Message from the AUM Alumni Board

Greetings on behalf of your AUM Alumni Association Board of Directors,

We’re excited to see most areas of our beautiful campus reopening to alumni, friends, and community members over the summer. We’ve missed visiting with you, and look forward to many opportunities to reconnect in person in the fall.

This summer we’ll be working hard to plan the details of some of our annual events like the African American Alumni Reception and the Young Alumni Mixer. Please follow your AUM Alumni Association on social media and check our website for frequent campus updates, alumni news, and event postings.

As a reminder, the AUM Alumni Association Board of Directors will accept nominations for the 2022-2023 term through September 3rd. Please find additional information and application in the article below.

Joey Taff, President, AUM Alumni Association

Thank you for your continued support of your alma mater. As always, please feel free to contact the AUM Alumni Association at 334-244-3369 or alumni@aum.edu with any questions or feedback.

Kind regards,

Joey Taff ’89
President, AUM Alumni Association

Nominations open for the AUM Alumni Association Board of Directors

Are you passionate about AUM? Do you want to make a difference?

We invite you to apply for a position on the AUM Alumni Board of Directors.

As the advisory board to the Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association, the Alumni Board seeks candidates who are proven leaders, have demonstrated service to the AUM alumni family, are experienced in working in a collaborative environment, and are committed to serving as AUM ambassadors in their communities.

Board of Directors

The Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Board meets three times per year on campus, and board members serve a term of two years. Board members are expected to be active members of the AUM Alumni Association.

Nominations will close Friday, September 3, 2021. Please contact the AUM Alumni Association at 334-244-3369 or alumni@aum.edu with any questions.

More Details and Nomination Form

Nominations open for the 2021 Faculty Service Award

The Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association sponsors an Alumni Faculty Service Award to recognize outstanding AUM faculty.  To be eligible for this honor, faculty must have five or more years of full-time service at AUM.  This honor will be conferred during the fall semester and the recipient will receive a $1,000 award from the Alumni Association.

Nominations by AUM faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends must be submitted or postmarked by September 3, 2021.  Nomination letters should be no more than two pages in length, and should emphasize teaching excellence as well as a strong record of service to the university and community.  A vita may be attached, if available.

Send nomination letters to:  Awards Committee, AUM Alumni Association, P.O. Box 244023, Montgomery, AL 36124-4023, or email them to alumni@aum.edu.

Questions?  Contact the AUM Alumni Association at 334-244-3369 or alumni@aum.edu.

AUM Softball finishes 2021 season ranked No. 21

After a historic 2021 season, the Auburn University at Montgomery softball team has been ranked No. 21 in the final edition of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) coaches poll. The Warhawks were ranked as high as three this season.

AUM finished the year as Gulf South Conference (GSC) champions after appearing in their first-ever Gulf South Conference postseason. AUM had a 40-7 record after finishing as the GSC regular season champions and earning a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The Warhawks join GSC teams Valdosta State, West Florida, and UAH in the national polls. Additionally, the Warhawks are one of seven teams in the top-25 to record at least 40 wins this season.

AUM softball champs

2021-22 AUM Alumni Association Graduate Merit Scholarships Awarded

The Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association recently awarded its annual Graduate Study Merit Scholarships to five outstanding AUM students. The scholarships require that recipients maintain a GPA of 3.4 or higher, enroll in and complete nine hours each semester and be continuously enrolled for each semester covered by the award.

The $1,000 scholarships, funded by alumni memberships, were awarded by the AUM Alumni Board of Directors to Paisley Blackmon, Crystal Mann, Sheldon Martin, Julie McDaniel, and Allison Stewart.

graduate merit scholarship recipients
Pictured (L to R): Allison Stewart, Crystal Mann, Paisley Blackmon Not Pictured: Julie McDaniel, Sheldon Martin
  • Blackmon earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2019 from Auburn University at Montgomery, and is currently pursuing a Master degree in Psychology at AUM. After graduating, she hopes to work in her own clinic or be a part of a mental health clinic. Her dream is to be able to help anyone and everyone become the best version of themselves.
  • Mann earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2020 from Auburn University at Montgomery. She is currently pursuing a Master degree in Public Administration at AUM. Mann has a passion for the work of non-profit and community development organizations. She hopes to work in a field where she can have a positive impact on the community.
  • Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & Marketing in 2014. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at Auburn University at Montgomery. Martin owns a small family business, and hopes to advance and grow it with his foundational business background.
  • McDaniel earned a bachelor’s degree in Business in 2003. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Healthcare Administration at Auburn University at Montgomery. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and earned the AUM College of Business Outstanding Student Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. After graduating, she plans to use her degree to advance her role and succeed where she is currently employed.
  • Stewart earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication in 2020 from Auburn University at Montgomery. She is currently pursuing a Master degree in Public Administration at AUM. Her long-term goal is to establish a bridge between her volunteering and communications role.

Lakeshore Foundation President and CEO Jeff Underwood '76 announces retirement

Jeff Underwood, President and CEO of Lakeshore Foundation, announced he is retiring after leading the Birmingham non-profit organization for 30 years. Underwood joined Lakeshore in 1991 serving as its first and only president for the last three decades. Lakeshore is recognized as a leader in fitness, recreation, sport, research, and advocacy for people with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions.

“Jeff Underwood has led Lakeshore Foundation from its humble beginnings to the nationally and internationally acclaimed position it now holds in disability fitness, sport, research, and advocacy,” said Mark McColl, Board Chairman of Lakeshore Foundation.  The Board, staff and the Lakeshore Foundation community will be forever grateful for Jeff Underwood’s devotion and leadership over the last 30 years,” added McColl.

