Cary Center featuring assistant vice president of Auburn University Outreach and Public Service Hollie Cost in roundtable discussion

Published: January 25, 2022

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Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences’ Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies’ will host a roundtable featuring Hollie Cost, Auburn University’s newly appointed assistant vice president for Outreach and Public Service. The topic of the roundtable, Leadership Through Partnerships, will demonstrate how to advance community impact and service through strengthening and leveraging relationships. The program will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 16, at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and is free and open to the public, however, reservations are required and can be made here.

A lifelong Alabamian, Cost is a three-time Auburn graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, an master's degree in Special Education, and a doctoral degree in Rehabilitation and Special Education - Behavioral Disorders. Before her position at the University of Montevallo, Cost worked in the Auburn area in mental health and special education roles in the Lee County school system, East Alabama Mental Health and Lee County Youth Development Center. At the University of Montevallo, Cost was professor of Special Education and responsible for program coordination, assessment and accreditation activities in the department. During her tenure, she launched the university’s service-learning program and developed two major civic engagement initiatives, “Falcon Scholars in Action,” a community outreach program with Shelby County non-profit agencies engaging university students, and the “Montevallo Connection” initiative which promoted collaboration between the university and the city’s public schools.

Cost’s community engagement and advocacy extended beyond campus to civic leadership, in which she served for more than 16 years as an elected Montevallo city council member and Mayor. In her two terms as mayor, she was responsible for all municipal operations including budget management, direct supervision of ten department heads, infrastructure maintenance and improvements, and overall promotion of civic engagement, social equity and inclusivity for citizens. During her administration she initiated a Students’ Institute, a Junior City Council and a comprehensive recycling program among several other citywide initiatives.

In her role as assistant vice president for Auburn University Outreach and Public Service, she oversees the operations of the Office of Public Service and the Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement. She serves as an advocate for the University’s Outreach mission and works with central administrators, deans, faculty, directors of outreach units and others to ensure effective, high quality outreach and public service programming throughout Auburn University. Additionally, she works with campus, state, local, regional and international organizations to identify, build and maintain public service opportunities and partnerships.

This program was made possible by the generosity of these sponsors: Community Foundation of East Alabama; Auburn University Outreach; Drummond Thorne Stukes Fund for Excellence in the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, a community service grant made possible by state senators Tom Whatley and Randy Price and state representative Joe Lovvorn; the United Way of Lee County, Inc.; and Himmelwright, Huguley, and Boles, LLC.

The Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies is an academic center in Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences whose programs focus on financial wellness, philanthropy engagement and nonprofit studies.  The Cary Center inspires its participants to discover their purpose through learning, giving, and growing while empowering all generations to leave an enduring legacy.  The Community and Collegiate division of the Cary Center provides capacity-building resources to nonprofits to include educational programming, professional development, and networking.  

For more information about the Cary Center and all its programs, please visit  here or contact Brittany Branyon at or (334) 844-3557.  

Submitted by: Brittany Branyon