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DePriest creates professorship in honor of special mentor

Published: 02/02/2017

By: Lindsay Penny

Paul DePriest, mathematics '75, has established a professorship through an estate gift in honor of his former instructor, Jack Rogers.

DePriest, a cyber-information assurance analyst for Northrop Grumman Corporation, is a longtime member of the COSAM Dean's Leadership Council and benefactor of the college.

"I met Dr. Rogers in 1974 and was in his class for three quarters of math analysis," said DePriest. "I believe the way Dr. Rogers taught the analysis series of classes helped develop my problem solving skills and enhanced my desire to constantly learn new things. This has been extremely beneficial throughout my career as I have done numerous types of jobs, including scientific programming using supercomputers, computer network design and management, computer system management, and currently, cyber security. I have also taught cyber security part-time at the university level for 12 years. I used teaching techniques I observed from Dr. Rogers' classes to help my students to succeed in learning how to develop secure systems."

Rogers, now a professor emeritus, was part of the Auburn faculty from 1973 to 2007. While at Auburn, he served as director of the Honors College and was an instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.

DePriest and his family recently reconnected with Rogers at a luncheon where they announced their plans for the gift in his honor.

"It was a very enjoyable time reconnecting with Dr. Rogers," said DePriest. "My wife, Donna, and I were able to see Dr. Rogers' reaction to learning that we had established this professorship in his honor. He and his wife were surprised. We spent the next two hours talking about our lives since my time at Auburn and discovered that he had spent a few summers working for my current employer, and that I have worked with some of his Ph.D. students. I really didn't want the meeting to end."

For DePriest and his family, giving back to Auburn is an investment that will touch lives throughout the future.

"My wife and I believe in being charitable when you can afford it and because we believe in Auburn," said DePriest. "Currently, the state provides less funding for public education at the college level. This has resulted in continued increases in tuition over the past several years, which makes it expensive for someone to go to school today unless they have assistance. My wife and I have setup a scholarship and have enjoyed getting to know the recipients. It just makes you feel better to know you are helping someone get a good education. Associated with this is the need to provide excellent teachers for these students. That is why we set up this endowed professorship. You will find that there are numerous needs at Auburn where one can give back and every donation is important."

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