Auburn celebrates growth of research park, honors former mayor

Published: April 12, 2019
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Auburn University and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation on Thursday honored former City of Auburn Mayor Bill Ham for his leadership and vision in establishing the Auburn Research Park. Ham was named the inaugural member of the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation Leadership Wall.

He played an integral role in developing and growing the Auburn Research Park, which was established in 2007 and is home to 20-25 industries ranging from start-ups to seasoned companies.

“During Bill’s tenure, Auburn was able to attract 36 industries and 86 expansions for a little over $1.4 billion in capital investment and thousands of jobs. He’s a champion of education and he’s a champion of industrial recruitment,” said Auburn Trustee Bob Dumas.

Auburn President Steven Leath commended Ham for his efforts in growing the research park, citing that the work done at the park was a factor in the university’s recent recognition as a Carnegie R1 research institution.

“The impact that we have on the Alabama economy comes out of our research and our scholarship,” Leath said. “I think the drive to develop new things that have practical applications is in our DNA as a land-grant institution. We want to make our communities thrive and our citizens prosper and we’re doing that, and much of it starts with the concepts and mindsets that are right here on this campus.”

Leath said the work being done at the research park is critical to Auburn’s commitment to excellence and to leading, influencing, engaging and developing partnerships that deliver real-world solutions.

Thursday’s event also served as a celebration of upcoming projects and growth at the Auburn Research Park. In May, the park’s newest tenant, Big Blue Marble Academy, will open its childcare facility to more than 200 children.

Later this month, the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation will break ground on a 100,000-square-foot Research and Innovation Center. The facility will be home to Auburn’s Vice President for Research Jim Weyhenmeyer, as well as a range of commercial clients. The ground floor will feature a new innovation center housing the Harbert College of Business Tiger Cage Incubator and Accelerator along with the Auburn Business Incubator.

In fall 2019, East Alabama Medical Center will break ground on an 88,000-square-foot health sciences center that will house a free-standing emergency department, an ambulatory surgery center with four surgical suites, as well as health science and medical research units. East Alabama Medical Center’s presence in the park will create additional opportunities for internships and clinical research, and will help serve the medical needs of Auburn’s growing population.  

Read more about the Auburn Research Park and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation at

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.