THIS IS AUBURN Speaker Series
Now in its sixth year, the This is Auburn Speaker Series features presentations and discussion of topics that make Auburn a vibrant and engaging university. Join us on football Friday afternoons at 3 p.m. at the Alumni Center to learn more about Auburn’s people, history, sports and other programs.
Ideological Differences and Free Speech on Campus
This event is presented in conjunction with the Office of the Provost and the Office of Inclusion and Diversity as part of “Critical Conversations,” a speaker series welcoming distinguished scholars, journalists, and thought leaders to campus to share diverse perspectives and ideologies on topics such as inclusion, intellectual diversity, and free speech in higher education. For a list of additional fall speakers, visit aub.ie/CriticalConversations.
Student Center Ballroom
Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard Divinity School
Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He is Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has written over 20 books and has edited 13. Though he is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, his most recent releases, Black Prophetic Fire and Radical King, were received with critical acclaim.
West is a frequent guest on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, CNN, C-SPAN and Democracy Now! He made his film debut in The Matrix Reloaded, and he was a commentator, along with Ken Wilbur, on the official trilogy released in 2004. He also has appeared in over 25 documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call + Response, Sidewalk, and Stand. Last but certainly not least, he has made three spoken word albums including Never Forget, collaborating with Prince, Jill Scott, Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and the late Gerald Levert. His spoken word interludes were featured on Terence Blanchard’s Choices, which won the Grand Prix Award in France for Best Jazz Album in 2009; The Cornel West Theory’s Second Rome; Raheem DeVaughn’s Grammy-nominated Love & War: MasterPeace; and most recently on Bootsy Collins’ Tha Funk Capital of the World.
In short, West has a passion to invite a variety of people from all walks of life into his world of ideas in order to keep alive the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. — a legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.
Robert P. George
McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is also the Herbert W. Vaughan Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, and has on several occasions been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. In addition to his academic service, George has served as Chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. He previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2009), and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1993-1998). He has also been the US member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology. He is a former judicial fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.
George is author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Oxford University Press, 1993), In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Clash of Orthodoxies (ISI, 2001) and Conscience and Its Enemies (ISI, 2013). George’s articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence. He has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, First Things, the Boston Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.
A graduate of Swarthmore College, George holds degrees in law and theology from Harvard and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., and D.C.L. from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore and received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford. He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, law and moral values, civil law, and juridical science.
An Auburn Astronaut: My Journey into Space
This event is presented in conjunction with Auburn University Libraries’ Discover Auburn Women of Distinction, a lecture series celebrating 125 Years of Auburn Women (1892-2017).
Jan Davis ’77
Former NASA Astronaut
Jan Davis is a former American astronaut who has logged more than 670 hours and orbited the earth 325 times on three Space Shuttle flights. Davis joined NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville in 1979 as an aerospace engineer. In 1987, she was selected to join the Astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Davis held many leadership positions with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, before retiring from the agency in 2005. She continues to work with Gastion Technologies, a NASA contractor at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.
She did her graduate research work in mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and is a 1971 graduate of Huntsville High School. She earned bachelor’s degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Auburn University in biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering, respectively.
Davis was elected to both the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame and the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and is active on the Auburn Engineering Alumni Council. In 2002, she was given the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive. She has received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal, Space Medal, and Outstanding Leadership Medal.
In 2012, she received Auburn University’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is married to Judge Dick Richardson, judge for the District Court of Madison County, and has two children. She speaks frequently on topics related to space and science.
Getting Back to our Roots: The Story of Auburn Foods
Glenn Loughridge ’94
Director of Campus Dining, Auburn University
Glenn Loughridge became Auburn University’s director of Campus Dining in 2012. A native of Clearwater, Florida, and a 1994 Auburn alumnus, Loughridge works with the Auburn dining contractor, student groups, faculty, and staff to create a campus dining experience that is dynamic and responsive to changes in dining needs and tastes.