Lakeshore Foundation President and CEO Jeff Underwood '76

Underwood’s visionary leadership led the organization to 30 years of steady growth, including the expansion and construction of the Homewood, Alabama fitness, aquatics, and sports center to include dedicated research facilities and other programs. More than bricks and mortar, his leadership took Lakeshore to the national and international stage including being designated as an official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site in 2003, which resulted in Lakeshore Foundation’s long history of advancing adaptive sports. As a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, Lakeshore hosts national team training camps and international competitions. Since the training site designation, Lakeshore has produced 52 Paralympic athletes, coaches and staff, and those athletes have captured 30 Paralympic medals. In addition, Lakeshore is also the High Performance Management Organization (HPMO) of USA Wheelchair Rugby.

Additionally, the Lima Foxtrot program for injured military members and the formation of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) – Lakeshore Research Collaborative, are among the milestone events of his tenure. Underwood also led the development of new facilities, an advocacy department, and many sports and recreation programs for youth and adults.

While the past 30 years have been a period of expansion, Underwood continued to prioritize the Lakeshore members and the work to make an impact on the community. “I am very proud of the fact that, in the midst of all the national attention, our extraordinary staff and board have kept our members, local athletes and community at the very center of all we do.  They are truly the heart and soul of Lakeshore,” Underwood said.

Lakeshore’s mission is to encourage and provide opportunities for people with disability to live a healthy lifestyle through activity, research, advocacy and health promotion.  Supporting this mission included partnerships with many other organizations, such as the collaboration with Apple to develop the activity tracker for wheelchair users and the construction of dormitories and cottages for visiting Lima Foxtrot participants and athletes.

“When I decided to accept the position at Lakeshore, I saw it as an opportunity and a challenge,” Underwood said. “It was opportunity to come into an organization where there was a strong commitment by the board to build a successful program, and a challenge to test myself to see as the first full-time employee, if I could be successful in that situation.”

Underwood is a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Paralympic Advisory Council. In 2008 Underwood was named by the United States Olympic Committee as the Chef de Mission for the U.S. Paralympic Team for the Beijing Paralympic Games.

Prior to Lakeshore, Underwood worked at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center and served as a Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Congressman Ben Erdreich. He also served as president of the Homewood, Alabama City Council and as a state senator. He has served on the boards of several community and civic organizations including the Homewood City School Board, the Bryant-Jordan Scholarship Program, and the national Board of Disabled Sports USA. He was a member of the Leadership Birmingham Class of 1998 and the Leadership Alabama Class of 2011.

Underwood received his Master of Science in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1976.

Dr. Michele Eller '98 named Sylacauga City Schools superintendent

Eller will come to Sylacauga from Chickasaw City Schools where she serves as assistant superintendent. She has been director of secondary instruction at Eufaula City Schools, and from 2003-2013 was at Elmore County schools as curriculum/secondary instructional specialist, and English/theatre teacher. She earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from Auburn University at Montgomery; master’s as a reading specialist, also from AUM; and Ed.S. and doctorate degrees from Auburn University.

“I am humbled and honored to be chosen as the next superintendent for Sylacauga City Schools,” Eller remarked. “As a pillar of the Sylacauga community, this system has had a long-standing tradition of both outstanding leadership and academic proficiency. I look forward to forging relationships with the community, school board, staff, parents, and students to build upon the current foundation of excellence. Together we will achieve the highest level of success for every student.”

Dr. michele eller AUM Class of 98

Eller’s professional education background and accomplishments are quite impressive. Under her watch at Eufaula, the school won the Champion of Computer Science Award, and each school improved one letter grade on the state report card from the 2018-19 school year. In 2019, she was nominated to serve on the Governor’s Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways where she serves as the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) expert. She also received the Public Relations Award from the Alabama Career Technical Association in 2018 and was nominated to serve on the ACTA board.

Eller’s accomplishments seemingly go on forever. BOE President Amy Price is excited to bring one of the state’s top educators to the Marble City.

“This is an exciting time for Sylacauga City Schools. We’re excited about Dr. Eller’s arrival and look forward to working with her to create an environment of academic excellence and opportunities for every student, ” Price remarked.

Eller earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1998 as well as a Master of Education in 2006 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Original article found here.

Nurses spotlight: Sutricia Johnson '00

For Sutricia Johnson, becoming a nurse was a natural fit, a blessing that united her passion for helping people with a meaningful career.

“Nursing has innately been a part of my life’s purpose since I was young,” said Johnson, a graduate of Troy University and Auburn University at Montgomery, who began her nursing career 27 years ago at East Alabama Medical Center. “Being the oldest child gave me many opportunities to be the caregiver for others. The process was natural, so pursuing a career that allowed me to extend my desire to care for others was an easy choice.”

sutricia johnson, Nurse, AUM Graduate

Johnson’s desire to care for others has gained much appreciation, as she’s been nominated by Opelika-Auburn News readers as one of the area’s top nurses. Her biggest reward, however, is the time she spends with up-and-coming nurses.

“While there are many rewarding opportunities in the nursing field, I can truly say one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences as a nurse is the opportunity to share my knowledge with the younger nurses,” Johnson said. “Seeing them connect knowledge with practice is a great feeling.”

As the director of case management at EAMC, among other roles, Johnson is responsible for overseeing duties such as insurance certification and social work discharge planning.

“In my current role, I would say one of the biggest challenges is connecting our patients to the resources in the community that will aid them in becoming self-sufficient,” she said. “Sometimes the resources are scarce and having the opportunity to be a patient advocate can be challenging.”

Despite the challenges, Johnson said, “there is no better feeling than identifying the right blend of resources to get the patient what is needed to succeed.”

“This was particularly challenging during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “I always believe that we should never settle for less when we are pooling resources for our patients and community. I approach each situation as if I am working for my own family. If I would do it for family, I am willing to do it for our patients.”

Johnson earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2000 as well as her Master of Business Administration in 2014 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Original article found here.

