Jay McCurdy (PhD agronomy and soils ’13) has been named recipient of the Crop Science Society of America’s 2017 Early Career Award for making significant contributions to the field within seven years of completing a final academic degree. He is an assistant professor of plant and soil sciences and extension turfgrass specialist at Mississippi State University.
Daniel O’Brien (BS agronomy and soils ’13), now a University of Arkansas graduate student working toward his master’s in horticulture with a concentration in turfgrass management, was among 18 recipients nationwide of the 2017 Future Leaders in Science Award from the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America.
Gregory Whitis (MAquaculture ’83) is an Alabama Cooperative Extension System aquaculturist at the Alabama Fish Farming Center in Greensboro and has been with extension since 1987. He has an all-Auburn family, as sons Andrew and Jason, both Auburn alumni, recently married Auburn alums Jordan Smith and Kristy Pilkerton, respectively.
John “Eric” Hataway (BS ag science ’99) has joined Cornerstone Insurance Group in Blakely, Georgia, as the new agribusiness insurance account manager, covering Alabama and Georgia. He and his wife, Kaye Lynn, have relocated to the Dothan area with their three children, Macy, Baker and Tate.
Cary Murchison Phillips (BS animal sciences ’70), DVM, is a veterinarian in practice with her husband, Auburn alum Rusty Phillips, at Phillips-Dunn Animal Hospital in Montgomery. They have two daughters, Cary Phillips Dunn, MD, and Martha Phillips George, MD, and three grandchildren.
Jonathan Edelson (MS entomology ’78, PhD ’82) and wife Karen Maxey Edelson (BS zoology ’80, MS ’82) moved from Stillwater, Oklahoma, to Demopolis in 2016, two years after his retirement from Oklahoma State University as professor emeritus. He also had served as a faculty member at Texas A&M University earlier in his career. The Edelsons have two daughters, Erica and Catie.
Sarah Stephenson Wilborn (BS poultry science ’15) has joined the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit American Humane as strategic alliances manager. In that role, she is responsible for connecting farmers, ranchers and retailers with the organization’s farm animal certification programs.
Kersten Beaver Johnson (BS animal sciences ’97, MAg animal behavior ’99) completed her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Auburn in 2003 and is now a diplomate of veterinary internal medicine in animal neurology at Florida Veterinary Neurology in North Palm Beach. She and husband Eric have a son, Connor.
Jeff McManus (BS horticulture ’88) released his second book, “Growing Weeders into Leaders: Leadership Lessons from the Ground Level,” in early 2017. He is the award-winning director of landscape services and airport and golf services at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and is a national speaker and consultant on leadership development. He and wife Suzanne have four sons, Nathan, Josh, Mark and Samuel, who is a current Auburn student.
Andrew Thompson (BS poultry science ’13) is a field technician for Cobb-Vantress in Somerset, Kentucky. Wife Maggie Lawson Thompson (BS poultry science ’13) is enrolled in the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine and is president of the class of 2018. The Thompsons are the “parents” of five dogs.
Dean Neptune (BS horticulture ’66), who was awarded his PhD in physiology and biochemistry from Auburn in ’69, is retired as president of Neptune and Company Inc., a national environmental consulting firm that he founded in 1992 and that is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. He and wife Joan now live in Auburn.
Stephen Wood (BS agronomy and soils ’79) has returned to his native Coffee County as superintendent of the Enterprise Country Club golf course. He specialized in turfgrass management at Auburn and has worked in many aspects of the field in Alabama, in Florida and in Texas, where he headed the grounds program at Texas A&M’s main campus and 16 satellite campuses.
Michael Soutullo (BS biosystems engineering ’80) is vice president of space products and technology with ViaLight Communications and works in Munich, Germany, where he leads a team in developing of a third-generation optical laser communication design suitable for deployment in space. He joined ViaLight after having worked the previous 33 years in the NASA environment at Teledyne Brown Engineering in Huntsville. When home in Huntsville, he enjoys time with wife Becky, children Christa and Mark and grandsons Caelan and Gavin.
