Auburn University names VanValkenburg vice president for alumni affairs

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Following a national search, Gretchen R. VanValkenburg has been named vice president for alumni affairs and executive director of the Auburn Alumni Association at Auburn University. Her appointment begins March 1.

VanValkenburg, a 1986 graduate of the Harbert College of Business, currently serves as executive director of development and alumni engagement at the University of West Florida. She fills the position vacated by the retirement of Debbie Shaw, who had headed the Office of Alumni Affairs at Auburn since 2006 and worked at the university since 1983.

"It's a pleasure to welcome Gretchen back to Auburn as our executive director," said Auburn Alumni Association President Jack Fite. "She brings a distinguished career in alumni affairs and development, and we're excited to work with her to move our association forward and to new levels of alumni engagement."

VanValkenburg, a native of Montevallo, has worked in positions of increasing responsibility at the University of West Florida since 1997, when she began as a coordinator of alumni relations. She brings experience in alumni event planning, donor relations, fiscal management, volunteer recruitment and public speaking. She also served as a major gifts officer and led capital campaign planning efforts.

Prior to her work at the University of West Florida, VanValkenburg worked for the American Heart Association in Colorado and the American Red Cross in Florida.

"I look forward to the opportunity to further strengthen the bond between Auburn University and its many alumni and friends," said VanValkenburg. "Coming back to Auburn feels like coming home."

The Auburn Alumni Association is a member-based 501(c)3 organization funded by membership contributions, individual donations and corporate sponsorships/affinity program partners. The association's membership base is one of the largest among Southeastern Conference schools, with 43,000 members.

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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, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation 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.