Save-the-Date: 2021 African American Alumni Reception

Invitation to follow.

For more details, visit: www.aum.edu/AAAReception

Class Notes

Ashley Reid ‘20
Stamp Idea Group’s newest addition to the creative team, Ashley Reid, is also the 2021 ADDY® Awards Student Designer of the Year. In addition to the coveted Student Designer of the Year Award, Reid also took home a total of six ADDY® Awards in the Student Division for the American Advertising Federation (AAF), Montgomery Chapter 2020 – 2021 American Advertising Awards. Reid earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2020 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Marina Gilmore ‘15
Montgomery Veterinary Associates welcomes its newest member of the MVA Vaughn Road family, Dr. Marina Gilmore, DVM. Her special interests include surgery, emergency and preventative medicine, and she looks forward to serving you and your pet. Gilmore earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2015.

Bradley Bedwell ‘12
Bradley Bedwell, a political newcomer, is running in the District 3 race for a seat on the City Commission of Dothan. Bedwell’s platform is focusing on providing good customer service to constituents. Bedwell, a Selma native, obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Accountancy in 2012 from Auburn University at Montgomery. He opened a CPA firm in Dothan, where he works as a certified public accountant.

Ashlee Thompson ‘11
Graduate student Ashlee Thompson presented her thesis exhibition in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery inside Woods Hall. Thompson has been affected by mental illness for 12 years, and her exhibition “Synaptic Transmission” aims to advocate for mental health awareness. Her art featured various colors and shapes birthed from strokes of acrylic paint, some featuring scientific elements like trace outs of brain neuron chemical structures. “I use abstraction because I believe that complex concepts like mental health cannot be represented objectively,” Thompson said. “This is my version of creating something that’s making the invisible visible.” Thompson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a minor in Art History in 2011 as well as a Master of Liberal Arts degree in 2013 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Ian Brooks ‘00
Dr. Ian D. Brooks, MS is the chief executive and founder of Rhodes Smith Consulting, leading transformations of people and organizations for over 24 years. His new book, “Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story,” provides a fundamental piece of his approach, switching focus from a single change to a total transformation of self. Dr. Brooks has extensive experience in executive and leadership development, change management, business performance consulting, and communication planning. Brooks earned a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2000.

James Wood, Jr. ‘98
Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of James Wood, Jr. to the Florida Mid-Bay Bridge Authority. Wood is a former Destin City Council Member who served 20 years in the United States Army, receiving an honorable discharge. He has been involved with the Lions Club, Destin Chamber of Commerce, Active Retired Men of Destin, Destin Seafood Festival and the Mattie Kelly Arts Festival. Wood earned a Master of Public Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1998.

Terri Bozeman Lovell ‘92
The Alabama State Bar (ASB) announced the selection of Judge Terri Bozeman Lovell as its new executive director. Lovell will become the first female executive director of the organization since its founding in 1879. “We are thrilled to have Judge Lovell bring her vision, experience and never-ending enthusiasm for the legal profession to the Alabama State Bar. This is an exciting hire for all Alabama lawyers,” said ASB President Bob Methvin in announcing Lovell’s selection. “After an exhaustive national search that produced 80 candidates, Judge Lovell stood out, not only for her abilities, but because of her understanding of the needs of Alabama lawyers and the Alabama legal community.” Lovell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 1992 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Craig Nixon ‘82
Castellum, Inc. announced Brigadier General Craig Nixon (Retired) has joined the Company’s Advisory Board. Castellum’s Advisory Board seats individual entrepreneurs and senior cyber security/information technology executives with business, government and technical expertise useful for assisting in identifying, integrating and growing acquired companies. Over a 29-year Army career, Brigadier General Nixon served in a wide range of assignments including seven tours of duty in special operations units. He is a combat decorated soldier whose awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. Nixon earned a Bachelor of Science in Business in 1982 from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Pete Knight ‘81
Renasant Bank announced that Pete Knight was recently promoted to Division President of South Central Alabama. “Pete’s promotion reflects the excellent job he has been doing to enhance Renasant’s presence not only in Montgomery, but also in the South Central Alabama region. He has been an asset and a leader for the South Central Alabama team, and we look forward to watching him continue to grow in this new role and leadership at the bank,” said John Bentley, President of Renasant’s Central Region. Knight earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1981.

Returning to Normal Operations for Summer and Fall

Auburn University at Montgomery will resume normal, on-campus operations for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters.

The availability of COVID-19 vaccines, coupled with extremely low case numbers on campus, have positioned the university to better meet the needs of students who prefer face-to-face teaching and campus services.

Even with a return to more traditional classroom and work environments, AUM will continue to require students and employees to wear face masks on campus (except when alone in private dorm rooms or work spaces) and observe social distancing. We remain hopeful that these guidelines can be eased as we enter the Summer and Fall semesters.

The university will continue to monitor public health conditions and adjust policies and operational status as necessary. AUM will continue to provide updates as conditions change.

Read the original article.

*Please note: The AUM Wellness Center and Library are open to current students, faculty and staff only at this time. Announcements regarding alumni and community access to campus facilities are forthcoming.

Middle District U.S. Attorney Louis V. Franklin Sr. '83 retires after 3 decades of public service

Franklin joins multiple U.S. Attorneys across the country retiring recently, which is standard following a presidential election where a Republican president succeeds a Democratic one, or vice versa. U.S. Attorneys are appointed positions.

Franklin was appointed to the central Alabama position in 2017, becoming the first African American U.S. Attorney in the state’s middle district. He first joined the office in 1990 as an assistant U.S. Attorney and continued to hold a number of leadership positions, including head of the office’s major drug trafficking task force, criminal chief, and acting U.S. Attorney before his nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sept. 14, 2017.

