award. Meisler is secretary/ treasurer of Mitchell’s Place, a resource center for children with autism spectrum disorder. Brian Spraberry ’81

was named president and chief executive officer of Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital, a member of the UAB Health System in Birmingham. He formerly served as chief of business development for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Susan Story ’81 of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was

inducted to the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, which honors individuals for outstanding accomplishments in the field. She is president and chief executive officer of Gulf Power. Raymond J. Harbert ’82 was named chair-

man of the board of trustees of Children’s Health System for 201011. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of Birminghambased Harbert Management Corp. and serves on the board of trustees of Auburn University. Michael Skotnicki ’82

was a featured panelist at the Alabama Appleseed Foundation’s High Cost Credit Summit. He is an attorney with Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker in Birmingham. Brian T. Casey ’84 was

named to Insurance Newscast’s list of “100 Most Powerful People in the Insurance Industry, North America” for 2009. He was also named to Law360’s 2010 insurance editorial advisory board. He is a partner in the Atlanta office of Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell, where he co-chairs the firm’s insurance practice group. Kathleen A. Golden Rasmussen ’85 com-

pleted postdoctoral studies at Georgetown University’s Georgetown Public Policy Institute and its Center for Juve-


Going global Want to know how Auburn University is making a difference in the world? A new portion of the Auburn Alumni Association website consolidates information about faculty, students and alumni who have gotten out of their comfort zones. Check out groups/international for more.

nile Justice Reform in Washington, D.C. Tim St. John ’85

of Denver serves as editor and chief contributing writer for Denver Christian Family magazine, along with his wife, Nina, who serves as publisher. Tim also writes a weekly column for Inertia, a Gadsden newspaper, and is the author of a historical novel, Emma Points the Way (Banner Press, 2008). John H. Poole ’86, a

Birmingham architect, earned the LEED accredited professional designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Chris Roush ’87 was

named the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Journalism Teacher of the Year. A former newspaper reporter, he is an associate professor and Walter E. Hussman Sr. Distinguished Scholar in Business Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. MARRIED Connie Jackson ’81

to Larry L. Hall on Dec. 29. They live in Roanoke, Va. Lacey Goodwin ’89 to Thomas Gonyeau on Jan. 16. They live in Atlanta.

BORN A daughter, Olivia Grant, to Phillip Grant Hazelrig ’87 and wife Karen of Cleveland on Oct. 5. She joins brother Wes, 2.

A daughter, Cheney Katherine, to Brian Powell ’88 and Sabrina Berry Powell ’89 on Feb. 16. Brian is a real estate developer in Atlanta, and Sabrina is a certified public accountant.



named vice president of business development for Crestmark Capital. Kristi Orellana Barker ’94 of Virginia

Beach, Va., is an interior designer for Los Angeles-based AECOM.

Bonita Lawrence ’90

was named “Professor of the Year” for 2009 by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia Inc. She is a professor and associate chair of mathematics at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. Suzanna Etheridge Rawlins ’90 of Birmingham obtained certification from the Association of Business Process Management Professionals. She is president of the Alabama chapter of the ABPMP and was elected to serve on the organization’s national board of directors as vice president of communications. Jeff Brown ’91

is chief financial officer for SOUTHBank in Huntsville. He and wife Denise live in Brownsboro with their three children, Virginia, Benjamin and John Calvin.

Wendi Huguley Routhier ’94 of Opelika

was named director of professional-development services for Auburn University’s College of Business. She formerly served as president of the Opelika Chamber of Commerce. Christina Million ’97

is assistant vice president and executive director of the Georgia State University Alumni Association. She previously served as executive director of the alumni association at the University of Texas Arlington. Philip McGowan ’98

was named director of client services for Seigenthaler Public Relations Inc. in Nashville, Tenn. Bradley R. Hightower ’99 was named a partner in the Birminghambased law firm of Christian & Small.

Cristen Pratt Herring ’93 was named associ-

Nicole Schiegg ’99

ate superintendent of Auburn City Schools. She formerly served as principal at Ogletree Elementary School.

is a senior adviser to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, where she manages strategic communications and media planning.

Jack “Bubba” Roby III ’93 of Huntsville was


Coloring outside the lines Strolling through the familiar landscape surrounding his Auburn home, a discarded scrap of metal catches Hugh O. Williams’ eye. For the retired art professor, it could be the beginning of a masterpiece. At 81, Williams ’49, who taught art to generations of Auburn University students, is still creating. In recent years, he’s moved from drawing and painting to creating abstract, threedimensional works. His appreciation for abstraction began almost 50 years ago, the summer he worked in advertising and attended classes at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York. While there, he viewed a Jackson Pollock exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. “That show was so powerful that I realized painting didn’t have to be in the mood of realism,” he recalls. “It didn’t have to illustrate what you were seeing, and so it gave you a freedom that you never had.” Williams left advertising to follow his muse. Armed with a bachelor’s degree from Auburn and newfound motivation, he earned a master’s in art education and fine arts from Columbia, then built a professional reputation as a painter, winning the prestigious Charles Birchfield Memorial Award from the American Watercolor Society in 1966, among other honors. His work has been featured in the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ga., and the Montgomery Museum of Art. But trips to Ghana on a Fulbright Fellowship in 1991 and 1993 and observations of the country’s people and culture fostered Williams’ desire to create three-dimensional works devised of found objects. “They could take anything and make art out of it,” he says. Upon his return, he began scouring city dumpsters and sorting through boxes of unwanted items on the side of the road, all for the sake of art. “I was trained very academically, so I drew eggs that looked like they rolled off the paper,” he says. “But I don’t choose to paint that way anymore. I’m not bound by any laws or any rules in my artwork.”—Grace Henderson

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine




Get a job Your Auburn Alumni Association provides career guides and other resources to help you grow your professional network and find job openings. See career_resources for help.

Class Notes Brooke Ulrickson ’99

’93 and Stacy Waldrep

Hartsfield ’98 and Kathy

was elected president of the Fort WorthTarrant County Young Lawyers Association. She is an attorney with the Fort Worth, Texas, law firm of Brown, Dean, Wiseman, Proctor, Hart & Howell.

Miner ’99 of Birming-

Maynard Hartsfield ’98

ham on Jan. 21. He joins brother Graham and sister Caroline.

of Suwanee, Ga., on Oct. 19.

MARRIED Michael J. Haigler ’96

to Lesley McElroy on Oct. 5. They live in Montgomery. James Boschma ’97

to Rachel Wynn on Aug. 14. They live in Anchorage, Alaska. BORN A daughter, Lucy Elizabeth, to Theron O. “Tod” Collier III ’91 and Anne Forrest Collier ’92

of Madison on Feb. 8. Anne is an electrical engineer for Boeing Co., while Tod is a human resources director for QinetiQ North America Inc. Lucy joins sister Margaret, 3.

A son, Harrison Stephen, to David Scott ’93 and wife Heather of Greenville on Aug. 7. A son, Matthew Reeves, to Matthew W. Hall ’94 and Tracy Dowdy Hall ’91 of Montgomery on Jan. 9, 2009. A daughter, Caroline Kate, to Chris Braun ’96 and Kathy Petrey Braun ’96 of Lilburn, Ga., on Nov. 23. A son, Brandon Kemper, to Michael K. Ritchie ’96 and Mitzi Minnich Ritchie ’99 of Alpharetta, Ga., on Nov. 14. A daughter, Molly Katherine, to Craig Aarhus ’97 and Amy Folsom Aarhus ’98 of Starkville, Miss., on Dec. 15. She joins brother, Jack, 2.  

