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Alumni News

Message from the AUM Alumni Board

Greetings AUM alumni and friends,

The AUM campus community made a strong start to the fall semester in August, delivering a high-quality education to students in a modified classroom environment. Our faculty, staff, and students continue to work together to follow new health and wellness guidelines, ensuring the safety of those on campus. Over the past few weeks, alumni and friends have reached out with questions regarding the availability of campus resources, and I would like to share the following updates with you:

  • The AUM Warhawk Shop is open to the public Monday – Friday from 7:45 am – 5:00 pm. New face masks and alumni t-shirts are available in-store or online at aumbookstore.com.
  • The AUM Library remains closed to alumni and community users at this time. AUM faculty, staff, and students have access to Library resources in-person and online.
  • The AUM Wellness Center remains closed to alumni and community members at this time.  The Wellness Center staff has been working hard to make some areas of the facility and a limited selection of equipment available to current AUM students for the fall semester.  The Wellness Center hopes to reopen to alumni and friends soon, and we will share more updates as they become available. In the meantime, I encourage you to join the Wellness Center online for virtual fitness classes or keep up your exercise routine on one of AUM’s scenic outdoor walking trails.

We look forward to welcoming alumni and friends back to campus for in-person gatherings as soon as it is safe to do so.  In the meantime, please be sure to check your email often for the latest news and announcements from your AUM Alumni Association, and feel free to contact us at 334-244-3369 or alumni@aum.edu if there is anything we can do for you.

Take care and be well,

Joey Taff
President, AUM Alumni Association

River Region United Way Names Ronald Simmons '04 as New CEO

River Region United Way (RRUW) has announced Ronald A. Simmons, IOM, as its new president and chief executive officer.

Ron Simmons is a native of Montgomery and a 1983 graduate of Sidney Lanier High School. He is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with an emphasis in Marketing and Military Science in 2004. Simmons was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves from the Auburn University at Montgomery ROTC program in 1987. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Institute of Organizational Management at the University of Georgia.

Simmons joins United Way coming from the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, where he served for 10 years – most recently as the vice president of sales for the Destination Montgomery Convention and Visitor Bureau. Previously, Simmons served as the vice president of business development and sports national sales manager for the chamber and CVB.

Simmons’ work in the nonprofit sector is not limited to the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce. He is the founder of D.A.D.S (Dads And Daughters Saturday) and serves on various boards throughout the community, including the YMCA of Greater Montgomery, East Montgomery YMCA and the Montgomery City-County Public Library. Simmons has also served on the boards of Brantwood Children’s Home and Jubilee CityFest. He is also a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and a Leadership Montgomery graduate, Class XXVIII.

“We are extremely excited about Ron Simmons joining the River Region United Way,” shared Dr. Rhea Ingram, RRUW Chair of the Board. “Ron not only brings a wealth of business acumen and marketing savvy, but he is from the River Region, as a lifelong resident. He will be a tremendous asset to our communities, leading our organization toward its centennial in 2023 and beyond.”

As president and CEO of River Region United Way, Simmons will establish a vision that is achieved through the efforts of a diverse team of high-performing leaders, volunteers and staff. He will lead a staff of nine in identifying community needs, finding the resources required to address those needs, and allocating funds where they will make the greatest impact. In this role, Simmons will serve as the chief mobilizer, leveraging the power of relationships and networks, and working across private, public and corporate sectors to improve the conditions in Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Macon and Montgomery counties.

Ron Simmons stated, “I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to work with River Region United Way, the board of directors, staff and partners who are so committed to improving the lives of people in the communities I love! United Way’s purpose of Making Life Better for Everyone mirrors the work of the Chamber in many ways. Both organizations understand that education, financial stability and good healthcare are critical elements for building strong communities. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our communities in this new role.”

Simmons took his post on July 16, 2020. He succeeds Jimmy Hill who served as president and CEO from 2014-2020. Hill left the position to take a statewide leadership role as executive director of Alabama CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates.

