George John “Doc” Cottier
Doc Cottier received a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1929, a master’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1930 and then returned to Auburn as an instructor. While maintaining a full teaching load, he continued his own education and in 1943 received a doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Instrumental in organizing Auburn’s Poultry Science Club, Cottier served many years as its advisor and was a member of numerous national and international organizations related to poultry science and veterinary medicine. In 1959, Cottier was awarded an honorary state farmer degree in recognition of his work with the FFA poultry judging teams. Cottier served as the faculty advisor of Sigma Phi Epsilon from 1938 until his death in 1989 and, in 1969, received the fraternity’s highest honor, the Order of the Golden Heart. In 1968, he was awarded the Poultry Science Association’s Ralston Purina Teaching Award. Former students described Cottier as a man who set an example and presented a challenge to his students.
Perhaps his greatest love was for those students at Auburn. He was legendary for his uncanny ability to learn every student’s name by the third day of class—and for remembering it for decades.
For more than 30 years, Cottier operated a small farm near campus with chickens and Jersey cows. It was on this farm that he originated floor ventilators for poultry houses, which became widely used in broiler houses across the Southeast. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Auburn, serving as deacon, elder, treasurer and trustee.
Doc Cottier married Lillie Freeman Hall in 1936. They had two children: Catherine Cottier Darby of Montgomery and John W. Cottier of Auburn.