A daughter, Madeleine Ann, to April Helm Archer ’99

and husband Greg of Wichita, Kan., on Feb. 10, 2009. A son, Thomas Bryant, to Meredith Franks Bateman ’99 and husband Bryant of Atlanta on Feb. 20. He joins sister Anne Ford.

A daughter, Gracie Ruth, to Roy “Buddy” Mayo Jr. ’91 and Ashley Donaldson Mayo ’99 of Auburn on Oct. 30. A son, Maxson Isaac, to Michael Holt ’92 and wife MakyhaTiana of Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 6. A son, Britton Waldrep, to J. Todd Miner


A daughter, Cates Abbigail, to Kay Cates Brantley ’97 and husband Blake of Albany, Ga., on July 17. A daughter, Erin Mackenzie, to Kim Wilson Moore ’97 and husband Matt of Cumming, Ga., on Jan. 20. A son, Wilson Paul, to Paul Roberts II ’97 and Alison Wells Roberts ’99 of Gadsden on March 6, 2009. A daughter, Violet Caroline, to Greg

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Deanna Marshall was named Auburn City Schools’ “Teacher of Year” from Drake Middle School.

BORN A son, Harper Bailey, to Courtney Allen Guasti of Madison on Sept. 21.

of Germantown, Md., on Dec. 16. Chris is a veterinary dentistry and oral surgery resident in Gaithersburg, Md.


A daughter, Layne Elizabeth, to Laura Pepper Tarokh and husband Josh of Athens on Aug. 25.

Johnny Barranco of

son IV to Elizabeth

Fairhope was promoted to manager of tax and audit services for the accounting firm of Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore. He has practiced public accounting for seven years.

Drey on Jan. 2. They live in Oxford, Miss.


MARRIED Matthew Clements to Marina Len on Aug. 8. They live in New York City. Benjamin Hardy John-

Morgan Andrews to

A daughter, Audrey Ray, to Kimberly Causey Coenen ’99 of Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 13. A son, Brice DeLavan, to Seth Hall ’99 and

BORN A daughter, Henley Leighton, to Blake Gunter Boland and wife Shannon of Moody on Sept. 22. She joins sister Harper Lee.

A daughter, Leah Catherine, to Thomas Edward Rowe Jr. ’99 ’02 of Knoxville, Tenn.,

on Oct. 17.

A son, Jake Dawson, to Johnny R. Dorminey and Lori Day Dorminey ’01 of Pelham on Jan. 7. He joins sister Ava, 2.

A son, Luke Edward, to


George C. Smith III ’99

J. Sam Brien of Decatur, Ga., was named “Rookie of the Year” by Teleflex Medical.

and Stephanie Cutter Smith ’00 of Montgomery on Aug. 28.



Travis Auxier returned

Melissa Ann Carpri to

from a one-year voluntary assignment in Iraq with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service. He is a district veterinary medical specialist with the USDA

Stephen Robertson on June 20. They live in Birmingham.

’03 MARRIED Natalie Allen to Charles

Magee on July 18. They live in Denver.

James Clayton Hamblen

BORN A daughter, Maren, to Lindsey Leverette Diefenderfer and husband Todd of Millbrook on June 10.

III to Meredith Evans

on Nov. 21. They live in Birmingham. Jacob Karl Kirkland to Ryan Suzanne Alred on Sept. 12. They live in Montgomery. Katherine Webb to

A son, Rowland James, to J. Marie Smith Elwell and husband Jason of Merrimack, N.H., on Sept. 22.

A son, James McCrummen, to Jaime Lakin Tillman and husband Drew of Opelika on Dec. 8.

John Yordy Jr. on Jan. 9. They live in Auburn.

Amy DeLavan Hall ’98

of Sharpsburg, Ga., on March 30. He joins brother Mason Montgomery.

and Rebecca Lee Rowe A daughter, Aubrey Jordyn, to David B. Hopper ’91 and wife Beth of Claremont, N.C., on Dec. 1.

Food Safety and Inspection Service in Atlanta.

Andrew Burgbacher on Aug. 1. They live in Hendersonville, Tenn. BORN A son, Jack Washington III, to Jack W. Daniels Jr. and Joslyn Blackburn Daniels of Lowndesboro on Jan. 24.

A son, Aiden Nathaniel, to William Kimrey and Caroline Jordan Kimrey ’04 of Auburn on Sept. 17. A daughter, Baleigh Lauren, to Callie Sparkman Williams

and husband Austin of Titusville, Fla., on June 25.


A daughter, Kate Elizabeth, to Ross McKinnon and wife Leia of San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 24. Ross is president of the Lone Star Auburn Club.

Natalie Duncan to Joseph Cain on Sept. 26. They live in Birmingham. Lisa Edwards to Kevin

Keane on May 9, 2009. They live in Birmingham.

Zach Iffland to Mandy

Tate on March 28, 2009. They live in Mount Olive.

A daughter, Aubrey Elizabeth, to Chris Smithson and Heather Bingham Smithson ’98

Jennifer Goodman

to Phillip Jackson ’05 on Jan. 30. They live in Birmingham.

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Class Notes

Chizik kicks off Tiger Trek More than 600 alumni and friends of Auburn University attended the Auburn Alumni Association’s inaugural “Tiger Trek” event hosted by the Atlanta Auburn Club in April. Proceeds from the tour, which comprises 11 alumni club meetings featuring Tigers head football coach Gene Chizik, benefit student scholarships. Tiger Trek continued in April and May with events in Columbus, Ga.; Tampa and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; and Montgomery, Florence, Huntsville and Mobile. Fans can still experience the tour in June in Guntersville, Cullman and Birmingham. The entourage also includes AU’s lovable mascot, Aubie. For June dates, times and locations, see In other club news: • The ATLANTA, AUTAUGA COUNTY, COLUMBUS/PHENIX CITY, EMERALD COAST, GREATER BIRMINGHAM, HUNTSVILLE/ MADISON COUNTY, LEE COUNTY, MOBILE COUNTY, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, SHOALS AREA, TAMPA BAY and WEST GEORGIA

Auburn clubs received the prestigious “All Auburn, All Orange” designation for general excellence during the Auburn Alumni Association’s annual volunteer leadership conference in February. • The WEST GEORGIA AUBURN CLUB won the association’s Most Outstanding Scholarship Program award for its fundraising efforts over the past year. Clubs that recently began fundraising efforts of their own or established permanent endowments included: Atlanta, Greater Birmingham, Huntsville/ Madison County, Shoals Area, Mar-

BORN A son, Sawyer Marshall, to Keith Marshall Jackson and Tiffany Baker Jackson of Owasso, Okla., on Feb. 10.

’05 Amy Green Bullington is a LEED-accredited architect in the Raleigh, N.C., firm of Cherry Huffman Architects.

MARRIED Heather Davitte to Scott

McClellan on July 11. They live in Birmingham.