During his time in office, Franklin personally prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases, from large-scale drug trafficking operations to high-profile public corruption cases. He led the prosecution team that brought former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to justice for their involvement in a wide-ranging bribery scheme.

“It has been an absolute privilege to spend my career in this office, serving the people of the Middle District and working alongside so many talented attorneys and staff,” Franklin said. “I know I am leaving the office in good hands, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve in my hometown and make our communities safer for the people of Alabama.”

Franklin received his juris doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 1987, his bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in 1981, and a master’s degree from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1983.

Read the original article.

Cason McDermott Art Gallery Dedicated February 9, 2021

“It is important for us that our students see contemporary art and exhibit their own,” said Will Fenn, Fine Arts Chair and Associate Professor in Photography. “The Cason McDermott Art Gallery is a professional exhibition space that allows our students to receive a good grounding in contemporary art due to our ability to bring in visiting artists. It also provides an opportunity for solo exhibitions for our BFA candidates and group exhibitions for the BA students.”

Formerly named the Goodwyn Gallery, the renovated Cason McDermott Art Gallery was dedicated in 2021 on the AUM campus to engage the university and wider Montgomery community. It is an integral part of the programs and curricula of the Department of Fine Arts and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and features:

  • Works by regionally and nationally recognized visiting artists
  • Works by Fine Arts Department faculty and students
  • Exhibits designed and curated by Art History and Museum Studies students and faculty
  • Exhibits from the University’s collection of paintings and works on paper (with strengths in 20th-century prints)

During her short life, Cason Leigh McDermott (1995-2019) had a momentous impact on those around her. Cason’s laugh was contagious, her smile lit up the room, and her devotion to creativity was inspiring. It is doubtful she realized just how many lives she touched. Cason loved others deeply and without judgement or reservation. Her presence at AUM not only had a positive and lasting influence on the lives of her peers, but she left an impression on the faculty within the Department of Fine Arts that is sure never to fade.

Cason was pursuing her dream of being an artist and wanted to teach at the collegiate level. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from AUM in 2018, and after tireless effort and the creation of a strong portfolio, she was admitted into and awarded a full scholarship for the Master of Fine Arts program within the School of Art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Cason wanted to one day return to AUM to teach and give back to the University and its student body. Through the generosity of her parents, Mickey and Mona McDermott, the gallery has been named in Cason’s honor and has been updated to provide students, faculty, and visiting artists the opportunity to display work in a professional exhibition environment.

For more information about the Cason McDermott Art Gallery, please visit www.aum.edu/about-aum/cmag.

Are you All-in for AUM?

The All-in for AUM campaign is a friendly competition between family, friends and alumni of the 11 varsity sports sponsored by Auburn University at Montgomery. This competition among AUM alumni and friends has been established to raise funds to directly support the university’s nearly 225 student-athletes. We have already exceeded our first goal of 150 donors, as well as our second goal of 250! We are so grateful to those who have already contributed, and now we’re aiming for a NEW goal of 500 donors! Every gift counts and will have a significant impact on a student-athlete’s time at AUM.

Go Warhawks!

To make your gift to AUM Athletics, please visit www.AUMAthletics.com/AllinForAUM.

Anderson '14 hired as associate dean at LBWCC

LBW Community College is pleased to announce the hiring of Dr. Kristina Anderson for the position of Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality at the Luverne Center.

Anderson’s background includes more than ten years of related experience in Alabama public education, including serving in roles such as Assistant Principal and Community Liaison for Charles Henderson High School and Lead Teacher/Crisis Management Leader/Summer School Director for Pike County Elementary School.

“Dr. Anderson is one of the most dynamic educational leaders in the state, and LBW is stronger with her addition,” said LBW President, Dr. Brock Kelley. “Her ability to analyze and disseminate data will be essential in moving our college to new academic heights.”

Anderson earned a Doctor of Education in Administration and Teacher Learning from Walden University. She earned a Master of Education with a major in Education and a concentration in Instructional Leadership from Auburn University at Montgomery. She also earned a Master of Science in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Troy University.

“I look forward to working beside the dynamic leaders at LBW to ensure students are provided the best educational opportunities in the state,” said Dr. Anderson.

Read the original article.

Two AUM alumnae join Senator Tuberville's staff

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) announced appointments to his Alabama State Staff and the locations of his Alabama offices. The Senator’s state team is made up of 14 individuals who are located across the state to serve as regional directors, caseworks, and subject matter experts on issues important to Alabamians.

Zandra Wilson ’92 will serve as Montgomery Constituent Services. Wilson is a native of Montgomery, Alabama where she attended Auburn University at Montgomery obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Science in Justice and Public Safety/Judicial Administration. As a veteran Congressional Constituent Service Representative/Caseworker, she has served as a liaison monitoring federal, district, and local agency matter for U.S. Senators Sessions, Strange, and Jones while advocating for the constituency within the Middle District of Alabama. Wilson has served as a U.S. Senate staff member for over 25 years.

Shanderla McMillian ’96 will serve as the Huntsville Constituent Services. McMillian is a native of Troy, Alabama with 22 years of service as a staff member for three United States Senators. A graduate from Auburn University at Montgomery, she has supported 17 counties in the northern Alabama region as a caseworker for Senator Jeff Sessions, as field representative and caseworker for Senator Luther Strange, and as caseworker and service academy coordinator for Senator Doug Jones.

Alumni Homecoming Week Recap

The AUM Alumni Association hosted a full week of activities to celebrate homecoming. We socialized with alumni (from a distance) while enjoying the week’s festivities.

Virtual Book Club
Launched on Monday, February 22 as part one of three faculty-led discussions about the book, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Just Mercy is a New York Times bestseller and now a major motion picture. A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice- from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.

Men’s Basketball vs. University of West Georgia
AUM alumni cheered on the Warhawks (in person and online) while enjoying alumni swag bags provided by the AUM Alumni Association on Tuesday, February 23.