Original article: alabamanews.net

Manufacture Alabama appoints Jon Barganier '10 as chief operations officer

Manufacture Alabama announced the appointment of Jon Barganier as its new COO, effective immediately. Barganier comes to Manufacture Alabama with more than 14 years of experience, including a decade of coordinating legislative agendas, developing policy priorities, establishing communication strategies and staff management.

Most recently, Jon served as the primary lobbyist and regulatory analyst for the American Petroleum Institute in Alabama. In his role as executive director for the Alabama Petroleum Council, Barganier represented the oil and natural gas industry on behalf of 13 member companies with in-state assets along with more than 600 additional members across the country.

“Jon is the ideal leader for Manufacture Alabama,” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama. “He is a seasoned mover and shaker with significant experience working with elected officials in the great state of Alabama, operating an effective team, and recognizing the future challenges we must confront. We are fortunate to have Jon as our COO.”

Before joining Manufacture Alabama, Barganier served as deputy chief of staff to Gov. Kay Ivey and provided leadership during the transition of authority in April 2017 between the Bentley and Ivey administrations. During the Bentley administration, Barganier served in roles ranging from chief of staff, deputy chief of staff and legislative liaison.

“I am incredibly grateful and excited to assume this role and for the future of Manufacture Alabama,” said Barganier. “I look forward to working with George and the rest of the Manufacture Alabama team to build on the solid foundation that has been laid, to successfully serve our members and to fulfill the vision to make Alabama the best business and political location in the U.S. for manufacturers.”

Barganier has experience working as a government consultant leading the development of state public policy and legislation on behalf of the leadership in the Alabama Senate. Prior to consulting, Barganier spent five years in the Alabama Department of Finance developing and implementing a performance management program for state government agencies and decision makers.

Barganier is a graduate of the University of Alabama and received his MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2010. He lives in Montgomery with his wife, Leigh, and their two children, Nash and Jeb. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church and enjoys coaching youth sports in the community.

Original article: montgomeryindependent.com

Pappanastos '85 receives Troy University's Malone Award

Dr. Ed Pappanastos, a Professor in the Sorrell College of Business and Associate Chair of the Department of Risk Management and Data Analytics at Troy University, has been awarded Troy University’s Wallace D. Malone, Jr. Distinguished Faculty Award.

Dr. Pappanastos was presented the award during the University’s annual Faculty/Staff Convocation on Thursday at the Troy Campus. The award consists of a $1,500 cash prize and a medallion to be worn with academic regalia. The award is made possible through a $100,000 endowment by the SouthTrust Corporation. Wallace Malone, former chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of SouthTrust, served as a TROY trustee from 1975-1995.

“Dr. Pappanastos is one of the most genuine teachers you will ever meet. Ed is selfless in his service to the students of Troy University, the Sorrell College of Business and the Risk Management and Data Analytics Department,” said Dr. Jeffrey A. Bohler, Department Chair, who nominated Pappanastos for the award. “He is incredibly knowledgeable in Risk Management and Quantitative Measures, is well published and continuously mentors all members of our department. Ed’s efforts directly contribute to helping our department support the vision of Troy University.”

Dr. Pappanastos said he was both shocked and honored to receive the award.

“It was a complete shock to me to be selected to receive the Malone Award because there are so many qualified faculty members at Troy,” he said. “I am tremendously thankful to be able to work alongside of a group that is so focused on making a positive impact on the lives of the students and each other. The quality of our current faculty and the legacies of the previous award winners makes this a tremendous honor. I am extremely grateful, and somewhat embarrassed, to have been selected.”

Dr. Pappanastos first joined the Troy faculty in 1997, serving for 17 years as a Professor of Quantitative Measures and Risk Management and Insurance. After a twoyear stint as a Professor of Management at Tuskegee University, Dr. Pappanastos returned to Troy in 2016 as chair of the Department of Economics, Finance and RMI, and then Chair of the Department of Risk Management and Data Analytics from 2017 to 2019.