Rebecca Forbus to

Walker Jones on Sept. 26. They live in Smyrna, Ga. Abby Schenk to John

Gray on Dec. 12. They live in Birmingham.

shall County, Kansas City, Chicago and Houston Area. • SHOALS AREA AUBURN CLUB president Michael Hasty ’91 received the association’s annual award for most outstanding club leader. • Members of the ATLANTA AUBURN CLUB recently participated in a Georgia Public Broadcasting pledge drive by answering phones live on air, helping the organization raise $20,000 in pledges. • Auburn’s 98 local alumni clubs have consolidated their websites and social networking activities using a free, web-based software platform. Head to www.auburn to find a club in your area, get the latest news and event updates, and meet other alumni or chat with friends.

Life Insurance Co. in Opelika.

on Dec. 20. They live Richmond, Va.

Shawn M. Constance

Haley Hallman to Barry

of Opelika joined Copperwing identity management firm of Montgomery as a digital-media director.

Dale Ballard Jr. on Dec.

BORN A daughter, Elizabeth Dawn, to Joshua Chestnutt and Erica Jorgensen Chestnutt of Columbus, Ga., on Jan. 4.

Opelika plans to marry Samuel Ketcham of Wilsonville in November.



Cody Burnett was

promoted to unit manager at Liberty National

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Suzanne Tippett of

Kelly Anne Downs to Paul Bryant Campbell

Malcolm Johnsey to Joevelyn “Evie” Welden on Jan 16. They live in Birmingham. Leighton Johnson to

’08 Denetra Nicole Hartzog, a student at Samford

Nov. 21. They live in Huntsville.

University’s Cumberland School of Law, was one of three law students nationwide chosen for a Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship. The program offers each recipient a salaried, second-year summer associate position in one of the firm’s offices, plus a $10,000 scholarship.

Claire Meadows to William Weaver on May 9, 2009. They live in Gulf Shores. Rebecca Moeller to Lovick Pierce Miller ’08 on Aug. 22. They live in Columbus, Ga. Elizabeth Skipper to


Jason Weeks ’05 on June

Brittany Adair to Mat-

27. They live in Atlanta.

thew Arledge on Nov. 7. They live in Millbrook.

BORN A daughter, Taylor Mackenzie, to Elizabeth Peacock Johnson

and husband Jeremy of Millbrook on Sept. 2.

’07 Anne J. Hopton-Jones

is a program manager with Best Buddies International in Houston. Phil Wilson was named

Auburn City Schools’ “Teacher of the Year” from Ogletree Elementary School. MARRIED

to Nathan Brown McCollum on Sept. 12. They live in Madison. Brooke is a pharmaceutical sales representative for Eli Lilly and Co., and Nathan is a real estate agent for Duke, Baker & Woller Land Co. Inc.

Cash ’08 on Oct. 3. They live in Birmingham.

Ryan Harbuck ’07 on

19. They live in Mobile. Brooke Nicole Haynes

Anna Wickstrom to Joel

Meredith Edwards to Joseph Corey Sheffield ’06 on Dec. 19. They live in Auburn. Shanna Smith to Ryan Weaver on Oct. 24. They live in Suwanee, Ga. Emily Tanner to Matthew Coe ’04 on Nov. 21.

They live in Birmingham.

Kristy Michele Pilkerton to Cody Burnett ’06 on May 16, 2009. They live in Auburn. Bonnie Jackson to Matthew Capps ’05

on Sept. 26. They live in Mobile. Ashley Danielle Vasseur

to Robert David Latham on Nov. 14. They live in Huntsville.

’09 Jordan Johnson joined the sales team at Business Systems & Consultants, a Birmingham document- and records-management company.

MARRIED Melissa Conn to Jake Stapleton on Nov. 21. They live in Auburn.


Jody Hall to Sally Busby on Jan. 9. They live in Elk Grove, Calif. Sarah Harriage to Craig Strong ’06 on Aug. 15.

They live in Pelham. Wendy James to Adam Lucas on July 25. They live in Auburn. Wendy is a graduate student in exercise science at Auburn. Randall Mauldin to

Mary Louise Mitcham on Dec. 4. They live in Melbourne, Fla. Rebecca Wright to Matthew Leon on Jan. 9.

They live in Auburn. BORN A son, Coleman Lane, to Christopher Baker and wife Elizabeth of Daphne on Dec. 7.

In Memoriam Thomas Watson

William S. Massa Sr. ’35 of Chattanooga,

Tenn., died Jan. 7. He worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority for 41 years and retired as chief of the maps-andsurveys branch. Evelyn Irene Perry Relfe ’35 of Birmingham

died Dec. 7. She worked as a girls’ adviser, guidance counselor and English teacher with Birmingham City Schools. Sara S. Kharitonoff ’38 of Colorado Springs,

Colo., died Oct. 11. She was a community volunteer and former high school teacher. John Alexander Taylor ’40 of Decatur died Nov.

23. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he worked as a stockbroker and later joined the Peace Corps, serving in the Philippines. Charles Bradford Jr.

Balkcom ’27 of Wyo-

’42 of Scottsboro died

missing, Pa., died Oct. 9. He was an engineer for Southern Bell and later Western Electric Co., and co-founded Whitmoyer Laboratories Inc., the Atlantic Fisheries Byproduct Association and Delmar Chemicals Limited.

Dec. 26. A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, he was a cattle farmer and co-owned General Equipment Co. in Scottsboro. He also served as president of the Alabama Farm and Power Equipment Dealers Association and as a director of the National Farm and Power Equipment Dealers Association.

Marquis M. Hunt Jr. ’35 of Birmingham died

Dec. 26. He founded a landscaping company along with his wife in 1972, was known for carving wooden walking sticks and was a member of the Alabama Lapidary and Mineral Society.

William E. Cannady ’42 of Belvedere, Calif.,

died Jan. 19. A World War II veteran, he worked as a petroleum


engineer for Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey and later served as vice president and director of investments for employee benefit plans at Crocker National Corp. He also served as president of the Security Analysts of San Francisco. Dent Moseley Ander-


son ’43 of Montgom-

ery died Dec. 17. She worked for the Alabama state employment service and was a member of Kappa Delta sorority. Robert F. Ellis Jr. ’43

of Pensacola, Fla., died Feb. 5. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he served as president of Gulf Power and on the board of The Southern Co. He later became vice chairman of the executive management committee and executive vice president of Southern Co. Services. After retiring, he served as president of the Pensacola Home & Savings Association. John D. Nall ’43

of Birmingham died Oct. 15. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he established Nall Animal Hospital in Homewood and practiced veterinary medicine for more than 50 years. He served as the veterinarian for the Birmingham Zoo for more than 20 years. Alton Scott Little ’44

of Auburn died Feb. 3. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he taught in Auburn University’s


