David M. Granger


AUBURN -- Auburn University will award an estimated 2,072 academic degrees at two separate spring quarter commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 11.

Depending on the final numbers, AU's spring 1999 class could be its largest ever, eclipsing the record 2,031 degrees awarded in spring 1992, according to registrar John Fletcher.

Because of the size of the class, Auburn will have two commencement ceremonies -- at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. -- in an effort to more easily accommodate family and friends of the graduates.

Students in the colleges of Agriculture, Education, Business and Architecture, Design and Construction will receive their degrees in the 10 a.m. ceremony. Graduates of the colleges and schools of Forestry, Human Sciences, Nursing, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Mathematics will be awarded degrees at 2 p.m.

As usual, the College of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Pharmacy will have separate ceremonies.

AU will present an honorary degree to retired business executive and Birmingham civic leader Ruel Russell Jr. at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

A World War II combat veteran, Russell is a 1948 graduate in industrial management from Auburn. He began working with U.S. Steel in 1947 as a student and remained with the company until his retirement in 1979 as assistant to the vice president.

Since his retirement from industry, Russell has been prominent in Birmingham civic and Auburn alumni activities, and he has remained active in a series of business interests dating back to 1950. Russell, 75, has owned and operated a succession of businesses: Russell Hardware Co., Russell Insurance Co., Alabama Waste Paper Co., Russell Management Co., Birmingham Pool Supply, Atlas Metals Co., R&R Metals Co. of Houston and Advance Floor Systems of Atlanta.

Russell has served two terms as president of the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a past president of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Auburn Club. He has also served as chair of the Auburn First Committee of Auburn alumni and supporters and is a member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council.

In Birmingham civic activities, Russell has served as vice president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and has been active in the United Way, Red Cross, Lions Club, Boy Scouts and the Heart Guild.

He is married to the former Margaret Sims, a 1947 graduate of Auburn.

Russell, who will receive an honorary doctor of science degree, will also participate in the 2 p.m. ceremony.

Of the degrees AU will award, 1,780 are bachelor's degrees, 244 are master's degrees and 48 are doctorates.

AU's College of Liberal Arts will award the most degrees with 350, followed by the College of Business with 338 and the College of Engineering with 247.

The College of Education will award 179 degrees, the College of Sciences and Mathematics 134, the College of Architecture, Design and Construction 122, the College of Agriculture 91, the College of Veterinary Medicine 89, the School of Human Sciences 82, the School of Nursing 70, the School of Pharmacy 52 and the School of Forestry 26.

Other notable activities slated for graduation day include the Reserve Officer Training Command Ceremony for new graduates receiving commissions at Langdon Hall at 8:30 a.m. and the School of Nursing's pinning ceremony at the Auburn United Methodist Church at 11 a.m.

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