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As we welcome the start of summer, I trust everyone’s semester is off to a productive start.
In observance of Memorial Day earlier this week, I thought I would begin this month’s message by sharing with you two very special efforts the Provost’s Office has had the honor of being involved with that commemorate the service of Auburn’s student veterans.
The first of these events took place last week and involved the dedication of the Max Morris Field located in front of the Nichols ROTC Center. For those of you who are not familiar with his story, Max Morris was a student at Alabama Polytechnic Institute during the late 1930s and early 1940s. A gifted student athlete and Army cadet, Morris was commissioned as an officer during WWII following his graduation from API. His leadership, heroism, and meritorious service not only endeared him to his fellow soldiers, but also enabled him to become one of Auburn’s most cherished graduates. I encourage you to visit the historical marker located on the field and read about its extraordinary namesake. As both a veteran and member of the Auburn Family, I was proud to help dedicate a field that will be shared by future generations of Auburn students who will undoubtedly carry forward the legacy of Max Morris.
The second event involves a project the Provost’s Office has been involved with since 2010. Auburn is one of many higher education institutions across the country that is actively preparing to accommodate an increase in the number of servicemen and women who will be utilizing their GI Bill benefits to pursue their educational goals. Following a task force that provided several recommendations for how our institution can better serve our student veterans; the Provost’s Office established the Veterans and Transfer Student Resource Center in 2010. To continue serving the growing needs of our veteran students, I have supported the renovation of space in Foy Hall to establish a Student Veterans Resource Center that will co-locate the VA Certifying Office and our student veteran programs. The Center will serve the more than 600 Auburn students who currently receive VA educational benefits and will make sure that these students are well connected to our campus resources, including student orientation, career counseling, academic support, and psychological counseling services, to name a few. The current plans are to open the center during fall semester.
My thanks to the faculty who helped make last month’s graduation ceremonies a success. With spring semester traditionally providing our largest graduating class, we successfully implemented a four-session commencement across two days. An additional efficiency involved the mailing of diplomas for the first time, which will provide substantial long-term cost savings to the university.
Recently, I convened the Ad Hoc Committee to Review and Establish University Policies Regarding Minor Children. The Task Force has been charged with reviewing our policies concerning any programs affiliated with Auburn that involve children aged 18 and under. As we place the highest emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff, we certainly place the same emphasis on the safety and wellbeing of our campus visitors, particularly those visitors who are minors. Following my initial meeting with this group, I must say I was very surprised at the size and scope of our programs. The task force has been hard at work benchmarking policies at peer institutions and will be administering a survey later this summer to establish an inventory of campus programs involving minors. If you have any questions or comments, I ask that you please share them with Dean Bonnie MacEwan, Chair of the Task Force.
Finally, I hope many of you have participated in the candidate open forums for the position of the Assistant Provost and Director of the Honors College. The goal is to have a decision made by the end of this month and the new Director in place by the beginning of fall semester.
Again, thank you for all you do for Auburn University!
Last Updated: May, 2012