Father and son lead College of Agriculture alumni and student groups
by MARY CATHERINE GASTON
If you spend much time on Ag Hill, you’ll hear mention of the “Auburn Ag Family.” It is true that College of Agriculture students, alumni, faculty and staff take pride in the familial feeling that characterizes our corner of campus. It is also common to meet a student who can boast of being the second or third generation of a family to study in the college.
But there may be just one family who can lay claim to the honor of father and son simultaneously serving as presidents of the college’s alumni association and student body. Meet Paul and Andrew Pinyan.
Paul, a 1988 graduate in animal and dairy sciences who went on to earn master’s and law degrees and is now executive director of the Alabama Farmers Federation, recently began a two-year term as president of the Auburn University Agricultural Alumni Association. Andrew, a senior majoring in agricultural economics, is currently serving as student body president.
Leadership in the College of Ag isn’t the only experience the two have in common. They began their paths to this point in similar ways—long before they set foot on the Plains as Auburn students.
For the elder Pinyan, his first visit to Auburn was to participate in the State 4-H Congress and Leadership Conference as a 14-year-old. He continued to visit campus for 4-H and FFA events throughout high school. At the same time, his parents’ involvement with the college’s livestock judging teams meant Auburn ag students frequently visited their Holly Pond farm. Those students made a positive impression on Paul, helping him make the choice to attend Auburn and study animal agriculture.
Andrew also took an interest in agriculture at an early age and became heavily involved in both 4-H and FFA as well as livestock judging and cattle showing.
“Once I started having success in these activities, it made me want to learn more about agriculture,” he says.
And according to his dad, Andrew’s commitment to those ag-related extracurriculars did not wane when the family relocated from the farm to the suburbs when Andrew was a teenager. The family rented a farm, and each morning, 16 year-old Andrew was up early, feeding his cows.
“Not many young people who are not living directly on the farm would be willing to take on that responsibility,” Paul says.
According to Andrew, it’s the sort of thing he learned from his dad.
“As long as I can remember, my dad has always been placed in leadership roles, and I have personally seen the extra effort and time that he has dedicated to his commitments,” Andrew says, adding that he has tried to be the same kind of leader his dad is.
The younger Pinyan has certainly had plenty of opportunities to hone his leadership skills during his years at Auburn. Like his dad, Andrew is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, which he has served as chairman of both recruitment and alumni relations. He has also chaired the fraternity’s annual Christmas Cattle Show for four years, an event that raises thousands of dollars for charities and brings youth from across the Southeast to Auburn’s campus every December.
While Andrew’s year in leadership is coming to a close, Paul’s term is just beginning, and he feels strongly about the goals he’s set for the next two years.
“I want to make sure we give alumni opportunities to get involved in the College of Ag,” he says.
Whether that is through mentoring students or reconnecting with former classmates and professors, connecting more alumni to the college is a priority for Paul.
As for Andrew, his goals are just as clear. When he graduates next spring, he will have a minor in accounting and plans to pursue a career in agricultural accounting.