University cuts ribbon on Auburn Memorial, a place of remembrance

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In the center of Auburn's bustling campus sits more than four acres of peace and tranquility – a space where the Auburn Family can go for reflection and remembrance. The newly completed Auburn Memorial was constructed in the undisturbed environment of the Garden of Memory, a place where others can go to remain connected to Auburn University students, alumni, faculty and staff who have died.

University officials cut the ribbon in a special ceremony Nov. 18. Student Government Association presidents past and present, who rallied student support of the project, were joined by Auburn administrators and members of the Garden Club of Alabama, under whose leadership in the 1950s the original garden was established at that location to honor Alabama veterans. Jack Townsend, whose son passed away while a student at Auburn, also gave remarks.

To properly honor those who passed away, the memorial consists of seven pillars, each marked with a line from the Auburn Creed, to serve as lasting reminders of the traits of Auburn men and women – hard work; education; honesty; a sound mind, body and spirit; obedience to law; the human touch; and belief in one's country.

The idea for the memorial project had been discussed by the Student Government Association in recent years. In 2015, former SGA President Walker Byrd, along with SGA executive members, made the project a top priority. The Board of Trustees approved the project in June 2015 with a budget of $1.25 million.

"Auburn students and the Auburn Family needed a place that would allow peaceful remembrance of the lives of fellow members of the Auburn Family who have passed away," said Byrd. "Previously, there was no peaceful place for people to gather to remember a loved one. Students had few options of where they could hold a service or memorial in a peaceful setting. The Auburn Memorial will serve to be that place to memorialize those with a connection to Auburn University."

After months of fundraising by Student Affairs, the Student Affairs development team and the SGA, construction began in April 2016. Located in the Garden of Memory across from the President's Home, the new memorial offers a tranquil space for healing and reverence.

The project included renovations to the Garden of Memory, which is now made up of the memorial, a new seating area, a plaza and a larger lawn space.

"It's encouraging to see how much support we received for this project and the excitement surrounding the implementation of a place to remember all members of the Auburn Family," said SGA President Jesse Westerhouse. "I have no doubt that the Auburn Memorial will have an impact on Auburn University for years to come."

"I'm so proud of the efforts of our students and the Student Government Association to see this project to completion," said Bobby Woodard, associate provost and vice president for Student Affairs. "It is such an important addition to our campus – to provide a place to honor those who have passed away and to grieve the loss of a loved one."

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