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December 2023 Newsletter

December 2023 Alumni Newsletter

AUM Alumni Board Welcomes New Members


At the last AUM Alumni Board meeting of 2023, the current board thanked and said farewell to several directors for their years of service and dedication to AUM. Their term will conclude at the end of 2023:

  • Kalandra Haynes ‘06: Secretary/Treasurer 2022-2023; Director 2020-2021
  • Alexis Carr ‘20: Director 2022-2023
  • Caleb Conner ’15, ‘22: Director 2022-2023
  • Angela Harris ‘01: Director 2022-2023
  • Mariah Scarver-Parker ‘18: Director 2020-2023
  • Gay Soriano ‘82: Chancellor’s Appointee 2020-2023
  • Steve Williams ‘96: Chancellor’s Appointee 2022-2023

The Auburn University at Montgomery Alumni Association is pleased to announce seven alumni will join its board of directors (five directors and two ex-officio members). These AUM graduates will serve a two-year term from January 2024 through December 2025:

  • Stephen Bray ’12, ‘15: Director 2024-2025
  • Christina Buntyn ‘22: Director 2024-2025
  • Candace Johnson ‘03: Director 2024-2025
  • Keith Johnson ‘01: Director 2024-2025
  • Tiarra Knight ’19, ‘21: Director 2024-2025
  • Adam Finesilver ’06, ‘07: Chancellor’s Appointee 2024-2025
  • Rebecca Crumpton ‘23: AUM Staff Representative 2024-2025

The board’s new executive committee includes Catrina Lewis ’05, President; Janice Marshall ’93, Vice President; and Amy Ingram ’10, ’14, ‘16, Secretary/Treasurer.

The new members and executive committee slate were unanimously approved at the Alumni Board of Directors’ last meeting on Friday, October 13, 2023.

We are thrilled to welcome these fellow alumni who represent various generations, industries and talents to the board of directors, and look forward to the association’s work as we continue to create meaningful and engaging experiences for our more than 43,000 alumni.

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Kimberly Brackett honored with 2023 Faculty Service Award

The Alumni Association sponsors an annual Faculty Service Award, and Associate Dean and Professor of Sociology Dr. Kimberly Brackett was recently recognized at the Chancellor’s Convocation in November as the latest of these outstanding educators.

To be eligible for this honor, nominees must have five or more years of full-time service at AUM.  Emphasis is placed on teaching excellence, university and community service, and research.  The recipient will receive a $1,000 prize and certificate.

Despite her additional administrative and service responsibilities as Associate Dean, Dr. Brackett maintains a high level of service to her department. She mentors new faculty, actively participates in department discussions, plans and coordinates department events, and volunteers more than her share of time at recruiting events.

In one nomination letter, her character is summarized in three parts: First, she always maintains professionalism and has an impeccable standard of ethics. Second, she cares greatly about student, staff, and faculty success and strives to put everyone on a path toward their goals. Lastly, she is the heart and soul of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Dr. Brackett earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Jacksonville University in 1990, a Master of Arts from the University of Florida in 1993, and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 1996.

We are thankful for her service and dedication to the AUM family.

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ODEC board elects CEC's Steven Harmon '09 as its new chairman

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) has selected the president and chief executive officer of Community Electric Cooperative in Windsor as its new chairman. CEC’s Steven A. Harmon was elected chairman of the ODEC Board of Directors.

ODEC is one of the nation’s largest and most successful generation and transmission cooperatives, according to its news release. “It is a privilege and a blessing to serve as a steward for this organization and its customers and members. I am honored and humbled to serve as ODEC’s Chairman of the board,” Harmon said. “Our cooperative culture is one that promotes teamwork and unity. With these traits the board will be able to advise and guide ODEC through the many challenges of growth and change affecting the power generation industry.”