Food Drive benefiting the AUM Food Pantry
More than 35 alumni donated over 500 non-perishable food and hygiene items for college students during the Alumni Association’s Food Drive on Wednesday, February 24.

Virtual Cooking Class
Alumni came together (virtually) for a two-hour cooking demonstration led by a professionally trained chef on Thursday, February 25. Participants received an ingredient list and an exclusive AUM Alumni apron prior to the event. Alumni started with basic ingredients and made an incredible meal together, all while learning basic culinary skills. This cooking class featured pan-seared salmon, winter risotto, and a lemon beurre blanc sauce!

Virtual Wine Tasting
Alumni joined together from the comfort of their homes for a wine tasting led by a professionally trained sommelier on Friday, February 26. Participants received a wine list prior to the event as well as a set of AUM Alumni wine glasses and food pairings. Participants sampled three varieties of wine while learning about the origins and flavors of each bottle.

Class Notes

  • AUM alumna and Attorney Ashley Mallory ’11 was selected by the Union Springs City Council as the new city attorney.
  • AUM alumna Renee Dickerson ‘08 has been promoted from Assistant Vice President to President at Troy Bank & Trust (TB&T). Dickerson has worked for TB&T for 24 years.
  • AUM alumnus Drew Danner ’05 became the new principal at Dauphin Junior High School.
  • AUM alumnus Robert Pettigrew ’05 was named by Cigna as the new President of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in Alabama, Mississippi, and Northwest Florida. In this role, Pettigrew will oversee the growth of Cigna’s MA plans in the region.
  • AUM alumnus Jason Isbell ‘04 has joined the Governmental Affairs practice as “of counsel” in Maynard Cooper & Gale’s Montgomery office.
  • AUM alumnus Richard Perryman III ’97 was appointed by Georgia Governor Kemp to the Alapaha Judicial Circuit, which includes Atkinson, Berrien, Clinch, Cook and Lanier Counties.
  • AUM alumnus Ben Barnes ’95 is a finalist of the 2021 Alabama CIO of the Year ORBIE Award (Corporate Category). The ORBIE honors chief information officers who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership. Barnes is the Chief Information Security Officer for McLeod Software, where he guides the company’s internal systems, product, and customer-centric information security policies, practices, and activities.
  • AUM alumnus William Bowman ’93 is the CEO of the Visually Impaired People, Inc., a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to providing low vision educational programs, support, and mentoring to the blind and visually impaired of Selma and throughout Dallas County.
  • AUM alumna and former Ambassador to Slovenia, Lynda Blanchard ’91, announced that she would likely run for the U.S. Senate seat set to be vacated in 2023 when Republican Alabama Senator Richard Shelby retires at the end of his term.
  • AUM alumnus Kenneth Till ’91 has been named Who’s Who in Birmingham Banking by the Birmingham Business Journal in the February 2021 issue. Till serves as Chief Executive Officer CommerceOne Bank.
  • AUM alumna Debra Warren ‘89 is Network Director of the Montgomery Working Women Network of the National Association for Female Executives (MWWN), Inc. a non-profit organization that helps students and teachers in Montgomery County, Alabama fulfill their academic needs. Warren is currently working with local leaders in the community to raise funds for student resources at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Jefferson Davis High School, and George Washington Carver High School.
  • AUM alumna Debra Wallace ‘82 was named the CEO of the Alabama Supercomputer Authority.

Message from the AUM Alumni Board

Greetings AUM alumni and friends,

The AUM campus community made a strong start to the fall semester in August, delivering a high-quality education to students in a modified classroom environment. Our faculty, staff, and students continue to work together to follow new health and wellness guidelines, ensuring the safety of those on campus. Over the past few weeks, alumni and friends have reached out with questions regarding the availability of campus resources, and I would like to share the following updates with you:

  • The AUM Warhawk Shop is open to the public Monday – Friday from 7:45 am – 5:00 pm. New face masks and alumni t-shirts are available in-store or online at aumbookstore.com.
  • The AUM Library remains closed to alumni and community users at this time. AUM faculty, staff, and students have access to Library resources in-person and online.
  • The AUM Wellness Center remains closed to alumni and community members at this time.  The Wellness Center staff has been working hard to make some areas of the facility and a limited selection of equipment available to current AUM students for the fall semester.  The Wellness Center hopes to reopen to alumni and friends soon, and we will share more updates as they become available. In the meantime, I encourage you to join the Wellness Center online for virtual fitness classes or keep up your exercise routine on one of AUM’s scenic outdoor walking trails.

We look forward to welcoming alumni and friends back to campus for in-person gatherings as soon as it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, please be sure to check your email often for the latest news and announcements from your AUM Alumni Association, and feel free to contact us at 334-244-3369 or alumni@aum.edu if there is anything we can do for you.

Take care and be well,

Joey Taff
President, AUM Alumni Association

River Region United Way Names Ronald Simmons '04 as New CEO

River Region United Way (RRUW) has announced Ronald A. Simmons, IOM, as its new president and chief executive officer.

Ron Simmons is a native of Montgomery and a 1983 graduate of Sidney Lanier High School. He is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Marketing and Military Science in 2004. Simmons was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves from the Auburn University at Montgomery ROTC program in 1987. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Institute of Organizational Management at the University of Georgia.

Simmons joins United Way coming from the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, where he served for 10 years – most recently as the vice president of sales for the Destination Montgomery Convention and Visitor Bureau. Previously, Simmons served as the vice president of business development and sports national sales manager for the chamber and CVB.

Simmons’ work in the nonprofit sector is not limited to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. He is the founder of D.A.D.S (Dads And Daughters Saturday) and serves on various boards throughout the community, including the YMCA of Greater Montgomery, East Montgomery YMCA and the Montgomery City-County Public Library. Simmons has also served on the boards of Brantwood Children’s Home and Jubilee CityFest. He is also a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and a Leadership Montgomery graduate, Class XXVIII.

