Auburn to honor Rockefeller Foundation president and Walker County, Alabama, family at IQLA event

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The College of Human Sciences at Auburn University will honor Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin and the Heman and Elza Stewart Drummond family at the 23rd annual International Quality of Life Awards ceremony at the United Nations on Sunday, Dec. 11.

Rodin will be honored as the IQLA Laureate and the Drummond family as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

Auburn's College of Human Sciences launched the International Quality of Life Awards in 1994 to recognize people and partnerships that have made significant and lasting contributions to individual, family and community well-being locally and around the world. Co-sponsoring the event for the first time will be the Global Partnerships Forum, a non-profit organization that provides a platform for multi-sector leaders to come together to address global challenges and foster economic growth.

Rodin was named president of The Rockefeller Foundation in 2005, becoming the first woman to lead the organization in its 102-year history. The foundation is one of the world's leading philanthropic institutions, dedicated to promoting the well-being of humanity domestically and globally. During Rodin's tenure, she has recalibrated the foundation to meet the challenges of the 21st century, supporting and shaping innovations to expand opportunity worldwide and build greater resilience by helping people, communities and institutions prepare for, withstand and emerge stronger from acute shocks and chronic stresses.

Prior to her role with The Rockefeller Foundation, Rodin was the first woman to lead an Ivy League institution, serving as president of the University of Pennsylvania for 10 years. She was also the first Penn graduate to be its president.

Rodin previously worked at Yale University as professor and then provost for two decades. A research psychologist by training, she earned a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University and was one of the pioneers of the behavioral medicine and health psychology movements.

As a world renowned leader in academia, science and development, Rodin has participated in influential global think tanks such as the World Economic Forum, the Council on Foreign Relations and the UN General Assembly. She is the author of more than 250 academic publications and has written or co-written 15 books, including her most recent, "The Resilience Divided: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong." Rodin has received 19 honorary degrees and been recognized as one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes three years in a row.

"We are deeply honored to pay tribute to Judith Rodin, a visionary global leader and philanthropist whose professional success across multiple domains has always been grounded in improving the human condition," said June Henton, dean of the College of Human Sciences. "Honoring Dr. Rodin is especially meaningful this year as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the College of Human Sciences whose foundation as an academic discipline can be traced back to the vision of another dynamic female leader of the late 19th century, scientist and MIT professor Ellen Richards."

Lifetime Achievement is a special award given by the college for distinguished individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Auburn University, the state of Alabama and beyond.

The rich legacy of the Heman and Elza Drummond family can be traced back to 1935 when Heman used three mules as collateral to secure a $300 loan from a bank in Walker County, Alabama, in order to begin a coal-mining operation on land that had been homesteaded by his mother.

From its modest beginnings as a local supplier of coal in northwest Alabama, the family-owned Drummond Company, chaired by son Garry Neil Drummond from 1973 until his death earlier this year, has grown into a multi-billion dollar private corporation. Based in Birmingham, Drummond Company is a global leader in the production of coal and coal-based derivatives, as well as oil and real estate.

Striving to be a model corporate citizen, the Drummond Company is known for its community development in the U.S. and Columbia, South America, where operations are located. Drummond is also recognized statewide and nationally for its adherence to responsible environmental management and practices, setting a standard for the industry.

While corporate social responsibility is one of the core values of the Drummond Company, the seven children of Heman and Elza and their offspring have been and continue to be defined, not only by their professional successes, but also by their philanthropic spirit, civic engagement and personal faith.

"The Drummond family serves as a powerful and motivating example of how to succeed in business and in life by setting lofty goals, working hard, treating others fairly and giving back to the communities in which we live," said Henton. "We are indeed proud that the College of Human Sciences can claim Barbara Drummond Thorne, one of Heman and Elza's seven children, as an alumna. She spent her lifetime devoted to helping young people excel and many students at Auburn are beneficiaries of her generosity."

For more information about IQLA, visit

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