In addition to his role at CEC, Harmon is CEO of the cooperative’s subsidiary, RECORE, LLC. Harmon has more than 40 years of experience in the power industry, beginning his career as an apprentice lineman, then journeyman lineman and advancing through various managerial roles to the helm of Community Electric beginning in 2013.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bryan College and a Masters of Business Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery, earned in 2009.

ODEC is owned by and provides wholesale electric power to 11 local electric cooperatives that provide retail electric service to more than 1.5 million people in 70 counties in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Original article from Suffolk News Herald.

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2023 African American Alumni Reception

Auburn University at Montgomery alumni, faculty, staff, and friends gathered at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club on Thursday, October 19, 2023, for the 13th annual African American Alumni Reception. Attendees enjoyed reconnecting with former classmates and colleagues, a seated dinner, and a program of speakers. 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.

The event’s featured speaker, AUM alumnae and District Judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit of Alabama – Hon. Tiffany B. McCord, shared her personal AUM story and how it got her to where she is today. Although they could not be in attendance, the recipients of both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarships were recognized: Courtney Mason and Destiny Washington, respectively.

If you were able to join us and support this event, thank you. Your kindness and generosity will have a lasting impact on our scholarship recipients. To make a gift to the African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship, please visit:

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Jarod Cook '07 named baseball coach at Lee-Scott Academy

Jarrod Cook reached his decision and it certainly didn’t happen without a lot of thought and prayer. Cook was preparing for his 15th season at Trinity and third as the head baseball coach, when he was approached by Lee-Scott officials who were looking for a successor to Tim Hudson as the Warriors planned a potential move from an Alabama Independent School Association program to an Alabama High School Athletic Association member.

“It’s really just God’s timing,” Cook said. “I’ve just learned in my faith and through my career you’ve got to say yes to God and no to people. It’s a good situation, great place to live, similarities between Trinity and Lee-Scott. Auburn has always been a place where my wife and I have talked about living. With everything that has unfolded at Trinity and the direction we’re going, we felt like this was a better direction for me and my family. Our program was in a really good place. But I’ve poured so much into other kids for so long and missed time with my own kids. Now it’s time to do what’s right for my kids and my family.”

Cook, a Georgia native, pitched at Southern Union Community College in 2001-03 before moving on to Auburn University at Montgomery, coached by Q.V. Lowe in 2005 and 2006. He graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from AUM. The following year, Cook was an assistant for Russ Brooks at Montgomery Academy in 2007-09. Since the 2010 season, he helped continue the Trinity tradition, helping the team to state titles in 2012, 2013 and 2015 and to the state baseball playoffs in 33 of the last 34 years.

Cook added the final two playoff berths after being named the head coach in May, 2021, leading the Wildcats to a 33-7 record and the school’s seventh baseball title in his first season in 2022 and to the 4A quarterfinals and a 22-14 record in 2023.

Thinking back on the years he spent at Trinity, that same feeling was prevalent as he toured Lee-Scott Academy recently. “I talked to Dr. (Stan) Cox (head of school) and the athletic director, William Johnson, and it just felt like family, felt like home, felt like a piece of the Trinity I know,” Cook said. “I had phone calls from several in the community, Coach (Tim) Hudson being one of those, and he assured me the program was in good hands. I haven’t heard a negative thing about Lee-Scott Academy. I’m excited to be walking into a well-established program.”

Cook will be replacing Hudson, the former Auburn assistant and Major League pitcher who took over the Warriors in 2023. Cook will be the program’s fourth baseball coach in the last six years.

Original article from Montgomery Independent.

Save the Date: Alumni Homecoming Celebration 2024


Save the date to go ALL IN at the annual Alumni Homecoming Celebration! Guests are encouraged to wear cocktail attire for this Casino Night themed event, featuring dinner, drinks, casino games, music, and a 360 photo booth.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Mail and email invitation to follow. As they become available, details will be added to

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Hall named new Dothan City Schools transportation director

Dothan City Schools announced recently that Erica Hall has been named the school system’s newest transportation director. Hall, who has nearly three decades of experience in education, has been with Dothan City Schools for 17 years. Before coming into this position, she was the principal of Beverlye Intermediate School for three years.