“We are extremely excited about Ron Simmons joining the River Region United Way,” shared Dr. Rhea Ingram, RRUW Chair of the Board. “Ron not only brings a wealth of business acumen and marketing savvy, but he is from the River Region, as a lifelong resident. He will be a tremendous asset to our communities, leading our organization toward its centennial in 2023 and beyond.”

As president and CEO of River Region United Way, Simmons will establish a vision that is achieved through the efforts of a diverse team of high-performing leaders, volunteers and staff. He will lead a staff of nine in identifying community needs, finding the resources required to address those needs, and allocating funds where they will make the greatest impact. In this role, Simmons will serve as the chief mobilizer, leveraging the power of relationships and networks, and working across private, public and corporate sectors to improve the conditions in Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon and Montgomery counties.

Ron Simmons stated, “I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with River Region United Way, the board of directors, staff and partners who are so committed to improving the lives of people in the communities I love! United Way’s purpose of Making Life Better for Everyone mirrors the work of the Chamber in many ways. Both organizations understand that education, financial stability and good healthcare are critical elements for building strong communities. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our communities in this new role.”

Simmons took his post on July 16, 2020. He succeeds Jimmy Hill who served as president and CEO from 2014-2020. Hill left the position to take a statewide leadership role as executive director of Alabama CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Original article: alabamanews.net

Manufacture Alabama appoints Jon Barganier '10 as chief operations officer

Manufacture Alabama announced the appointment of Jon Barganier as its new COO, effective immediately. Barganier comes to Manufacture Alabama with more than 14 years of experience, including a decade of coordinating legislative agendas, developing policy priorities, establishing communication strategies and staff management.

Most recently, Jon served as the primary lobbyist and regulatory analyst for the American Petroleum Institute in Alabama. In his role as executive director for the Alabama Petroleum Council, Barganier represented the oil and natural gas industry on behalf of 13 member companies with in-state assets along with more than 600 additional members across the country.

“Jon is the ideal leader for Manufacture Alabama,” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama. “He is a seasoned mover and shaker with significant experience working with elected officials in the great state of Alabama, operating an effective team, and recognizing the future challenges we must confront. We are fortunate to have Jon as our COO.”

Before joining Manufacture Alabama, Barganier served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Kay Ivey and provided leadership during the transition of authority in April 2017 between the Bentley and Ivey administrations. During the Bentley administration, Barganier served in roles ranging from chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and legislative liaison.

“I am incredibly grateful and excited to assume this role and for the future of Manufacture Alabama,” said Barganier. “I look forward to working with George and the rest of the Manufacture Alabama team to build on the solid foundation that has been laid, to successfully serve our members and to fulfill the vision to make Alabama the best business and political location in the U.S. for manufacturers.”

Barganier has experience working as a government consultant leading the development of state public policy and legislation on behalf of the leadership in the Alabama Senate. Prior to consulting, Barganier spent five years in the Alabama Department of Finance developing and implementing a performance management program for state government agencies and decision makers.

Barganier is a graduate of the University of Alabama and received his MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2010. He lives in Montgomery with his wife, Leigh, and their two children, Nash and Jeb. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church and enjoys coaching youth sports in the community.

Original article: montgomeryindependent.com

Pappanastos '85 receives Troy University's Malone Award

Dr. Ed Pappanastos, a Professor in the Sorrell College of Business and Associate Chair of the Department of Risk Management and Data Analytics at Troy University, has been awarded Troy University’s Wallace D. Malone, Jr. Distinguished Faculty Award.

Dr. Pappanastos was presented the award during the University’s annual Faculty/Staff Convocation on Thursday at the Troy Campus. The award consists of a $1,500 cash prize and a medallion to be worn with academic regalia. The award is made possible through a $100,000 endowment by the SouthTrust Corporation. Wallace Malone, former chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SouthTrust, served as a TROY trustee from 1975-1995.

“Dr. Pappanastos is one of the most genuine teachers you will ever meet. Ed is selfless in his service to the students of Troy University, the Sorrell College of Business and the Risk Management and Data Analytics Department,” said Dr. Jeffrey A. Bohler, Department Chair, who nominated Pappanastos for the award. “He is incredibly knowledgeable in Risk Management and Quantitative Measures, is well published and continuously mentors all members of our department. Ed’s efforts directly contribute to helping our department support the vision of Troy University.”

Dr. Pappanastos said he was both shocked and honored to receive the award.

“It was a complete shock to me to be selected to receive the Malone Award because there are so many qualified faculty members at Troy,” he said. “I am tremendously thankful to be able to work alongside of a group that is so focused on making a positive impact on the lives of the students and each other. The quality of our current faculty and the legacies of the previous award winners makes this a tremendous honor. I am extremely grateful, and somewhat embarrassed, to have been selected.”

Dr. Pappanastos first joined the Troy faculty in 1997, serving for 17 years as a Professor of Quantitative Measures and Risk Management and Insurance. After a twoyear stint as a Professor of Management at Tuskegee University, Dr. Pappanastos returned to Troy in 2016 as chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and RMI, and then Chair of the Department of Risk Management and Data Analytics from 2017 to 2019.

Dr. Pappanastos earned a bachelor’s in 1985 and a master’s degree in 1988 from Auburn University at Montgomery, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

In addition to his service on many committees of the Sorrell College of Business, Dr. Pappanastos is also active within the Montgomery community. He has served on three occasions as chairperson of the Catholic Charities Appeal for the Archdiocese of Mobile, has served as a proctor for the AP Calculus Test for LAMP High School and is a committee member and past chairperson of the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.

