Warhawk Weekly 12–10: Fall commencement speaker; Alumni medallion; Homecoming designs


Auburn University at Montgomery will celebrate the achievements of more than 400 students – 359 fall graduates and 72 summer semester graduates – during commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

The ceremonies will take place at the AUM Athletics Complex. Commencement for graduates of the Colleges of Education, Nursing and Health Sciences, and Sciences, will begin at 10 a.m. The graduation ceremony for Colleges of Business and Liberal Arts and Social Sciences will begin at 2 p.m.

The Fall 2019 commencement speaker will be groundbreaking entrepreneur Larry Thornton, the owner and president of Thornton Enterprises, Inc., a McDonald’s franchisee. Thornton was recently recognized as the Birmingham Business-Journal’s 2019 CEO of the Year for companies with 100-159 employees.

Throughout his life, Thornton has been a groundbreaker. He was the first African-American to serve on the board of directors for Coca-Cola Bottling Company United and was the first to own a McDonald’s franchise in Birmingham. After graduating from Alabama State University, he taught at Vestavia Hills High School before joining Birmingham Coca-Cola, where he rose to the ranks of advertising director and director of business development after beginning with a $5-an-hour job painting signs.

He has earned the Moss A. Hendrix Award, a national honor presented by Coca-Cola USA for outstanding community relations. Thornton also has served in leadership roles for the Kiwanis Club and United Negro College Fund. In April 2019, he published his first book, “Why Not Win?,” a reflection on his 50-year journey from the Jim Crow South to corporate boardrooms.

Learn more about live streaming, overflow seating, accessibility, photos and more at:

The Office of Alumni Affairs recently launched a class gift program. Graduating students who make a gift of $20.19 or more to AUM will receive a medallion to wear during the commencement ceremony. For more information, visit

We need YOU! Your creativity. Your vision. Your imprint. Your design.

In honor of Auburn University at Montgomery’s 50 years of serving students, we are asking our students to leave their mark on our homecoming T-shirt design. That’s right; not only will you choose this year’s shirt, we want you to submit your own artwork or design for it.

This year’s theme is “50 Years of Serving Students,” and we would love to see what AUM means to you. The top three designs will be selected, and from there, students will have the chance to vote on their favorite through My AUM.

Winners will receive a gift, in addition to their design being used as the shirt design for AUM’s golden anniversary, and will be recognized at the time capsule burial on Feb. 27, as well as halftime of the men’s homecoming game on Feb. 29. A t-shirt with the design will also be added to the capsule for future generations to see.

Are you interested? You can submit your artwork to [email protected] by January 20, 2020, with your name, year, AUM ID number, and major. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Students attending AUM in spring 2020 can start paying toward their spring semester balance by enrolling in a payment plan. Payment plans for the Spring 2020 semester are now open. For more information, visit

Department of Mathematics and Computer Science faculty member Lei Wu offered his students an opportunity to exercise the lessons learned in his classroom and engage in some friendly competition in the process.

The students engaged in projects aimed at developing versions of hybrid technology to power a bicycle – and save the rider from having to rely on pedal power.

AUM Athletics offered students a break from final exam preparations last week with laser tag on the Quad. Director of Athletics Jessie Rosa said the event offered an opportunity for coaches and student-athletes to say “thank you” to the student body for their support of the Warhawks transition to NCAA Division II.


The end of the semester is here. Student final exams are December 9–11. Campus offices will close Dec. 20 at 5 p.m. and will re-open January 6 at 8 a.m.

Any student currently enrolled at AUM may submit his or her work as an attached file (.txt, .doc. or .docx) to [email protected]. Students should title their file using the following pattern: Last Name_Title of Story_Genre. Written work should be in Times New Roman, 12-point font and double-spaced. Files containing photographs or scanned artwork (.png, .jpeg. or .bmp) should be at least 300 PPI.

There is no limit on the number of submissions per student. The deadline for submissions is December 31. For more information, please email the editor for the 2020 issue, Erin Terrell.

Considering this is the time of year where people give the most, the Department of Athletics wants to make sure that no one ends up on the NCAA’s naughty list for trying to do something nice. Here are a few friendly reminders.

Extra Benefits: According to NCAA rules, an extra benefit is any special arrangement by an institutional employee, or a representative of the institution’s athletics interests, to provide a student-athlete, or a prospective student-athlete, or their friend or family member, a benefit not also available to the general student population, or a particular segment of the student body.

  • Holiday presents/gifts
  • Money, loans, bonds, or co-signing of loans
  • Free transportation (use of a car, boat, airline tickets, bus tickets, etc.)
  • Free storage
  • Free merchandise (clothes, video games, etc.)
  • Free entertainment (sporting events, movies, concerts, nightclubs, etc.)
  • Free lodging (hotel rooms, staying at apartment/house, etc.)
  • Free meals
  • Discounted merchandise because of status
  • Free use of a credit card, calling card, etc.

Holiday Gifts: It is impermissible to provide holiday gifts to student-athletes or their relatives. Please remember that holidays are not exempt from the NCAA’s extra-benefit bylaws.

Occasional Meals: Occasional meal rules apply to team holiday parties, as well as any AUM faculty and staff member or parents who wishes to provide a student-athlete, or an entire team, with a holiday meal. Be sure to complete an Occasional Meal Form, submit it to the Athletics Compliance Office and get approval before any such meal occurs.