Hall is a graduate of Alabama State University, where she majored in elementary education. She also holds a master’s degree from Troy University and an educational leadership degree from Auburn University at Montgomery, earned in 2005. Additionally, Hall earned her doctorate in May 2018 as a member of Alabama State University’s 13th cohort in the education leadership, policy, and law doctoral program.

Prior to her educational roles, Hall gained transportation experience during her time in the military. Enlisted in 1989 as a motor transport operator, Hall was commissioned as a logistician in 2005 and retired as a logistics officer with the Alabama Army National Guard in 2019.

She has commanded a transportation company, ran transportation operations for a battalion, was a route specialist for the Alabama National Guard, and was responsible for planning routes and writing standard operating procedures for military convoys.

Hall holds memberships in numerous educational organizations, including the Council of Leaders in Alabama Schools, where she is recognized as a certified instructional leader, the Alabama Association of Middle School Principals, and the International Association of Reading Teachers. Her greatest accomplishment is being the proud mom of her son Jeffrey.

Hall replaces Jay Bruner, who has taken an opportunity to work with the Alabama State Department of Education.

Original article from Dothan Eagle.

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Manufacture Alabama names Barganier to top role, succeeding founder George Clark

Manufacture Alabama, the only trade association in the state dedicated exclusively to the full array of regulatory, operational and competitive interests of manufacturers, announced they elevated Jon Barganier to the top leadership spot as President and CEO.

He’ll take over for George Clark, who founded the organization in 1996. Clark served as President of the organization since its inception and will continue to serve at Manufacture Alabama as Director Emeritus and President of Workforce Development as part of the transition.

Barganier joined Manufacture Alabama in August 2020 as Chief Operating Officer and has worked in Alabama state government and politics since 2006. “This is an exciting day for our association,” said Paul Vercher, Chairman of the Manufacture Alabama Board of Directors.

“George Clark is the founder of Manufacture Alabama and under his vigilant leadership the manufacturing sector in our state has been well represented enabling it to function as a dynamic driver for the state’s economy. Jon is well positioned to continue to improve upon the precedent George has set and the Board of Directors looks forward to working with Jon to continue Manufacture Alabama’s strong leadership in the manufacturing sector,” Vercher said.

George Clark, a titan of the sector, said, “I have been blessed to have been the creator and leader of Manufacture Alabama for almost 30 years.”

“We have become the recognized voice for manufacturers in Alabama. Our future is bright with the leadership of our Board of Directors and our exceptional staff.”

“I am honored to be entrusted by the Board of Directors with the responsibility to lead this vital organization which represents the backbone of our economy,” said Jon Barganier.

Prior to joining Manufacture Alabama, Barganier served as Executive Director for the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Alabama office as well as serving in appointed positions for three of Alabama’s governors. Barganier is a graduate of the University of Alabama and he obtained a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2010. He and his wife, Leigh, reside in Montgomery and they have two sons; Nash and Jeb.

“Manufacturing epitomizes the best of what Alabama has to offer and I am blessed to advocate on behalf of the companies that invest so much in our communities. I look forward to building on the foundation that George established while working with the best team in Montgomery to make Alabama a place where manufacturing continues to thrive.”

Original article from Yellow Hammer News.

End of year giving... it's not too late!


Forgot to make your 2023 year end contribution? It’s not too late! 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, providing student support, and pushing the boundaries of higher education. You are essential to our future. You may give online at or by calling (334) 244-3560.

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AARP Alabama welcomes new Associate State Director for Community Outreach & Engagement to the River Region

Kristen Moyo has joined the staff of AARP Alabama, serving Montgomery and the entire River Region as Associate State Director for Community Outreach and Engagement. In this role, she will work with volunteers and community leaders to advance AARP’s mission to empower adults age 50 and older to live their best lives.