Dan Hicks (BS ag business and economics ’90), a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, lives in Auburn with wife Kristen and is employed by White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, as a project manager responsible for designing and implementing a perishable-goods inventory management system. White Oak is a multigenerational family farm that produces grass-fed beef and lamb, pastured poultry and eggs and certified organic vegetables.
Fred Moultrie (BS ag science ’48, MS poultry genetics ’49) earned his doctorate from Kansas State University in 1951, served on the animal sciences faculty at Auburn for the next four years and then went on to enjoy success as a poultry geneticist, researcher and industry executive in a career that spanned six decades and five continents. He retired in 2003 at age 80 and now lives in Salisbury, Maryland.
Emily Wilson (BS ’11, horticulture) has a new position as right-of-way maintenance-and-appearance manager for Canton, North Carolina, and in that role is heading the city’s beautification effort. She assumed the job after five years as lead gardener and then head rosarian at Biltmore Estates, located 20 miles east of Canton.
Joe Cordray (MS ’76, PhD ’83, animal sciences) of Ames, Iowa, was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in January. He joined the Iowa State University faculty in 1995 and serves as professor, extension meat specialist and professor-in-charge of the university’s meat laboratory.
(BS ’10, animal sciences, equine option) and husband Peter live in Auburn, where she is a second-year student in the College of Veterinary Medicine and he is pursuing a doctorate in history. Before returning to Auburn for vet school, the Jacksonville native worked at Walt Disney World and at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The couple married June 11.
(MS ’16, agronomy and soils) and wife Kayla live in Atlanta, where he is an intellectual property attorney at Burrus Intellectual Property Law Group. “It was a real honor to be one of—or maybe the—first graduates from the distance program this May. I’m proud to be an Auburn alum. War Eagle!”
(BS ’08, ag business and economics; MS ’09, ag economics) and wife Rachel (BS ‘ 06, ag business and economics; MS ’08, ag economics) live in Montgomery. He recently earned his juris doctorate, magna cum laude, from the University of Alabama School of Law and accepted a job as an associate attorney at Webster, Henry, Lyons, Bradwell, Cohan & Speagle P.C. in Montgomery. The couple has two children: Martha and James.
(BS ’07, MS ’10, agronomy and soils) and husband Colin (BS ’10, ag business and economics) live in Troy, where she works with the farm loan programs at the USDA Farm Service Agency and he is store manager at Coffee County Farmers Co-op. The two met their senior year at Auburn and have been married five years. “We have been blessed with two little tigers—Virginia, age 3, and Everett Colin, born Feb. 17. They may be our third generation of Auburn Ag alumni.”
(BS ’03, ag business and economics) lives in Athens and is owner and managing partner of row crop operations at McMullen Partners, a 500-acre Limestone County farm she and husband Michael established in 2008. “This year will be our eighth crop, and thanks to the good Lord above, a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work, this woman-operated farm is here to stay. War Eagle!”
(BS ’09, ag communications) of Marion began a position June 13 as an Alabama Cooperative Extension System regional extension agent in the area of 4-H youth development, serving Hale and Tuscaloosa counties. She previously worked with Louisiana and Mississippi Extension Services for six years.
(BS ’05, animal sciences) of Sturgis, Kentucky, is a veterinarian at Stone Veterinary Clinic. She and husband Caleb have two children: Kensley and Selah. “We welcomed our second daughter into the world May 26. Big sister Kensley couldn’t be more proud and loves helping to take care of her little sister.”
(BS ’09, ag business and economics) lives in Opelika with her husband, Russell, and is a pharmaceutical sales representative for Allergen. She was recently selected as one of two Sigma Alpha alumnae from across the nation to serve as a leadership seminar facilitator for the annual Alpha Gamma Rho/Sigma Alpha Leadership Seminars. She presented workshops on personal branding and delegation and taught 700-plus AGR and SA students through the seminar.
(BS ’96, ag business and economics) lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a workforce leader at Dow AgroSciences. In his job, he works with colleges of agriculture across the country. “These experiences have given me the perspective to recognize that there are a lot of great things happening at the College of Agriculture at Auburn University.” He just completed his first year on the Auburn Agricultural Alumni Association Board. He and wife Adriana have two children: Grayson, 9, and Garrett, 7.
