Henry Hanly Funderburk Jr., who served as Auburn University at Montgomery’s first chancellor and as Auburn University’s 12th president, died Saturday morning. He was 81.
"It is a sad day for the Auburn Montgomery family," said AUM Chancellor John Veres. "As the first chancellor of Auburn Montgomery and a staunch advocate for its growth and development, Dr. Funderburk laid the foundation for what today is a strong and diverse academic institution. He set the standard against which his successors are measured."
Born June 19, 1931, in Carrollton, Ala., Funderburk received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Auburn University in 1953 and joined the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant. He served for two years in field artillery and returned to Auburn where he earned a master’s degree in botany in 1958.
After receiving a Ph.D. in plant physiology from Louisiana State University in 1961, Funderburk returned to Auburn as an assistant professor. In 1967, he became the assistant dean of the Graduate School.
In 1968, Funderburk was appointed vice president and chief administrator of the newly created Auburn University at Montgomery, charged with the responsibility of establishing a degree-granting institution. He served in this position until 1978 when he became AUM’s first chancellor.
Auburn Montgomery offered its first class in the fall of 1969 in temporary facilities on Bell Street and moved to its current location in east Montgomery in the fall of 1971. Funderburk authorized the addition of athletics at AUM in 1975.
In 1980, Funderburk was named president of Auburn University, a position he held until 1983. In 1985, he became president of Eastern Kentucky University.
"The thousands of AUM alumni who graduated during the 12 years Dr. Funderburk led the university and in the years since are a great testament to his leadership," Veres said. "Our vibrant campus, which continues to thrive and expand, was an expanse of open farmland when Dr. Funderburk accepted the AUM challenge. It will always stand as a legacy to his vision and commitment to educational opportunity."
"On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and alumni of Auburn University at Montgomery, I extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Dr. Funderburk’s family," Veres continued. "We are grateful for his countless contributions; and although he will be missed, he will not be forgotten.
"Hanly Funderburk gave much to Alabama, and we are all better for it.”
Funeral services took place on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the main sanctuary at Frazer United Methodist Church.
To give a gift in memory of Dr. Funderburk, click here.
Reporting by Frank Miles