Pony tales It was the day of professional football’s Big Show, and behind the scenes everyone began suiting up. Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and former Auburn University defensive back Jerraud Powers ’09 strapped on helmets. Trey Mock ’04 pulled on a 40-pound acrylic-fur horse’s head. Mock performed in his second Super Bowl in January as the Colts’ mascot, a horse named “Blue,” and he owes it all to Aubie. Sauntering into an Auburn freshman orientation session during the summer of 2001, Mock was just another new student about to traverse the collegiate gauntlet. Then he saw a guy in a big orange Tiger suit. It was love at first stripe. “I don’t know any other college that has a mascot like Aubie,” says Mock, who now works full time as the Colts’ mascot-program coordinator. “I had never seen another mascot do what he did.” The next day, Mock signed up to compete for a position as a “friend of Aubie,” otherwise known as the person in the suit. After losing out, he tried out again and subsequently filled the cat’s paws during 2003-04, helping Aubie win a national collegiate mascot championship. A year before graduating, Mock left Auburn for a chance to help another former Aubie, Trey Humphries ’96, fill the claws of Atlanta Falcons mascot Freddie Falcon. The experience led to a job opportunity in the Indianapolis Colts’ community-relations marketing office, where Mock saw a chance to create a mascot for the young team. Blue was born. As Blue, Mock does more than gallop about the field: His calendar boasts 350 appearances a year. Assignments range from firing up fans to visiting children at hospitals across the state of Indiana. “Basically, this is the best life I could have chosen,” he says. “I get paid to be a big kid every day.” Mock met his wife, Ali, a kindergarten teacher and former Colts cheerleader, on a world tour of American military bases. At the couple’s 2008 wedding, both Aubie and Blue served as ring bearers. To see Mock, aka Blue, in action, check out and click on the “FanZone” tab.—Andrew Sims

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine




In Memoriam Samuel Ginn College of Engineering for 35 years. He also served as an Auburn campus planner and engineer, and was instrumental in establishing the AU chapter of the Society of Professional Engineers.

Dixon L. McCormack ’47 of Jasper, Ga., died

Feb. 21. A World War II veteran, he retired as district sales manager from Republic Steel in Atlanta after more than 30 years of service. He was a member of the Georgia Mountains Auburn Club.

Richard Hardin Johnson ’45 of Atlanta died


Flying in friendly skies When terrorists launched their Sept. 11 attack on the United States nearly a decade ago, Gail Linkins ’76 was already a veteran special agent with the U.S. Secret Service, having accompanied then-vice president George H.W. Bush around the world and investigated financial crimes, among other duties. After that terrible day, Linkins was named one of the first eight federal security directors for the newly formed Transportation Security Administration, which later became a unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “When terrorists attacked our country on Sept. 11, 2001, America was changed forever,” she says. “I wanted to be a part of the response.” Linkins is now responsible for safety at commercial airports in Montgomery, Dothan and Mobile, plus general aviation in Alabama’s middle and southern judicial districts. “My goal is to ensure nothing happens on my watch,” she says. “I am very serious about my work, and I try to be forward-thinking. No one has the right to make others live in fear of their safety.” The TSA is responsible for overseeing security personnel at 450 U.S. airports, including baggage and passenger screeners, air marshals, and security specialists and inspectors. Linkins says she knew law enforcement would be her career during her junior year at Auburn University, when a special agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms visited one of her classes. “I am one of the fortunate people who chose a profession when I was very young that is still the profession I would select if I were choosing today,” she says. “I enjoy the challenge. Much like my career in the Secret Service, we must be one step ahead of our adversaries, and we must do it right every single time. Success, in part, is contingent upon how well you prepare.”— Grace Henderson


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Jan. 18. A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, he practiced internal medicine for 40 years at Piedmont Hospital, where he also served as vice president and president of the hospital’s medical staff. After retiring, he worked for 16 years as a medical consultant for disability determination services with the U.S. Social Security Administration. Johnson was a trombone player and former member of the Auburn Knights. James M. Love ’45

of Lexington, S.C., died Oct. 17. He served for 28 years in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Reserve and retired as a lieutenant colonel. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for 32 years. William Boyd Clark

Edward W. Morris ’47

of Greenwood, S.C., died Nov. 29. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he retired from General Electric Co. after 36 years. Robert Reid Trapani ’47 of Atlanta died Nov.

9. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and Auburn football letterman, he owned Keystone Press commercial printing firm and co-founded Marist School’s booster club. He served on the school’s lay advisory board for 17 years and served as chair of athletics for nine years. Charles Miller Dixon

March 4. A U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force Reserve veteran, he worked in the banking industry and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. John W. Eddins Jr.

died Oct. 24. He was a retired veterinarian.

N.C., died Feb. 6. He was a retired professor of theology at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. He was a visiting scholar at Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Union

Jan. 26. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he worked for his family’s business, Jefferson Body Cos.

died Nov. 21. He owned and operated a dairy farm for more than 30 years, sang in the choir at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church for more than 50 years and helped establish the McAdory Area Fire District’s volunteer fire departments. Louis Q. Flournoy Jr.

Oct. 28. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he worked for Gray Bar Electric Supply and L&K Electrical Supply, and retired from Mayer Electric Supply. John J. Jehle ’48 of Montgomery died Oct. 24. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he was an avid hunter, fisherman and golfer.

’48 of Montgomery died

’48 of Kitty Hawk,

Samuel Ball Feagin

William I. Ethridge Jr. ’48 of Birmingham

’48 of Birmingham died

Jr. ’47 of Wilson, N.C.,

’47 of Birmingham died

Theological Seminary in New York City.

Michael W. Miaoulis ’48

of Montgomery died March 11. A World War II veteran and restauranteur, he received the Alabama Restaurant Association’s prestigious Salut Aux Restaurateur award. He was also active in the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. Floyd Sheldon Smith ’48

of Auburn died Jan. 8. A U.S. Air Force veteran of World War II, he was a professor in Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering,



U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon II



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For Alumni & Friends of Auburn University

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taught flying lessons and was a champion bowler. Edward Almon Wright ’48 of Jensen Beach,

Fla., died Nov. 24. A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, he was a retired mechanical engineer for the U.S. Department of Energy in Oak Ridge. He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Brannan D. Woodham ’49 of Eight Mile died

Feb. 9. A U.S. Army veteran and former Auburn champion wrestler, he worked as a civil servant on U.S. Air Force bases in Alabama and Texas, and retired as chief of the avionics division at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

Robert O. Baxter ’49


Grease is the word The South is the land of fried: deep-fried, pan-fried, Frenchfried, flash-fried. All of which are good for business as far as Clay McInnis ’09 is concerned. Six months after graduation, McInnis takes pride in not leaving his footprint in the Montgomery area—his carbon footprint, that is. As one of Auburn University’s first sustainability minors, McInnis has put what he learned in college into practice by forming SouthernEco, the first commercial biodiesel producer in Alabama. He and his team collect used vegetable oil from restaurants to make biodiesel fuel, consult with local organizations and institutions about creating sustainable business models, and teach high-school and middle-school students in the Montgomery area about the importance of sustainability. “It’s about achieving more without consuming more and using more,” McInnis says of his business philosophy. “It’s about doing things more efficiently and practically so we can conserve our resources.” One of the things that concerns McInnis about the nation’s environmental problems, he says, is the lack of education about finite resources, including the rate at which society is using those resources and the cost of doing so. “We’re in a place where resources are cheap, but they won’t be cheap forever,” he says. “We need to think of different business practices to sustain ourselves for the future. Our generation will benefit from knowing what sustainability is and how we can do things more efficiently and effectively.” McInnis hopes his business makes a lasting impact—one vat of cooking oil at a time.—Grace Henderson


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Myron Wharton Lowell ’49 of Metairie, La., died

Dec. 3. A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, he served as a pilot and gunnery instructor, and retired as a major. Miles Green Stevens Jr.