Dr. Pappanastos earned a bachelor’s in 1985 and a master’s degree in 1988 from Auburn University at Montgomery, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

In addition to his service on many committees of the Sorrell College of Business, Dr. Pappanastos is also active within the Montgomery community. He has served on three occasions as chairperson of the Catholic Charities Appeal for the Archdiocese of Mobile, has served as a proctor for the AP Calculus Test for LAMP High School and is a committee member and past chairperson of the Alabama Baseball Coaches Association.

Original article: https://today.troy.edu/news

Virtual Career Workshops Now Available for AUM Alumni

The AUM Career Development Center released the 2020 Fall semester schedule of virtual workshops, available to AUM students and alumni. Registration for all workshops requires a Handshake account.  Upon registration, attendees will receive a Zoom Passcode via email for entrance into the session.

  • Building Your Handshake Profile:  Your Handshake profile is your connection to thousands of employers in your career field.  Learn the steps necessary to create a completed profile in Handshake, and tips for getting noticed by employers.
  • Cracking Your Holland Code: Aligning Interests with Career Options.  A great way to being exploring career options that could be a good fit for you is by measuring the attributes of a career vs. your work interest preferences.  The CDC and Counseling and Health Promotions Services will introduce the principles behind Dr. John Holland’s six work interest categories, and how to research career options using your Holland Code.
  • Preparing for Graduate School Applications:  What makes a strong and memorable grad school application?  This workshop, hosted by the Graduate Admissions Office and the Career Development Center, will introduce tips for creating resumes, personal statements, and other materials that help your application stand out.
  • Career Action Planning:  Developing into a career professional involves education and experiences that build the knowledge and competencies required by the world of work.  Career action planning is the process of establishing strategies and goals during your collegiate years for becoming career ready.
  • Professionalism in the Virtual Workplace:  Remote working has changed the dynamic of the workplace, allowing some flexibility surrounding traditional office etiquette, while introducing new issues.  Understand the concepts central to virtual workplace professionalism and how to avoid missteps.

OCTOBER

Tuesday, 10/13/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Thursday, 10/15/2020
Preparing for Graduate School Applications (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

Thursday, 10/22/2020
Exploring Handshake (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Monday, 10/26/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

NOVEMBER

Tuesday, 11/3/2020
Career Action Planning (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

Thursday, 11/5/2020
Exploring Handshake (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Monday, 11/9/2020
Building Your Handshake Profile  (12:10 pm – 12:40 pm)

Thursday, 11/12/2020
Professionalism in the Virtual Workplace (12:00 pm – 1:00 pm)

All Workshops will be recorded and placed on the resources section of Handshake for future viewing.

For more information about career resources available to AUM alumni, please visit www.aum.edu/career-resources.

AUM Digital Giftbag

Are you still navigating a virtual version of work, school, and social gatherings? School spirit is alive and strong in the Mighty Warhawk Nation! Show some virtual love to Auburn University at Montgomery and Curtiss the Warhawk.  Take advantage of these campus-inspired and spirit-themed Facebook profile filters and Zoom backgrounds. Visit this page to download images and learn more tips and tricks on how to use zoom: http://www.aum.edu/digitalgiftbag

Alumni Embrace Virtual Events

AUM alumni from coast to coast gathered via Zoom for a Virtual Paint Party hosted by Montgomery’s local Wine & Design studio on Thursday, August 6. Supplies, including a canvas, easel, paints, and brushes, were shipped to participants, which allowed alumni to participate from the comfort of their own homes. The group enjoyed catching up with each other while painting AUM’s iconic Library Tower.

On Tuesday, September 15, alumni experienced a battle of the brains during a Virtual Trivia Night. Players were encouraged to meet new alumni friends in our randomized teams for three exciting rounds of trivia. The winning team even won an AUM alumni swag bag and bragging rights!

Don’t miss out on future events by checking our alumni events page frequently for updates.

The AUM Alumni Association is currently looking for innovative virtual event options, and we would love your input! Please take a moment to complete a brief survey. This survey, while completely anonymous, will help us improve future events for alumni!

Virtual Grad Preview

There will be a Virtual Grad Preview Night on October 22 at 5-7 p.m.