BS ’80, horticulture) of Arlington, Virginia, is an extension agent with Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia Tech University, providing leadership for the agriculture natural resources programs of Arlington County and the City of Alexandria. She has three children: Thomas, James and Meghan.
(BS ’77, MS ’79, ag business and economics) of Fosters in Tuscaloosa County is owner of Bobby Hemphill Farms and a racquetball instructor. She is widowed and has a son, Robert, who is a sophomore in agricultural business and economics at Auburn “after being indoctrinated an Alabama fan. Living is Tuscaloosa County is tough!” She also has a “new” puppy, a German shepherd, that is working to become a therapy dog.
(BS ’62, agriculture; MS ’65, agronomy and soils) of Auburn is retired from a long career as a professor and administrator in Auburn’s College of Agriculture, where he served as dean of the college and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Southeast Region of the National Association of Conservation Districts’ Hall of Fame. He and wife Kay have three daughters—Kathy, Ann and Luci—and three grandchildren: Anna Kate, Will and Reese.
(BS ’61, ag education; MS ’63 ag economics) of Montgomery is retired from his positions as dean of Troy University’s College of Business and as Alabama’s superintendent of banks. He and his wife, Seretha, have three children: Susan, Matthew and Amanda. Their granddaughter, Rachel Jones, started at Auburn fall semester as a third-generation student.
(BS ’43, agricultural science) of Vernon had a long career as a soil scientist with USDA’s Soil Conservation Service. He also served in the Army during WWII and the Korean War and retired from the Army at the rank of colonel. The 93-year-old and his wife, Anna, have three children: Glenn, Bill and Theolyn.
(BS ’12, animal sciences), of Opelika, Ala., is a laboratory animal technician for the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. She and her husband, Justin, were married in August 2015 and have “only fur babies currently: 4 basset hounds, a dachshund mix and a pinball.”
(BS ’10, agricultural business and economics), of Apopka, Fla., is a blueberry farmer at Southern Hill Farms, a business he started in central Florida following his graduation from Auburn. The business recently started a packing and marketing operation of fresh blueberries worldwide. Hill and his wife, Brooke, have two children: David Michael and Claire Marie.
(BS ’09, animal sciences) of Thomaston, Ga., graduated from nursing school at Georgia Southwestern University in May 2013 and is now a registered nurse. She and her husband, Josh, were married in June 2014 and are now “building a farmhouse on our new 35 acre farm here in Thomaston. No children yet, just our sweet Springer, Strait; our loyal mutt, Latch; Mr. Fred, our newest kitty; and our new 17.2 warm blood, Basco. Plus 9 other four-legged children and 9 sweet chickens.”
(BS ’09, horticulture), of Nassau, Bahamas, is a horticulture teacher for the Bahamas Ministry of Education. She has started a farm, selling sprouts, microgreens, root crops and leafy greens, and processes yogurt from local fruits. She makes presentations at local health fairs. She and her husband, Basil Miller Jr., have a son, Basil Miller III.
(BS ’06, agricultural communications) works for Osborn+Barr Communications in Kansas City, Mo. She is engaged to Darrell Krueger, a 2005 and 2007 graduate of Auburn’s College of Engineering. “We live in Lawrence, Kansas, home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks. They may know a thing or two about basketball but they certainly don’t know football quite like we do in the Loveliest Village on the Plains! WAR EAGLE!”
(BS ’97, agricultural business and economics) of Hoover, Ala., was recently promoted as a senior director of sales for Frito Lay, leading the company’s customer strategy in Alabama, Mississippi and portions of Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. She had previously served as a senior sales director for Frito Lay in north Texas and Oklahoma. She and her husband, Gerry, and son, Gabriel, moved to Hoover in January.
(BS ’91, agricultural business and economics), of New Brockton, Ala., serves in the U.S. Army as the Command Inspector General for Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command at Redstone Arsenal. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Preston, Grant and Ryan.
