President Gogue asks board to begin search for new president

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Jay Gogue’s second time as president of Auburn University will soon be coming to an end.

The two-time Auburn alumnus told the Auburn Board of Trustees at its June 11 meeting that it was time to search for a new president.

“I think it’s important for you guys to begin to think about a search for a new president,” he said during his report to the board. “I’ve been back a couple of years, and I think it’s about time you do that.”

Gogue became Auburn’s 18th president in 2007 and retired in 2017. He and his wife, Susie, remained in Auburn, which allowed him to consult for the university and teach College of Education classes.

He agreed to return to the president’s office in 2019 and was named the university’s 20th president in 2020.

“We all appreciate everything you have done over the last 12 years,” said Trustee Wayne Smith, who was presiding over his last meeting as president pro tempore of the board.

Trustee Bob Dumas, who was elected to serve as president pro tempore, appointed Smith to chair the executive committee and therefore serve as chair of the presidential search committee, pursuant to board policy.

Gogue will continue to serve as president through the search process.

“I will ask Trustee Smith to be in contact with each of you [board members] shortly with more information regarding the presidential search. I know he will oversee the process with great transparency and respect for all stakeholders,” said Dumas.

“President Gogue, you have served incredibly well, twice, and we will miss you, greatly. I have great confidence however that we will find an excellent leader to follow in your big footprints.”

Gogue, a Waycross, Georgia, native, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Auburn and a doctorate in horticulture from Michigan State University.

Regarding action items, the board voted to proceed with the project to renovate the Quad Residence Halls, starting this summer with Harper and Broun halls.

Four of the Quad’s 10 residence halls were built in 1938—including Harper and Broun—and six were built in 1952. The last renovations were in the 1990s. Plans presented previously call for renovating two halls each year over the next five years. This first phase should be complete before the fall 2022 semester.

Renovations in Harper and Broun include replacing mechanical, electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, upgrades to furnishings and fixtures, changes to meet current American Disabilities Act code requirements, replacing all windows and doors and utility improvements to provide hot water.

The project involves approximately 51,510 square feet of existing interior and exterior space at an estimated cost of $13.5 million, to be financed by Campus Housing and university repair and renovation funds.

DAVIS of Birmingham had been previously selected to serve as the project architect.

Harper and Broun are located on Mell Street and Quad Drive.

With the area near the Haley Concourse proposed to be the future site of a new student housing project, the board agreed to relocate the academic and outreach programs in the three buildings along the concourse to other locations on campus. The buildings currently house the Early Learning Center, the Marriage and Family Therapy Center and the Center for Health Ecology and Equity Research, all part of the College of Human Sciences.

The Dawson Building, along South Donahue Drive, will be renovated to house the Early Learning Center. Birchfield Penuel & Associates of Birmingham will serve as the project architect, and financing will come from university general funds.

The board also agreed to initiate two projects at the Auburn University Regional Airport: one to expand the maintenance hangar and another to construct an additional T-hangar at the north ramp. Garver LLC of Huntsville will serve as the engineer for both projects.

Work at the maintenance hangar will be financed by Aviation Center funds, while the new T-hangar should be financed by an Alabama Department of Transportation grant and university general funds. The 10 aircraft bays in the new hangar could be leased by the airport to commercial or private aircraft owners, serving as a source of future revenue.

In other matters, the board decided to:

  • Continue to retain PricewaterhouseCoopers as the university’s external auditors.

  • Create a Master of Science in forest business and investment (non-thesis) in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. The proposed program will combine advanced forestry and business knowledge, specifically strategic investing and financial decision-making. In addition to online courses in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, students will also complete courses in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. The board additionally learned about the creation of a non-thesis option for the current Master of Science in marriage and family therapy degree program in the College of Human Sciences, as well as the establishment of a graduate certificate in economic development from the Department of Political Science in the College of Liberal Arts.

  • Appoint Trustee James Pratt to serve on the Trustee Selection Committee. He will serve until the 2022 annual board meeting or until the appointment/reappointment of members to the committee, whichever comes first. The Auburn board will face vacancies for three seats: districts 5 and 7 and at-large.

Among the awards and namings accepted by the board, one resolution called for naming the skills labs and patient assessment areas in the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Walker Building in memory of Dr. Charles Isbell ’55. Isbell, whose children made a gift in his memory, served as a pharmacy officer at Brooke Army Hospital after graduation, going on to earn his medical degree. He served as a pediatrician in the Fort Payne, Alabama, area for more than 50 years, where he was noted for being devoted to his patients, co-workers and the community.

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.