If you’re ready to start building the next phase of your career or considering changing careers,  it’s time to begin a master’s degree. Auburn University at Montgomery’s Grad School Preview event gives you the opportunity to identify the best graduate program for your field and your future — and for your professional timeline.

Class Notes

Carina Harrison ‘00
Degree: Biology
Your Current Occupation: Military
Employer: USAF

How did your AUM experience benefit you? My time at AUM was a long time ago, but I can truly say my time at AUM was instrumental in my success today! While attending AUM, I learned teamwork through collaboration with other students, I gained an understanding of when it’s time to try something new, and I learned to never give up no matter level of difficulty!

Share Your Story: I currently serve in the USAF as a Force Support Officer stationed At the Pentagon managing the AF budget.  I have served in the military for 19 years having travelled to various locations across the world. I did all this while raising my now 17-year-old daughter!

Brandon Taylor ‘13
Degree: Physical Science

Taylor switched gears from biochemistry to pursue his passion for writing through a fellowship from the Tin House summer writing workshop. His novel, “Real Life,” is now on The Booker Prizes 2020 shortlist. Read more about his fascinating journey here.

2019 African American Alumni Reception

Auburn University at Montgomery alumni, faculty, staff and friends gathered at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club on Thursday, October 10, 2019, for the 11th annual African American Alumni Reception. Attendees enjoyed live music, a seated dinner, and reconnecting with former classmates and colleagues. The underlying goal of this annual event is to raise awareness and funds for a scholarship established by four determined AUM alumnae, who wanted to broaden the level of diversity at AUM while providing support to young students.

This year’s reception featured keynote speaker, Larry Thornton, who shared his story as one of six students to integrate Goodwyn Middle School in 1967. The self-made author and entrepreneur went from making $5 an hour painting signs at Coca-Cola, to becoming the first African American owner of a McDonald’s franchise in Birmingham, Alabama in 1992. Thornton published an autobiography entitled Why Not Win? in 2019. Proceeds from the book sales established the “Why Not Win Foundation,” which promotes achievement and leadership, and has funded scholarships through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Tom Joyner Foundation.

The 2019 African American Alumni Reception scholarship recipient, Teva Stinson, spoke about her undergraduate journey at AUM and her current goal of completing a Master of Accountancy. Teva plans to pass the CPA exam after obtaining her graduate degree. “My dream is to make a positive impact on every person I encounter, and to lead by example. I believe that success is not measured by how much money you make or the amount of awards you win, but by the impact you make on those you meet along the way,” Teva shared.

To contribute to the African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship, visit: www.aum.edu/AARS

New Alumni Association Board of Directors

On October 18, the AUM Alumni Association Board of Directors gathered for their last meeting of 2019. At this meeting, six of the board members were recognized for their service to the board as they completed their two-year term of commitment: Jodi Henley ’02, Annamarie Jones ’94 (President), Karlen McCree ’13, Ben McNeill ’76, Mark Spencer ’88, John Varnado ’75.

The approved slate for 2020-2021 Board of Directors is as follows:

Returning members

  • Joey Taff ’89 – President
  • Catrina Hollins Pettway ’05 – Vice President
  • Elizabeth Fritz ’97 – Secretary/Treasurer
  • Janice Marshall ’93 – Director
  • Vanessa Warren ’87 – Director

New members

  • Caleb Conner ’15, Assistant to the Commissioner – Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries
  • Angela Harris ’01, Restorative Coordinator, RN – Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Amy Ingram ’10, UNIV Program Manager – Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Kalandra Haynes ’06, Docket Clerk – United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama
  • Mariah Scarver ’18, T.E.A.C.H. Counselor – Alabama Partnership for Children
  • Carl Viars ’11, Assistant Director – Community Corrections Division, Department of Corrections

The mission of the Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association is to foster and strengthen the relationship between AUM and its alumni and friends; to preserve and promote the university’s traditions, purposes, growth and development; and to keep alive the spirit of affection and respect for our alma mater.