John Fletcher Yar-

ville, Ga., died March 21. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II, he served as editor and publisher of Poultry Times.

Patricia Van Patten ’49

of Perry, Ga., died Feb. 5. She served in the U.S. Army Women’s Army Corps as a company commander at Fort Dix, N.J., and later retired from Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Ga.

Charles Franklin Hill

died Dec. 12. He retired from Ewing Bros. Wholesale Jewelers. Ronald G. Kuerner ’51

of Little Rock, Ark., died Dec. 8. He worked for Alcoa Inc.

Thomas Leon Cochran ’50 of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., died Jan. 19. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and Auburn football letterman, he played in the NFL for the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants, and later served as superintendent of the Masonic Home in Montgomery. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

’49 of Pittsburgh died

Feb. 21. He worked for Southern Railway, later Norfolk Southern, where he retired as director of labor relations.

Gerald Glover Adams ’51

of Fort Gaines, Ga., died March 7. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he co-owned Adams Pharmacy in Fort Gaines.

’51 of Decatur, Ga., brough IV ’49 of Gaines-

of Auburn died Jan. 11. A U.S. Air Force veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he worked in research and development for International Paper Co. for 21 years and for Bancroft Bag Inc. as director of research and development for 19 years.

A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he was the first principal of Bells Ferry Elementary School in Marietta, Ga.

C. Dennon Alexander ’52 of Hot Springs,

Ark., died Jan. 22. A U.S. Army veteran, he worked for Reynolds Metal Co. as a plant and operational manager for more than 37 years, was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and was a former board member of the Boy Scouts of America. Peggy Gill Bracken ’52 of Brewton died

William Allen Taber Sr. ’50 of Eldersburg, Md.,

died Jan. 3. A U.S. Army Medical Corps veteran of the Korean War, he was vice president of manufacturing at Columbus Carpet Mills and retired from Diamond Rug and Carpet. He was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Milford Lee Turner ’50

of Tallassee died Jan. 27.

Feb. 28. She was a home economics teacher, a retired extension service employee and a member of the Escambia County Historical Society and the Meadorwood Garden Club. Terrell R. Bridges ’52 of Guntersville died

Dec. 7. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he worked in the manufactured-housing industry for Redman

Come with us to a land far, far away … Jan. 4-15 Jan. 12-22 Feb. 3-15 Feb. 4-13 Feb. 5-19 Feb. 7-17 March 6-17 March 2-15 March 12-21 March 30-April 12 April 4-19 April 26-May 6 April 29-May 7 May 6-16 May 15-26 May 17-27 June 5-14 June 21-July 1 July 7-14 July 15-26 Aug. 19-28 Sept. 13-23 Sept. 20-25 Nov. 3-16 Nov. 5-12 Dec. 4-12

Legends of the Nile Mayan Mystique Caribbean Pearls Amazon River Journey Secrets of South America Peru Panama Canal Samba Rhythms Israel Mysteries of the Mekong River Australia and New Zealand Adventure Mediterranean Mosaic European Coastal Civilizations Grecian Glory Historic Reflections (Mediterranean) European Graduation Tour Chianti & the Italian Riviera Baltic Treasures Cruising Alaska’s Glaciers & Inside Passage (free air) Danube River Young Alumni Greek Isles Sojourn Waterways of Russia Chicago Cradle of History (Egypt, Israel, etc.) Paris Highlights Europe’s Christmas Markets

$3,995 $1,499 $1,999 $3,695 $3,999 $3,495 $2,995 $3,299 $2,395 $3,695 $4,899 $3,599 $2,995 $3,799 $3,418 $3,080 $2795 $3,799 $3,558

For a complete 2011 War Eagle Travelers brochure, send name and mailing address to: wareagletravelers@ or call (334) 844-1113

$3,595 $2,295 $3,595 $1,495 $3,738 $2,949 $1,249

Prices are per person, double occupancy. Dates, itineraries and prices subject to change.

Smiling at your mailbox again? We’ll take credit for that. Because even as paper and postage costs climb, Auburn Magazine continues to bring you the news of your alma mater: right there, in your mailbox, four times a year. You’ve told us the magazine is your favorite benefit of membership, and we’re committed to keeping it coming. That’s why we’re asking for your help: By making a tax-deductible contribution to the Auburn Alumni Association, you’ll ensure Auburn Magazine continues to tell the Auburn story—your story—for years to come.

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift of $35, $50, $100—or any amount you choose—to Auburn Magazine’s voluntary subscription fund. Give online at or send check to:

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In Memoriam Homes Inc. and later established Chandeleur Homes Inc. in Boaz. He served two terms as vice-chairman and two terms as chairman of the board of directors of the Alabama Manufactured Housing Institute, and, in 2000, he was the first person inducted to the National Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame. Warren R. Evans ’52

of Westmont, N.J., died Dec. 21. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he managed the construction of an addition to Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, among other major projects. He also served as a building inspector for the township of Cherry Hill, N.J. Allison D. Reed Sr. ’52

of Theodore died Nov. 26. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association and a past president of the Mobile Veterinary Medicine Association. He also was a former commander of the Mobile Power Squadron.

tanooga and Memorial North Park Hospital. William M. Pearson ’54 of Montgomery

died Jan. 28. He was an architect and partner in the firm of Pearson, Humphries & Jones Architects Inc. and formerly served as president of the Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects. He was awarded the Alabama Distinguished Architect Award by the Alabama Architectural Foundation in 2007 and played with the Montgomery Recreators jazz band for more than 20 years.

ark, Del., died Jan. 6. She volunteered for the Crossmen Drum and Bugle Corps and was a high school band booster.

N.C., died Nov. 7. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was president and principal engineer of G.E. Smithson Associates Inc., and was a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and Sigma Chi fraternity. He also played trombone for the Auburn Knights Orchestra and had served as president of the AKO Alumni Association. Roger Lynn Swingle Sr. ’54 of Jacksonville,

Fla., died Jan. 3. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he co-founded Athens Orthopedic Clinic in Athens, Ga.

Janice Williams Owens ’54 of Signal Mountain,

Tenn., died Sept. 25. A former church choir director and “Miss Auburn,” she worked for Alexian Brothers Health System, Hospice of Chat-


Robert E. Roane ’55

of Arlington, Texas, died Feb. 7. He was a retired Lockheed Martin Corp. aerospace engineer. Shirley Tuggle Crafton ’56 of Sugar Land, Texas, died Oct. 30. She taught elementary school and was a member of Alpha Delta Phi sorority. Thomas Whatley Fuller ’56 of Dunwoody, Ga., died Nov. 10. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a retired employee of IBM Corp.

Guilford Eugene Smithson ’54 of Hickory,

Helen Parrish Townsend ’53 of New-

member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

March 2. A U.S. Navy veteran, he owned and operated a farm, and worked as an insurance agent. He was a

Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

Jones Wallace Miller

Va., died Dec. 18. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Kappa Alpha fraternity member, he worked for Burlington Industries, American of Martinsville and Ameristaff. He served as president of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, chairman of the Governor’s Private Industry Council, president of the Blue Ridge Personnel Association and president of Martinsville-Henry County United Way. He was an Atlantic Coast Conference football official and retired as a back judge for the NFL. John Earl Jones ’57

of Columbiana died Nov. 27. He was a retired county extension agent and managed the Shelby County Fair. He

from Exxon Corp. after 34 years and was a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Phi Theta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi fraternities.