Kristen comes to AARP Alabama from her most recent role as Affiliate Relations Manager at the Autism Society of America (ASA), where she advanced relationships between the national team and affiliates. Prior to her national role at ASA, Kristen was Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Autism Society of Indiana.

“Kristen brings a wealth of experience in community engagement and we are thrilled to have her join our team in Montgomery,” said Candi Williams, AARP Alabama State Director. “We look forward to introducing her to our community partners and volunteers throughout the River Region.”

Kristen is a 2004 graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery where she earned a Bachelors in Communication, with a major in Audiology and Speech Pathology. Her new role with AARP marks a welcome return to Alabama for Kristen and her family.

Starting to plan for 2024? Come travel with us... anyone can join our trips!

Memorials of World War II: July 1-10

Memorials of World War II

July 1-10, 2024

An unforgettable journey of discovery and remembrance awaits you as you travel between London, Normandy and Paris on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. Explore London’s connections to World War II during a city tour focused on The Blitz. Cross the English Channel, retracing the parallel journey nearly 160,000 courageous Allied troops took on June 6th, 1944, as they set out to liberate Europe from the Nazis. Immerse yourself in the history of Normandy’s D-Day Landing Beaches and visit the Normandy American Cemetery. Visit Saint-Mère–Église, the first French town liberated from the Nazis, and learn about the brave paratroopers who parachuted into Normandy on the night of June 5–6, 1944. Conclude your journey in Paris, the City of Light with a festive dinner cruise along the Seine River.  

Highlights: London & Paris WWII-Focused City Tours, Portsmouth, The D-Day Story Museum, English Channel Crossing, Juno Beach, Caen Peace Memorial, Arromanche-les-Baines, Longues-sur-Mer, Apple Cider Farm Visit, Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Pointe de Hoc, Airborne Museum, Utah Beach, Giverny Gardens, Seine River Dinner Cruise.

For more information, contact Collette at 1-800-581-8942 and refer to booking #1170076.

Greece Island Hopper: August 26 - September 2

Greece Island Hopper

August 26-September 2, 2024

In Greece, discover a place where age-old legends and monuments intertwine with warm sunshine and island-style living. Tour Athens with a local guide. Explore the Acropolis, home to the famous Parthenon and the city’s best lookout. Enjoy three days at leisure on the island of Mykonos, an Aegean paradise of sandy beaches and bustling energy. Uncover the past at the excavation site of Akrotiri. Make the most of a free day on the picture-perfect island of Santorini. From to the ruins of Athens to the bright rooftops of Mykonos and Santorini – embrace the country at its best.

Highlights: Athens, Taverna Dinner Show, Acropolis, The Parthenon, Mykonos Old Town, Santorini Island, Oia Village, Ancient Akrotiri, Wine Tasting

For more information contact Collette at 1-800-581-8942, refer to booking #1169794.

California Dreamin’: October 16-26

California Dreamin’

October 16-26, 2024

This is the essence of Northern California, from fine wine and freshly caught seafood to vibrant cities and nature on an epic scale. Marvel at the unspoiled beauty of Yosemite National Park. Glide on the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe on a classic yacht. Sip local wines in Napa Valley and embrace the laid-back life of the Golden State.

Highlights: Monterey, Scenic 17-Mile Drive, Yosemite National Park, Sacramento, Choice on Tour, Lake Tahoe Scenic Cruise, Napa Valley Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting, San Francisco

For more information contact Collette at 1-800-581-8942, refer to booking #1192898.

Class Notes

Tarica Lamar ’00, ’02, ’21

Tarica has been named the principal at Millbrook Middle School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Education in 2000, a Master of Education in Childhood Education in 2002, and a Master of Education in Counseling Education in 2021… all from Auburn University at Montgomery.

Breanna Chess ’15, ’21

Breanna has been hired as Montgomery Academy’s Lower School Counselor. She is a National Board Certified Counselor, and a two-time graduate of AUM. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015 and her Master of Education with a concentration in School Counseling in 2021.

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