We look forward to working towards this on-going mission with the new slate of 2020-2021 Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Alumni Professorship 2019-2022 awarded to Dr. Keren Deal

The Alumni Association sponsors an Alumni Professorship to recognize outstanding Auburn University at Montgomery faculty who best exemplify excellence in teaching, research, scholarly and creative accomplishments and service. Current AUM faculty members who have at least 10 years of full-time service at AUM are eligible for this honor. Alumni Professorship recipients serve a three-year, non-renewable term and receive a $7,500 award and certificate.

Joey Taff, President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, presented the 2019-2022 Alumni Professorship award to Professor of Accounting, Dr. Keren Deal at Fall Convocation in October.

Deal’s colleagues, students and friends would agree that her work ethic is legendary. Despite her tremendous efforts in the classroom, she still finds time to work on research and additional projects. She has published in many journals, most often on topics where she has earned a national reputation. Deal played an active role in AUM’s State Initiative Program, which allows state employees to receive a formal education, qualifying them for enhanced job classifications. She has received consistent recognition throughout her career and her recent honor of Alabama Society of CPAs Educator of the year in 2018, attests to her statewide reputation.

Rolling Out the R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed) Event

AUM alumnus Jody Fuller ’01 performed a live comedy show on campus November 12, for AUM students, alumni, and the community. Although he named himself “the stuttering comic,” Jody is also a writer, speaker, and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2001.

Openers for the night’s event were local musician Ben Norris and AUM student Sarah Katherine Barnes.

AUM’s Veterans Appreciation Week, November 11-15, honors the commitment and recognizes the sacrifices of the men, women and families that are part of our university and community. This annual week of events included a variety of activities open to active duty military, reservists, and veterans, as well as AUM students, faculty and staff:

  • Challenge Coin Presentation
  • Rolling Out the R.E.D. (Remember Everyone Deployed)
  • Picnic with the Patriots
  • Movie & Game Night
  • Breakfast with the Brave

Happy Holidays from your Alumni Association Board of Directors

On behalf of your Alumni Association Board of Directors, we wish you the happiest of holidays and a joyful new year!
Thank you for your continued support of your alma mater.

How can you make a difference at AUM?

You have the power to strengthen Auburn University at Montgomery – by giving back. With every contribution, you are advancing the work of students, athletes, artists, and industry leaders. You are equipping labs, hiring top academics, and pushing the boundaries of higher education. You are essential to our future.

There is no greater gift than giving! You can give the gift of scholarships, program support, assistance for faculty and staff, and so much more when you participate in our year-end campaign. A gift of any amount – no matter the size – to the AUM Annual Fund makes a big impact in the lives of students currently following in your footsteps.

This is your opportunity to set an example and show today’s students that AUM alumni care about their alma mater, so please submit your gift before the December 31 year-end deadline (and you’ll be able to count your contribution toward your taxes in the spring. Talk about a win-win!).

Create a legacy with a planned gift

If you are looking for opportunities to give back to Auburn University at Montgomery, please consider including a bequest in your will. With your planned gift, you will become a member of the George Petrie Society.

After providing for family, friends and others, many alumni include a meaningful bequest to AUM in their will to continue their lifetime support. Including the Auburn University Foundation as a beneficiary of your will, is one of the easiest ways to provide for future generations of AUM students and faculty.

For more information about planned giving, contact Auburn University at Montgomery’s University Development office at 334-244-3560 or development@aum.edu.

AUM Day of Giving 2020: a special 24-hour fundraising initiative

Mark your calendars for AUM Day of Giving on February 14, 2020! Show your love for Auburn University at Montgomery by supporting the many projects and programs from the colleges and departments seeking private support.

AUM Day of Giving is a social media based initiative, and will utilize Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to share information about special AUM projects. Keep an eye out on these social media platforms for more details about projects that need your support!

In January, you can visit www.aum.edu/dayofgiving to check out all the AUM projects highlighted for this special day.

Office of Alumni Affairs

Location
Technacenter, 2nd Floor
Address
75 Technacenter Drive, Montgomery, AL 36117
Call Today
(334) 244-3369
E-mail
alumni@aum.edu

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