(BS ’87, animal sciences), of Mobile, went on to earn a degree from Auburn’s School of Pharmacy following his graduation from the College of Agriculture. He is now a pharmacist and owner of Conwell’s Pharmacy in Theodore, part of the Fowl River Community close to Dauphin Island. “My fondest memories of Auburn were from my days in the College of Agriculture. … It was a great academic experience!”
(BS ’84, crop and soil sciences), of Greenwood, Miss., is a branch manager for Helena Chemical Company. He has been with Helena for five years. He joined the company after retiring as a sales representative for Syngenta Crop Protection, where he spent 25 years. Howell and his wife, Karen, have two children: Haley and Austin.
(PhD ’83, fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic sciences), of Lagos, Nigeria, is now retired and running NiWARD (Nigerian Women in Agricultural Research for Development), a program focused on transforming the rural agricultural sector of Nigeria. She and her husband, Major General O.I. Williams, have three children: Olajumoke, Olawale and Olabukunola.
(BS ’83, animal sciences), of Birmingham, is a veterinarian at Caldwell Mill Animal Clinic, where he recently celebrated 25 years as an owner/partner. He and his wife, Kim, have eight children: Wilson, Boyd, Steele, Elise, Selah, Kai, Poppi and Johnny. They also have one grandchildren and a second one on the way.
(BS ’82, animal sciences), of Clay, Ala., is a veterinarian at Clay Chalkville Animal Clinic. He serves on the Auburn Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Advisory Council. He and his wife, Lori, have four children: Payton Bowling, Heather Guilbert, Zack and Chaz.
(BS ’81, agricultural business and economics), of Cullman, Ala., is manager of transportation and safety for Central Garden & Pet Company. After Crest’s graduation from Auburn, Dr. Lowell Wilson, a faculty member in the College of Agriculture, put him in contact with Pennington Seed Inc. in Cullman. “I went to work with them in June of ’82 and I have worked there ever since then. Pennington Seed is now owned by Central Garden & Pet. I have had a long and happy career in an ag-related business and plan to work many more years before retiring. I am thankful for my Auburn education and the continued care as was shown by Dr. Wilson in helping me find a great career opportunity. War Eagle!”
(BS ’80, horticulture), of Huntsville, is owner of Classic Landscapes Inc. and The Greenery. Classic Landscapes is celebrating its 30th year. He and his wife, Becky, have two sons: David and Phillip. “Both of our sons are attending Auburn University. The oldest is a senior in Political Science and the youngest is a sophomore in Building Science. My wife attended the University of Alabama but has converted to an Auburn fan.”
(BS ’79, animal sciences), of Tifton, Ga., has served as executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission for nearly 30 years. He was recently re-appointed to a seventh term on the Technical Advisory Committee for Trade and was elected to chair the committee for a second term. He and his wife, Cheryl, have two sons (one deceased), two daughters-in-law and three grandsons.
(BS ’70, agricultural business and economics), of Eclectic, Ala., retired in 2010 after serving 37 years with USDA Rural Development. He held a number of positions, including county supervisor, assistant district director, district director, state housing specialist, state business specialist, state community facilities program director and state multi-family housing program director. He and his wife, Catherine, have two children: Mary Haden and Joseph.
(PhD ’69, crop and soil sciences), of Marcellus, N.Y., retired as dean of research for the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He had previously taught at the University of Kentucky and the University of Minnesota. He and his wife, Connie, have three children: Cory, Derek and Marcy.
(BS ’66, agricultural sciences; MS ’68, entomology), of St. Augstine, Fla., has spent his “entire career in St. Johns County and St. Augustine, Fla., the potato capital of Florida.” He is a book collector and seller, has six grandchildren and owns his family farm in Jackson County, Ala., growing timber and row crops. He will be a Golden Eagle this year. “My years at Auburn were great, especially the years I lived in the Alpha Gamma Rho house.”
(BS ’57, biosystems engineering), of Raleigh, N.C., retired in 2010 after selling his company, a designer and supplier of portable laboratories for use in working with hazardous products and diseases. He had previously helped form a company to sell air filtration products, after serving as an area manager in the agricultural division of Monsanto Chemical Company. Following his graduation from Auburn, Grantham served four years in the U.S. Navy while earning an MS degree from Renssalear Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He and his wife, Rosa, have three children: Debra Jean, Kia Lynn and James.