In 2016, he oversaw the implementation of the nation’s first certified gluten-free, on-campus restaurant. Plains to Plate not only earned the Gluten-Free Food Service certification, but the venue also carries 100 percent farm-to-table locally sourced produce. This year, Loughridge helped launch Auburn Foods, a brand that encompasses local foods that are produced on campus or in the community and then served at dining locations at the university. Auburn Foods is a partnership with the College of Agriculture, local farmers, and producers.
Loughridge received Auburn’s Spirit of Sustainability Award in 2016 for his commitment to promoting local foods, reducing waste, and bringing healthier options to campus. He has been honored as the Student Government Association Supporter of the Year and was involved with two projects—aquaponics system and food entrepreneur conference—that received President’s Collaborative Unit Awards for the 2016-17 academic year.
*Attendees will have the opportunity to sample Auburn Foods.
Reflections on Leadership
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin (Ret.) ’86
Auburn University trustee and retired commander of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Army
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin is a retired U.S. Army general with nearly 41 years of military service. As the commander of U.S. Central Command from March 2013 through March 2016, he was responsible for the 20-country Central Region that includes Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He was also the Combined Forces commander in Iraq and Syria. Austin has extensive operational experience, having commanded troops in combat at the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-star levels. During his last deployment, he served as a 4-star general and commander of United States Forces-Iraq from September 2010 through December 2011. He later served as the 33rd Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. Austin is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. and holds master's degrees from Auburn University (education) and Webster University (business management). Austin was confirmed as a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees in January 2017.
Austin received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Auburn University and the Distinguished Graduate Award from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a Trustee of the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
His many awards and decorations include five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star and the Legion of Merit.
He and his wife, Charlene, who is also an Auburn graduate, live in St. Petersburg, Fla. They have two sons.
George Petrie and the Auburn Creed
Editor Emeritus of Auburn Magazine
Author of Auburn Man: The Life and Times of George Petrie
All Auburn men and women are familiar with the iconic Auburn Creed, but most know almost nothing about its mysterious origins and esteemed author. Mike Jernigan will introduce you to George Petrie, who brought intercollegiate football and baseball to the plains 125 years ago with two 1892 contests against the University of Georgia and whose legendary Auburn academic career encompassed more than 50 years. To a remarkable degree, Petrie shaped both athletics and academics at the modern Auburn University we know today.
Mike Jernigan retired from Auburn University in 2004 and was named editor emeritus of Auburn Magazine the following year. After living a year in the Cayman Islands, he returned to Auburn, where he has been a history instructor at Lee-Scott Academy in Auburn for the past decade and a freelance writer and cruise ship lecturer specializing in travel topics. He has contributed articles to a number of periodicals including Coastal Living, Exotic Places to Retire, Airways, American Eagle Latitudes, World War Two Magazine and Cayman Airways Skies. He is also the author or co-author of two books, including Auburn Man: The Life and Times of George Petrie and After the Arena with former Auburn University Head Football Coach Pat Dye.
The Future of the Performing Arts at Auburn University
Christopher J. Heacox
Executive Director, Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University
Christopher J. Heacox serves as the inaugural executive director of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center at Auburn University, which is slated to open in August 2019. As executive director, Heacox leads the artistic and administrative functions of the Gogue Center by striving to bring in world-class performances and educational experiences to Auburn University and the surrounding communities.
Prior to his appointment at Auburn University, Heacox served as the executive director of Opening Nights Performing Arts at Florida State University. Heacox is the immediate past president of the Florida Professional Presenters Consortium, a 50-plus member organization charged with elevating the professional performing arts in the state of Florida. His board and organizational service includes the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Statewide Consortium Leadership Council, South Arts Southern Presenters Consortium, Council on Arts and Culture (Tallahassee/Leon County) Board of Directors, Tallahassee/Leon County Cultural Plan Review Committee, STAGE Committee for the Capital City Amphitheater, State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Strategic Planning, Leadership Jacksonville and Opportunity Tallahassee.
Heacox holds a Master of Music degree in jazz and contemporary media, performance, from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester and a bachelor’s degree in music from Florida State University.