Original article: https://today.troy.edu/news

Virtual Career Workshops Now Available for AUM Alumni

The AUM Career Development Center released the 2020 Fall semester schedule of virtual workshops, available to AUM students and alumni. Registration for all workshops requires a Handshake account.  Upon registration, attendees will receive a Zoom Passcode via email for entrance into the session.

  • Building Your Handshake Profile:  Your Handshake profile is your connection to thousands of employers in your career field.  Learn the steps necessary to create a completed profile in Handshake, and tips for getting noticed by employers.
  • Cracking Your Holland Code: Aligning Interests with Career Options.  A great way to being exploring career options that could be a good fit for you is by measuring the attributes of a career vs. your work interest preferences.  The CDC and Counseling and Health Promotions Services will introduce the principles behind Dr. John Holland’s six work interest categories, and how to research career options using your Holland Code.
  • Preparing for Graduate School Applications:  What makes a strong and memorable grad school application?  This workshop, hosted by the Graduate Admissions Office and the Career Development Center, will introduce tips for creating resumes, personal statements, and other materials that help your application stand out.
  • Career Action Planning:  Developing into a career professional involves education and experiences that build the knowledge and competencies required by the world of work.  Career action planning is the process of establishing strategies and goals during your collegiate years for becoming career ready.
  • Professionalism in the Virtual Workplace:  Remote working has changed the dynamic of the workplace, allowing some flexibility surrounding traditional office etiquette, while introducing new issues.  Understand the concepts central to virtual workplace professionalism and how to avoid missteps.


Tuesday, 10/13/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Thursday, 10/15/2020
Preparing for Graduate School Applications (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

Thursday, 10/22/2020
Exploring Handshake (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Monday, 10/26/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)


Tuesday, 11/3/2020
Career Action Planning (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

Thursday, 11/5/2020
Exploring Handshake (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Monday, 11/9/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile  (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Thursday, 11/12/2020
Professionalism in the Virtual Workplace (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

All Workshops will be recorded and placed on the resources section of Handshake for future viewing.

For more information about career resources available to AUM alumni, please visit www.aum.edu/career-resources.

AUM Digital Giftbag

Are you still navigating a virtual version of work, school, and social gatherings? School spirit is alive and strong in the Mighty Warhawk Nation! Show some virtual love to Auburn University at Montgomery and Curtiss the Warhawk.  Take advantage of these campus-inspired and spirit-themed Facebook profile filters and Zoom backgrounds. Visit this page to download images and learn more tips and tricks on how to use zoom: http://www.aum.edu/digitalgiftbag

Alumni Embrace Virtual Events

AUM alumni from coast to coast gathered via Zoom for a Virtual Paint Party hosted by Montgomery’s local Wine & Design studio on Thursday, August 6. Supplies, including a canvas, easel, paints, and brushes, were shipped to participants, which allowed alumni to participate from the comfort of their own homes. The group enjoyed catching up with each other while painting AUM’s iconic Library Tower.

On Tuesday, September 15, alumni experienced a battle of the brains during a Virtual Trivia Night. Players were encouraged to meet new alumni friends in our randomized teams for three exciting rounds of trivia. The winning team even won an AUM alumni swag bag and bragging rights!

Don’t miss out on future events by checking our alumni events page frequently for updates.

The AUM Alumni Association is currently looking for innovative virtual event options, and we would love your input! Please take a moment to complete a brief survey. This survey, while completely anonymous, will help us improve future events for alumni!

Virtual Grad Preview

There will be a Virtual Grad Preview Night on October 22 at 5-7 p.m.

If you’re ready to start building the next phase of your career or considering changing careers,  it’s time to begin a master’s degree. Auburn University at Montgomery’s Grad School Preview event gives you the opportunity to identify the best graduate program for your field and your future — and for your professional timeline.

Class Notes

Carina Harrison ‘00
Degree: Biology
Your Current Occupation: Military
Employer: USAF

How did your AUM experience benefit you? My time at AUM was a long time ago, but I can truly say my time at AUM was instrumental in my success today! While attending AUM, I learned teamwork through collaboration with other students, I gained an understanding of when it’s time to try something new, and I learned to never give up no matter level of difficulty!

Share Your Story: I currently serve in the USAF as a Force Support Officer stationed At the Pentagon managing the AF budget.  I have served in the military for 19 years having travelled to various locations across the world. I did all this while raising my now 17-year-old daughter!

Brandon Taylor ‘13
Degree: Physical Science

Taylor switched gears from biochemistry to pursue his passion for writing through a fellowship from the Tin House summer writing workshop. His novel, “Real Life,” is now on The Booker Prizes 2020 shortlist. Read more about his fascinating journey here.

2019 African American Alumni Reception

Auburn University at Montgomery alumni, faculty, staff and friends gathered at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club on Thursday, October 10, 2019, for the 11th annual African American Alumni Reception. Attendees enjoyed live music, a seated dinner, and reconnecting with former classmates and colleagues. The underlying goal of this annual event is to raise awareness and funds for a scholarship established by four determined AUM alumnae, who wanted to broaden the level of diversity at AUM while providing support to young students.

This year’s reception featured keynote speaker, Larry Thornton, who shared his story as one of six students to integrate Goodwyn Middle School in 1967. The self-made author and entrepreneur went from making $5 an hour painting signs at Coca-Cola, to becoming the first African American owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Birmingham, Alabama in 1992. Thornton published an autobiography entitled Why Not Win? in 2019. Proceeds from the book sales established the “Why Not Win Foundation,” which promotes achievement and leadership, and has funded scholarships through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Tom Joyner Foundation.

The 2019 African American Alumni Reception scholarship recipient, Teva Stinson, spoke about her undergraduate journey at AUM and her current goal of completing a Master of Accountancy. Teva plans to pass the CPA exam after obtaining her graduate degree. “My dream is to make a positive impact on every person I encounter, and to lead by example. I believe that success is not measured by how much money you make or the amount of awards you win, but by the impact you make on those you meet along the way,” Teva shared.