’57 of Enterprise died

Nov. 20. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he founded WKMK Radio Inc. and formerly chaired the board of Scenic Cable Network & Production Inc. He also served as chair of the Alabama Dairy Commission for 12 years. John Z. Solomon ’57

of Dothan died Dec. 6. He owned and operated Solomon Chevrolet and was a lifelong Rotarian.

Jimmy Linton Rosser ’56 of Martinsville,

John Lloyd Ellis Sr. ’55 of Centre died

was a board member of the Shelby County Farmers Federation and the Shelby County Cattleman’s Association.

J. William Triplett ’57 of Opelika died

Nov. 25. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a partner in T & M Enterprises Inc. and started Tyler’s Restaurant.

Eleanor C. McBride ’58 of Tallahassee, Fla.,

died Dec. 7. She was a partner in The Courier People Inc. and a former president of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Leroy Nance ’58 of Birmingham died Oct. 26. A U.S. Navy veteran, he worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Brown Engineering and the U.S. Army Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal. He was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a past worthy patron of the Helion chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Mickey Kennedy Phillips ’58 of Alexander

Patricia Brown Battles ’58 of Fort Walton

Beach, Fla., died Feb. 22. She managed Battles Construction Co. with her husband and helped manage Battles Bail Bonds with her son. Ira Leonard Burley III ’58 of Kennesaw,

Ga., died Dec. 30. A U.S. Navy veteran and former Eastern Airlines pilot, he worked for Campbell High School, The Kroger Co., Post Properties and Harry Norman, Realtors. James Hugh Corbitt ’58 of Eatontown, N.J., died Jan. 29. He retired

City died Jan. 11. She was a charter member of the Alexander City Rotary Club and a supporter of Children’s Harbor Ministry. She also worked in real estate and was a top saleswoman for Russell Lands Inc. from 19922001. She received the company’s Inspirational Award in 2004. Eleanor True Raney ’58

of Montgomery died Feb. 16. She opened a private school, taught first grade and later retired as a reading specialist with the Alabama Department of Education.

Moody M. Steadman ’58 of Fairhope died

Sept. 30. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was a training commander during the Korean War, worked for Boeing’s aircraft division and retired from IBM Corp. in 1987. Max Jerome Weems Jr. ’58 of Pensacola,

Fla., died Dec. 18. A U.S. Navy veteran, he retired as a lieutenant commander and was a member of the Ensley Lions Club. Charles R. Crowder ’59 of Birmingham died Jan. 15. A retired judge, he had served as the president of the Alabama Circuit Judges Association and later became a founding partner in the law firm of Cory, Watson, Crowder & DeGaris. He also coached youth football and baseball. Julia Wells Ford ’59 of Gadsden died March 6. She taught at Gadsden State Community College for more than 30 years and was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority. Clifford H. Jackson ’59 of Theodore died

Oct. 24. He was a commercial real estate investor and member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Sail and Power Squadron. Otis D. Kirkland ’59 of Phenix City died Jan. 27. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the

Nice place to work Auburn and Opelika were together ranked sixth in a top-10 list of best small towns for business and careers by Forbes magazine’s website, In compiling the list, editors analyzed business and living costs, past and projected job growth, income growth, educational attainment, crime rates, and other characteristics of metro areas with populations of less than 245,000. Other (colder) top-10 small towns included Sioux Falls, S.D., Iowa City, Iowa, Manhattan, Kansas, Bismarck, N.D., and Logan, Utah.

Korean War, he served as principal at Summerville Elementary, Phenix City Elementary, Central Elementary and Central High schools. Albert Borelly Michel

Samuel R. Pate ’60

of Tullahoma, Tenn., died Dec. 7. He worked for Sverdrup Corp. at its Arnold Engineering Development Center from which he retired as president in 1995.

’59 of Auburn died Feb.

11. He was a real estate agent for Country & Commercial Properties and a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Mark Holland Young Sr. ’59 of Tequesta, Fla., died Feb. 14. He worked for Pratt & Whitney for 32 years and was a member of Delta Chi fraternity.

Jerry Earl Sides ’60

of Aiken, S.C., died Oct. 24. He was a mechanical engineer at DuPont’s Savannah River plant. June M. Torbert ’60

of Hurtsboro died Dec. 2. A retired teacher, she was an avid supporter of the United Methodist Children’s Home. Jim Henry Waters Jr.

Len Grafton Burke ’60

of Oneonta died Feb. 14. He was a retired employee of Young and Van Supply Co., where he worked for 35 years, and was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. Jeanne Barnhart How-

’60 of Birmingham died Jan. 11. A past president of the Alabama Council of the American Institute of Architects, he owned his own architectural firm and helped start the Sloss Furnaces Association. Charles A. Yarbrough

ard ’60 of Auburn died

’60 of Huntsville died

Jan. 5. She worked for Auburn University, the Macon County School System and Auburn City Schools, from which she retired. She was a member of the Auburn Women’s Club.

Nov. 27. A U.S. Army veteran, he was president of Activation Inc.

Billy Rentz Hughes ’60

of Eatonton, Ga., died Sept. 30. A U.S. Navy veteran, he worked for Georgia Power for 35 years, and was a storyteller and published illustrator. John Albert Parsons ’60 of Marion died Nov. 9. He operated Valley View Farms for more than 30 years.

Mary Evelyn Orr Adams ’61 of Jacksonville, Miss., died Feb. 13. She conceived of and raised funds for an awardwinning discovery zoo for children, served as one of the first female Episcopal vestry members in Mississippi and served as president of two garden clubs. At Auburn, she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and Mortar Board and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

Mary Chalker Cook ’61

of Dothan died Feb. 13. She was a retired teacher and member of the Dothan Service League, the Retired Teachers Association and Kappa Delta sorority. She also served as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader. James A. Botta Jr. ’62

of Frisco City died Oct. 23. He taught in the veterinary school at Purdue University and owned Toxicology/Pathology Services Inc. Eris Tucker Parker ’62

of LaGrange, Ga., died Feb. 24. She was the first guidance counselor at LaGrange High School, retiring after 30 years.

also earned a civilian pilot’s certificate from the Civil Aeronautics Administration. Gene Elliott ’63 of Cot-

tonwood died Feb. 9. A U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, he was a retired high school teacher. He enjoyed fishing, farming and caring for his cattle. Thomas William Parish

ter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the Retired Teachers Association and Delta Kappa Gamma. Jerry Lee Williams ’64

of Mandeville, La., died Jan. 15. A U.S. Naval Reserve veteran, he was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Jr. ’63 of Geneva died

Jan. 6. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was a dentist, and enjoyed hunting and fishing. Ralph E. Rhea ’63 of Cleveland died Dec. 23. He was a retired U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian.

James Wayne Taffar ’62 of Wake Forest,

Archie Blaxton Trawick

N.C., died Dec. 16. He spent most of his career in sales and marketing with Burroughs Corp., now Unisys, and with Nortel Networks. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Triangle Area Auburn Club.

’63 of Perdido died Jan. 1. He was a superintendent and principal in Escambia County.

C. Owen Waites ’62 of LaFayette died July 11, 2008. He owned Waites Auto Parts, and was an avid fisherman and Auburn football fan.

