Emory Cunningham was born March 17, 1921, in Kansas, Alabama. He graduated from Auburn University in 1948 with a B.S. degree in agriculture.
After graduating, Cunningham joined the Progressive Farmer Company in Birmingham. After setting advertising sales records in the company’s Chicago office, he returned to the Birmingham office in 1956 as assistant advertising manager of “The Progressive Farmer” magazine. He progressed through the ranks of the company, now Southern Progress Corporation, and was named president and chief executive officer in 1968 and chairman of the board in 1984.
Cunningham has been president of the Agricultural Publishers Association, trustee of the Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, director of the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, and a member of the School of Agriculture advisory committee at Auburn University. In 1985, he was appointed as a trustee of Auburn University.
Cunningham’s performance in business and civic affairs has brought him numerous honors including 1975 Man of the Year in Service to Alabama Agriculture by the Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, Magazine Publisher of the Year for 1975 by the Magazine Publishers Association, and 1978 Communicator of the Year Award by Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Cunningham is married to the former Jeanne Loftis of Kennedy. They have four children: James, David, Sara, and Mary.