To contribute to the African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship, visit: www.aum.edu/AARS

New Alumni Association Board of Directors

On October 18, the AUM Alumni Association Board of Directors gathered for their last meeting of 2019. At this meeting, six of the board members were recognized for their service to the board as they completed their two-year term of commitment: Jodi Henley ’02, Annamarie Jones ’94 (President), Karlen McCree ’13, Ben McNeill ’76, Mark Spencer ’88, John Varnado ’75.

The approved slate for 2020-2021 Board of Directors is as follows:

Returning members

  • Joey Taff ’89 – President
  • Catrina Hollins Pettway ’05 – Vice President
  • Elizabeth Fritz ’97 – Secretary/Treasurer
  • Janice Marshall ’93 – Director
  • Vanessa Warren ’87 – Director

New members

  • Caleb Conner ’15, Assistant to the Commissioner – Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries
  • Angela Harris ’01, Restorative Coordinator, RN – Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Amy Ingram ’10, UNIV Program Manager – Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Kalandra Haynes ’06, Docket Clerk – United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama
  • Mariah Scarver ’18, T.E.A.C.H. Counselor – Alabama Partnership for Children
  • Carl Viars ’11, Assistant Director – Community Corrections Division, Department of Corrections

The mission of the Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association is to foster and strengthen the relationship between AUM and its alumni and friends; to preserve and promote the university’s traditions, purposes, growth and development; and to keep alive the spirit of affection and respect for our alma mater.

We look forward to working towards this on-going mission with the new slate of 2020-2021 Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Alumni Professorship 2019-2022 awarded to Dr. Keren Deal

The Alumni Association sponsors an Alumni Professorship to recognize outstanding Auburn University at Montgomery faculty who best exemplify excellence in teaching, research, scholarly and creative accomplishments and service. Current AUM faculty members who have at least 10 years of full-time service at AUM are eligible for this honor. Alumni Professorship recipients serve a three-year, non-renewable term and receive a $7,500 award and certificate.

Joey Taff, President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, presented the 2019-2022 Alumni Professorship award to Professor of Accounting, Dr. Keren Deal at Fall Convocation in October.

Deal’s colleagues, students and friends would agree that her work ethic is legendary. Despite her tremendous efforts in the classroom, she still finds time to work on research and additional projects. She has published in many journals, most often on topics where she has earned a national reputation. Deal played an active role in AUM’s State Initiative Program, which allows state employees to receive a formal education, qualifying them for enhanced job classifications. She has received consistent recognition throughout her career and her recent honor of Alabama Society of CPAs Educator of the year in 2018, attests to her statewide reputation.

Rolling Out the R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed) Event

AUM alumnus Jody Fuller ’01 performed a live comedy show on campus November 12, for AUM students, alumni, and the community. Although he named himself “the stuttering comic,” Jody is also a writer, speaker, and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2001.

Openers for the night’s event were local musician Ben Norris and AUM student Sarah Katherine Barnes.

AUM’s Veterans Appreciation Week, November 11-15, honors the commitment and recognizes the sacrifices of the men, women and families that are part of our university and community. This annual week of events included a variety of activities open to active duty military, reservists, and veterans, as well as AUM students, faculty and staff:

  • Challenge Coin Presentation
  • Rolling Out the R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed)
  • Picnic with the Patriots
  • Movie & Game Night
  • Breakfast with the Brave

Happy Holidays from your Alumni Association Board of Directors

On behalf of your Alumni Association Board of Directors, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a joyful new year!
Thank you for your continued support of your alma mater.

How can you make a difference at AUM?

You have the power to strengthen Auburn University at Montgomery – by giving back. With every contribution, you are advancing the work of students, athletes, artists, and industry leaders. You are equipping labs, hiring top academics, and pushing the boundaries of higher education. You are essential to our future.

There is no greater gift than giving! You can give the gift of scholarships, program support, assistance for faculty and staff, and so much more when you participate in our year-end campaign. A gift of any amount – no matter the size – to the AUM Annual Fund makes a big impact in the lives of students currently following in your footsteps.

This is your opportunity to set an example and show today’s students that AUM alumni care about their alma mater, so please submit your gift before the December 31 year-end deadline (and you’ll be able to count your contribution toward your taxes in the spring. Talk about a win-win!).

Create a legacy with a planned gift

If you are looking for opportunities to give back to Auburn University at Montgomery, please consider including a bequest in your will. With your planned gift, you will become a member of the George Petrie Society.

After providing for family, friends and others, many alumni include a meaningful bequest to AUM in their will to continue their lifetime support. Including the Auburn University Foundation as a beneficiary of your will, is one of the easiest ways to provide for future generations of AUM students and faculty.

For more information about planned giving, contact Auburn University at Montgomery’s University Development office at 334-244-3560 or development@aum.edu.

AUM Day of Giving 2020: a special 24-hour fundraising initiative

Mark your calendars for AUM Day of Giving on February 14, 2020! Show your love for Auburn University at Montgomery by supporting the many projects and programs from the colleges and departments seeking private support.

AUM Day of Giving is a social media based initiative, and will utilize Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share information about special AUM projects. Keep an eye out on these social media platforms for more details about projects that need your support!

In January, you can visit www.aum.edu/dayofgiving to check out all the AUM projects highlighted for this special day.

Office of Alumni Affairs

Technacenter, 2nd Floor
75 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117
Call Today
(334) 244-3369

Let’s GO!

Virtual Map of Campus Life.

Start your adventure to campus life by clicking on our interactive map. Discover the AUM scene and its unique work-life balance. Take a virtual tour of featured facilities that provide comfort, convenience, exercise, and relaxation. Join a community of independent living and group activities that offset the challenging work week.