James T. Castellow ’64

Charles Jere Bruce ’64

of Fairhope died Jan. 27. A U.S. Navy veteran, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam with a construction battalion and earned a Bronze Star.

of Decatur died Jan. 23. A U.S. Marines Corps veteran, he was registered in 14 states as a professional engineer.

James Ray Coleman ’63

of Savannah, Ga., died Jan. 21. A U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, he had served as Hinds County education superintendent and was ordained as a Baptist minister. He


Martha Howard Burnham ’65 of Headland died

Feb. 2. She retired from Northview High School and worked for Providence Christian School as a media specialist.

in Muscogee County schools for 21 years. George W. Brinkley ’67

of Montgomery died Jan 26. A U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War, he retired as a lieutenant colonel and later worked in accounting at Whitfield Foods Inc. Tomps Summerhill Gray ’67 of Bauxite, Ark., died Jan. 31. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a right-of-way real estate appraiser for the state of Arkansas and a member of the Benton Gun Club. Joseph Nelson Rushton

Neulan B. Green III ’66 of Burgettstown,

Penn., died Jan. 29. A U.S. Navy veteran, he worked for U.S. Steel Corp.’s Fairfield Works in Birmingham for 15 years. He also had been employed by Daxus Corp., Armco Holding Corp. and Alstom, among other companies.

’67 of Huntsville died Feb. 2. He retired from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco after 23 years and from Challenger Middle School after 15 years. William Roger Smith Jr. ’67 of Bay Minette

died Nov. 26. He was a member of Dalton First Baptist Church.

died Jan. 4. He worked for Huyck Formex and Plus Mark, a subsidiary of American Greetings. He was a member of the Davy Crockett chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America.

Patricia Carnes Neal

James Thomas Fletcher

’66 of Auburn died Jan.

’68 of Columbus, Ga., died Feb. 8. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he taught and served as chair of the English department at Hardaway High and Spencer High schools. A Fulbright Scholar, he also served as adjunct faculty in the music, language and literature departments

Lawson N. Jaquith ’66 of Dalton, Ga.,

27. She was a member of Grace United Methodist Church and an avid bridge player.

Carter Maxwell Koart ’64 of Columbus, Ga., died Feb. 22. A former teacher and librarian in Muscogee County, she was a former regent of the George Walton chap-


Betty Virginia Seabury ’66 of Valley died Jan.

23. She taught highschool mathematics in Mobile for 17 years and

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine





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Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

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at Columbus State University and in the English department at Troy University. Thomas Stanley Nance ’68 of Homewood

died Jan. 30. A U.S. Army veteran, he was a retired employee of the U.S. Social Security Administration.

James Drickill Kellim ’71 of Belleville, Ill., died

Feb. 25. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he had logged more than 6,700 flying hours and retired at the rank of major general. He then worked for Boeing as director of field services for the C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.

Charles L. Strickland

Helen Bagley McGough

’68 of Marietta, Ga.,

’71 of Montgomery died Jan. 19. She taught English and served as a guidance counselor at Lanier High School for 18 years and helped develop the first honors English program in the Montgomery Public Schools.

died April 7. He was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and was employed as an industries specialist at SKF USA Inc. Frances Hug Sylvester ’68 of Newark, Del.,

died Jan. 15. She was a teacher and volunteer for the March of Dimes. Claude Franklin Cook ’69 of East Point, Ga., died Jan. 19. A U.S. Army and Navy veteran, he was a retired senior executive with the Federal Aviation Administration and an ordained Baptist minister.

blett ’73 of Sandy

Springs, Ga., died Dec. 21. He taught psychology at several colleges, was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and served as an audiologist at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and as director of hearing conservation at Philadelphia Naval Hospital.

Charley McCain Tuggle

’73 of Beaumont, Texas,

’71 of Leeds died Feb. 11. He was a U.S. Navy veteran and a member of Valley View Baptist Church.

died Jan. 13. She was selected as a Genentech Access Excellence Fellow for being one of the nation’s most creative highschool biology teachers.

Charles A. Hartley ’77 of Birmingham

died Nov. 5. He was president of Dowdy & Associates Inc. Daniel “Dan” Bankston ’79 of Lawton, Okla., died Feb. 20. A U.S. Army veteran, he retired in 2000 as a lieutenant colonel and was working as a civil servant at the Fort Sill Fires Center of Excellence developing concepts for future Army organizations and systems. Mary C. Livingston ’79

of Alexander City died Jan. 7. She enjoyed quilting, sewing, painting and researching family genealogy. Robert Wren Avery ’80

of Jacksonville died Jan. 4. He was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

’72 of Birmingham died

Charles Salisbury Sharp

March 14. A U.S. Army veteran, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and worked as a stockbroker for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

Jr. ’73 of Atlantic Beach,

’80 of Denton, Texas,

Fla., died Feb. 11. A U.S. Army veteran, he was executive director of CRC Health Group Inc.’s Wilmington Treatment Center for more than 16 years.

died Dec. 19. He was a psychologist and worked at Oklahoma State University, Rush Medical Center and the University of West Virginia. He was an avid collector of comic books and Starbucks location cups.

John Kenneth Ready ’72

Fla., died Feb. 17. A U.S. Navy veteran, he worked in real estate and as a shift supervisor for CVS pharmacy. At Auburn, he was a member of ROTC, the marching band and Phi Mu Alpha fraternity.

of Middletown, Ohio, died Jan. 15. He served in the U.S. Navy for 30 years, accumulating more than 6,800 flying hours and 1,100 arrested carrier landings before retiring as a vice admiral. He later worked for Lockheed Martin Corp., where he was the director of Navy programs and later the joint-strike fighter program. He was active in the Young

H. Curtis Pitts ’82 of

Valley died March 31. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was a retired vice chancellor from Troy University’s Phenix City campus, where he worked for more than 30 years.

Raymond J. Miles

Frank Lee Collins Jr.

Jr. ’74 of Birmingham

died Nov. 27. A U.S. Air Force and Army Reserve veteran, he was a certified public accountant and avid golfer.

Richard Neal Fordham ’80 of Prattville died Jan. 9. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he worked for the state of Alabama for 31 years.

Charles S. Cardwell ’76

of Sylacauga died Sept. 26. A U.S. Navy veteran, he was a member of Mignon Baptist Church.

Byron Holman Wall ’80

of Springtown, Texas, died Jan. 21. He worked at Lockheed Martin Corp. for seven years.

Limestone Correctional Facility as a classification supervisor. Hoyt Lee Jett ’05 of

Decatur died Jan. 13. He was a mechanical engineer. Kristen Rebecca

Philip Anthony Crockett

Hare ’06 of Dover, Fla.,

’83 of Jacksonville, Fla.,

died Jan. 20. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Dover.

died Jan. 28. A U.S. Army and Navy veteran, he served as a dental officer and later as a dentist in the medical clinic at Naval Station Mayport. He was a member of the American Dental Association. Ashley Helen Howle ’86 of Mobile died Jan. 7. She was a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority and enjoyed playing tennis and Bunco, and gardening. Richard Thomas Langston ’01 of Mobile

Johnny A. Phillips Jr.

James Russell Glass

’70 of Marietta, Ga., died Jan. 22. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi honor society.

Dixon Allen Bram-

Therese Shannon Clark

’70 of Jacksonville,

Carroll E. Hughey Jr.

