Auburn Alumni Association honors 2020 lifetime and young alumni award recipients

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Five highly accomplished Auburn University graduates were honored Saturday at the Auburn Alumni Association’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the Auburn Alumni Association, were William E. Barrick ’68, Jere L. Beasley Sr. ’59, Joe Forehand Jr. ’71 and Octavia Spencer ’94. Dion Aviki ’04 was recognized as the 2020 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient. The dinner and ceremony took place at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

William E. Barrick ’68

Barrick is a two-time Auburn University graduate, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in botany in 1968 and a master’s degree in horticulture two years later. Upon graduation from Auburn, Barrick served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps, earning a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Vietnam. After completing his military service, he earned his doctoral degree in landscape horticulture from Michigan State University and began his formal career by serving as an assistant professor in ornamental horticulture at the University of Florida. He later became the executive vice-president and director of gardens at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, where he spent almost 20 years before becoming executive director of Bellingrath Gardens and Home in November 1999. Barrick is a past president of the American Public Garden Association, past chairman of the American Horticultural Society, the 1994 recipient of the Arthur Hoyt Scott Horticulture Medal, the 2012 Governor’s Tourism Award from the Alabama Tourism Department and, most recently, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award presented by the American Horticultural Society. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Agriculture at Auburn University in 2014, was inducted into the Alabama Tourism Hall of Fame in 2018 and, in 2019, was presented the Service Award from the American Public Garden Association.

Barrick has served on the board of Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau since 2000 and currently serves as the board chair. He serves on the board of the South Mobile County Tourism Authority as a founding member and past chairman and, most recently, was appointed to the Alabama Coastal Advisory Committee. He is a published author and a graduate of Leadership Georgia, Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama.

Barrick and his wife, Jessica, reside in Mobile, Alabama. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Jere Locke Beasley Sr. ’59

Beasley earned a business degree from Auburn in 1959 before attending and graduating from law school at the University of Alabama. He is the founding member of Beasley Allen Law Firm and has practiced law as an advocate for victims of wrongdoing since 1962. During his career, he has tried hundreds of cases, including winning landmark cases resulting in positive societal impact.

In January 1979, Beasley established a one-lawyer firm and 40 years later is still “helping those who need it most.” Today, the firm is known as Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., employing 250 employees in offices in Montgomery and Atlanta.

Beasley is an active member of the Trial Lawyer for Public Justice, is regularly included in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as a 2016 recipient of the American Association for Justice Tonahill Award. He received the War Horse Award from the Southern Trial Lawyers Association and was selected by The Trial Lawyer magazine as a 2011 member of The Round Table: America’s 100 Most Influential Trial Lawyers.

Beasley has been profiled in Time Magazine and Business Week among other noted publications. He has also appeared as a lecturer throughout the country at numerous legal seminars and other events.

Beasley is involved in the Montgomery community and currently serves on the board of directors for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He has been involved with the March of Dimes since the early 1980s and was named their 2006 Citizen of the Year. He was the Montgomery Sunrise Rotary Club’s Commitment to Service Award recipient in 2010.

Beasley and his wife, the former Sara Baker ’61, reside in Montgomery. The couple has three children, all Auburn graduates, six granddaughters and one great-granddaughter. He is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Joe Wallace Forehand Jr. ’71

Forehand graduated from Auburn in 1971 with a degree in industrial engineering and a master’s degree from Purdue University. He served as chairman and CEO of Accenture from November 1999 through August 2004. During that time, he led the company through a split and a major global rebranding campaign, resulting in a Top 50 global brand in just four years and growing from 66,000 employees and $9.6 billion in revenue to 103,000 employees and revenue of $13.7 billion. Forehand was named chairman of the board for Accenture in February 2001, where he served until his retirement in August 2006. 

Following his retirement, Forehand served as a senior advisor with Kohlberg, Kravis and Roberts, a leading global private equity firm, advising on technology buyouts and serving on the company’s portfolio committee, which was responsible for reviewing the performance of portfolio companies. He served on the board of First Data Corporation, where he was a board chairman and interim CEO. He was also the chairman of the board for Aricent, a global design and engineering technology company.

Forehand is a past member of the Auburn University Foundation board and co-chaired the Because This is Auburn – A Campaign for Auburn University capital campaign that raised more than $1 billion for the university. He is currently chairman of the Auburn University Industrial and Systems Engineering Advisory Council.

Forehand was inducted into the Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2019, the Auburn University Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame in 2018, the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Hall of Fame in 2004, the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001 and was named Auburn University Industrial Engineering Outstanding Alumnus in 1995.

He and his wife, Gayle ‘70, reside in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and are life members of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Octavia Lenora Spencer ’94

An award-winning actress, author and producer, Spencer earned a degree in English from Auburn in 1994 and was selected as an Auburn Alumni Association Young Alumni Award recipient in 2012. She made her film debut in A Time to Kill in 1996, but her breakthrough came in 2011, when she starred as Minny Jackson in the period film The Help, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also won the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, The British Academy of Film and Theatre Arts, or BAFTA, and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for her role in The Help.  

In 2017, her performance as mathematician Dorothy Vaughan in the drama Hidden Figures received Best Supporting Actress nominations from the Academy Awards, Golden Globe and SAG. She had a critically acclaimed performance in the 2013 drama Fruitvale Station, for which she received the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress. Recently, Spencer has received acclaim for her work in the films Get on Up, Black or White, Smashed, Snowpiercer, The Divergent Series: Insurgent and Zootopia. On television, she has appeared in episodes of ER, NYPD Blue, Medium, The Big Bang Theory,

Dharma & Greg and Ugly Betty.

Since 2013, Spencer has published two children's books that tell the crime-busting stories of three multicultural friends: a white girl, a Latino boy and an African American boy. Spencer cemented her standing as one of Hollywood's premier talents with her performance in the 2017 fantasy drama The Shape of Water, earning Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In January 2018, it was announced Spencer would star in a dramatic thriller titled Are You Sleeping. She is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

Dion Marlene Aviki ’04

Following her 2004 graduation with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, Aviki moved to Houston, Texas, where she held roles in sales, marketing and business development within the HVAC industry. In 2017, Aviki earned her MBA from Duke University and joined Thermo Fisher Scientific’s General Management Leadership Development Program, where she gained strategy and marketing experience across the life science, biotech and pharmaceutical industries, living in Oregon, California and Texas. In her current role as director of integration management, she leads the overall commercial integration process for a workforce that generates more than $10 billion across the global life science sector.

She is a former president of the Greater Houston Auburn club, was a founding member of the Auburn Engineering Young Alumni Council and served four years on the board of directors for the Auburn Alumni Association. She currently serves on the Chemical Engineering Advisory Council and is a member of 100 Women Strong in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, Engineering Eagles and the Auburn Alumni Association Circle of Excellence Society.

Dion and her partner, Brooke Levin, reside in Dallas, Texas. She is a life member of the Auburn Alumni Association.

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