Eagles, a national program to interest young people in general aviation, and Wings of Mercy, an organization that provides free flights to medical facilities.


died March 7. He was a chemist and production engineer for Huntsman Corp. for more than 20 years. He also worked as a football and basketball recruiting scout, volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and served as a math tutor for the Alabama Department of Corrections. Jerry Keith Adair ’02 of Montevallo died Feb. 4. He was an agriscience teacher and assistant football coach at Montevallo High School. Edna Taylor Harris ’02

of Decatur died Jan. 28. She worked for

Faculty and Friends Mark James Bertus of Auburn died Jan. 26. He was a professor of finance at Auburn University, where he received numerous teaching awards. Christine Dykstra of

Auburn died Jan. 30. She had been an associate professor in the pathobiology department at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine since 1997. Robert E. Hall of Pensacola, Fla., died Dec. 8. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he had served as a professor of aerospace engineering at Auburn. Costas A. Kouskolekas

of Auburn died Feb. 11. Known as “Dr. K” among students, he was a retired AU entomology professor. Waldir M. Pedersoli

of Lanham Seabrook, Md., died Oct. 1. He taught pharmacology in Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine for more than 21 years.

a u a l u m . o r g Auburn Magazine




The Last Word

Leaving Auburn BY Mary Ward Brown Editor’s note: In 1939, Judson College publicity director Mary Ward met her Alabama Polytechnic Institute counterpart Kirtley Brown at a conference in New Orleans. Two months later, they married and set up housekeeping on the Auburn campus. We lived that first summer in the Kappa Delta sorority apartment, which was one big room, a small kitchen and a room-sized screened porch. It was my introduction to cooking and housekeeping, about which I knew nothing, and to college-town social life. “Calling” was a custom in Auburn in the 1930s. After 3:30 in the afternoon, ladies of the town, in hats and white gloves, began paying 15-minute visits to newcomers in the community. It was a gesture of welcome, a way to become acquainted, perhaps to satisfy curiosity. It was a custom I’d never heard of. So the first callers found me in old shorts, worn out from cooking and housekeeping misadventures, sometimes asleep on the couch. If I didn’t get to the door or wasn’t at home, I found calling cards in the mailbox. And I learned from my sister-in-law, Sarah Brown, wife of Kirtley’s brother Roberts, an Auburn attorney, that I was expected to return the calls. Which, once initiated, I tried to do. When the KDs returned in the fall, we had to leave the apartment, so we moved, at the invitation of Kirtley’s parents, to live with them in the antebellum house they’d bought and partially restored three miles from town on Shelton Mill Road. Kirtley’s father, James Vandiver Brown, an Auburn alumnus and early football star, had been for years superintendent of buildings and grounds. I don’t know how long this lasted, one year or two, when one morning I went to town with Kirtley. I don’t remember what I did all day, only that he met me after work for supper and a movie. The movie, entirely erased by what happened, didn’t engross me from the start. All that I remember is a plague of grasshoppers eating up everything in sight on the screen. A loud humming and whirring filled the dark theater. And … I felt the beating of my own heart. The beats became stronger, faster, and I began to be uneasy. Soon I could feel beats in my ears, the hollow of my throat. They began to skip, stop for an instant and return with a thud that seemed to shake my whole body. Finally, they were going so fast they seemed to be running together, and I found it hard to breathe. I told Kirtley that I was having a heart attack, and we rushed outside. The doctor … met us in his office. He listened to my chest, front, back, up, down, low on both sides, then took off his stethoscope and smiled. There was nothing wrong with my heart, he said. It was a good heart and would last 50 more years at least. Palpitations returned the next day and the next. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, was afraid to be alone, to die alone. I became bone thin. ... People looked at me and looked away.


Auburn Magazine a u a l u m . o r g

I was diagnosed with an acute anxiety neurosis. Today, the symptoms are called panic attacks. ... We saw doctors in other places, other states, and I didn’t improve. Finally we returned to Kirtley’s relative, Dr. Stewart D. Brown, in Royston, Ga. He put me in the small hospital he owned and operated at the time. They fed me good food, saw that I slept at night. And he talked to me, asked questions. Finally he advised us to move back to town and start a family. So we rented half of a duplex apartment near the heart of town. I found that the attacks came less often and could sometimes be aborted if my attention was focused on something of interest. So I enrolled in a creative-writing class, a large class of undergraduates. We were given impromptu writing exercises in class but no writing assignments. So I soon dropped out and began trying to write stories at home. They were fragments of my own experience injected into supposedly fictional characters, a common practice of beginners. To learn that fiction is a product of imagination, and not palmed-off personal experience, takes time and many failures. By now, 1942, the country was at war ... Everyone was affected, young and old, men and women. Kirtley, though a little above draft age, had been classified 1A but not yet called. I wanted to do more than knit mittens, so I took a job as a typist for a wartime engineering training program. ... I worked there until I became pregnant and afflicted with morning sickness. But three months before the birth, my father died of renal failure. … In his will, he left me the house, the store and 1,500 of the 3,000 acres of land he’d acquired … in and around Hamburg, with 400 acres on the Cahaba River. Kirtley, meanwhile, had been made Auburn’s first director of student affairs, or dean of men. His new job at Auburn was stressful. It was his duty to tell a father that his son had been expelled for cheating. He was called out in the middle of the night because of a campus melee. A student was killed in an automobile accident; it was up to Kirtley to collect details and, with his new-father’s heart, call the parents. After four years, he made the decision that if we intended to keep the land, we should move back and live on it. I remember not being thrilled to go back to the country and the prairie mud. But, sick or well, I could never have given it up. My parents had worked too hard for it. Excerpted from Fanning the Spark: A Memoir (University of Alabama Press, 2010) by Mary Ward Brown. Brown is the author of two acclaimed collections of short stories and has received the PEN/Hemingway Award for Fiction. She still lives in the village of Hamburg, southwest of Montgomery.

full vision


Auburn has a vision for investing in the future of each of our students. We’ve expanded Learning Communities, the Honors College, and academic support services. Auburn’s new National Prestigious Scholarships Program mentors students with the greatest potential to be awarded the nation’s highest regarded scholarships and fellowships. The program played a key role in senior, athlete-scholar Jordan Anderson’s selection as a Rhodes scholar. Among the most prestigious awards for seniors in American universities, the Rhodes Scholars program selects 32 students each year for graduate study at the University of Oxford in England. Jordan, a biomedical sciences Honors student and captain of Auburn’s swimming and diving team, initially sought guidance in applying for a scholarship to dental school. Upon viewing his credentials, Paul Harris, director of the mentoring program, suggested Jordan expand his horizons. And Jordan’s success FULL vision… Jordan Anderson will study in Oxford’s global health sciences program as part of a long-range plan to participate in medical mission trips in the United States and abroad. “The long-term goal is to give me a better understanding of the problems in countries that I want to one day work in,” he said. “With the help of a future dental degree, I’d like to develop medical solutions from a dental perspective.” You’ve made your Auburn Family proud, Jordan. Congratulations and War Eagle!

“I believe in Auburn and love it.”

Auburn Alumni Center 317 South College Street Auburn, AL 36849-5149 w w

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Auburn Magazine Summer 2010  

In Living Color, The birds and bees of birds

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