(BS ’47, crop and soil sciences), of Montgomery, retired as president of the Alabama Division of First South Production Credit Association. He and his wife, Betty (deceased), had a son (deceased); three daughters, Gayle Horner, Sarah Ivie and Donna Robbins; two granddaughters; and 10 great grandchildren.
(BS ’14, animal science) and his wife, Hannah, were married in May 2014, the same month he graduated. “Let’s just say, it was a busy month. Currently, we reside in Auburn, but have plans to pursue Christian Camp Ministry opportunities once Hannah graduates. Auburn has always been home to us, but we feel called to move on to something new.”
(BS ’09, horticulture) started her own business in backyard farming, utilizing planters and available space. “Today the business has exceeded my expectation. Presently I am starting to cultivate 2.76 acres to expand the production. I grow sprouts, microgreens, leafy greens and a variety of seasonal tropical fruits.”
(’03, animal sciences) completed a master’s degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham following her graduation from Auburn. She worked for several years in a research lab studying noninvasive imaging techniques and was then recruited to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, where she currently serves as associate director. “I am so happy to be using the amazing knowledge and experience I gained in the AU animal sciences program to help further medical and veterinary research. Outside of work, you can usually find me experimenting in the kitchen or on the local trail or footpath as I train for my first marathon.”
(MS ’94, poultry science) is a clinical dietician for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. “Great to see updates with the poultry science department! My master’s degree is of great value to me. Even in working as a clinical dietician, the knowledge and experience I received gives me an advantage in understanding the food industry and how it relates to nutrition. Thank you, Auburn poultry science and College of Agriculture! May you continue to develop those who go and change the world.”
(BS ’84, horticulture) has been grounds superintendent for Darton College in Albany, Georgia, for 25 years. He is also a minister, serving as pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Sylvester, Georgia. Dan is active in shooting. His team won first place in the Ruth’s Cottage Annual Sporting Clays Tournament this spring. He is still active in weight lifting, winning several bench-press competitions at Darton College in the last few years. He is “usually competing against much young men, as these competitions are open to all faculty, staff and students.”
(BS ’82, MAg ’95, animal sciences) was promoted to senior public service professional at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in 2014. He lives in Madison, Georgia., with his wife, Laura, but still makes regular visits to the Plains to see his two grandsons and soon-to-be granddaughter.
(MS ’80, fisheries and allied aquacultures) worked 12 years for the University of Arizona’s Department of Veterinary Sciences and seven years for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. He retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Programs after 14 years.
(BS ’79, horticulture) recently began her current job as an administrative assistant for United Way of Athens-Limestone County. “Most recently, I was a store manager for Tractor Supply Co. for five years, following years as a department manager at McDonald Garden Center in Virginia. I made the career change to get out of the retail world.”
(BS ’79, agronomy and soils) went on to earn his MS in agronomy from Oklahoma State University in 1981 and his PhD in crop science from Louisiana State University in 1985. He was on the faculty at the University of Georgia as professor and extension peanut agronomist from 1985 until his retirement in 2014. He joined the Auburn University faculty as professor and head of the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences in January 2014.
(BS ’78, horticulture) recently retired from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama after 33 years. He and his wife, Judy, have moved to Auburn and are “looking forward to living on the Plains once again. Our youngest son, Jared, just graduated with a BS from the College of Agriculture.”
(BS ’77, animal sciences) is owner of Double Oak Veterinary Medical Center in Double Oak, Texas, an exclusive small-animal American Animal Hospital Association practice. He lives in the north part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and enjoys driving to northern New Mexico to relax. “Still a fanatic Auburn fan. It only takes a second to bring unimaginable joy.”
(BS ’75, horticulture) spent two years in landscape maintenance in Dallas, then went to work leasing one of the properties she landscaped. She has worked in real estate since 1981 and owned her own company since 1986. Her oldest daughter attended Auburn University and graduated in 2009, “so we have made it back to Auburn many times from Texas.”
(BS ’74, agricultural business and economics) is now retired from agricultural industry consulting management. “My degree in agriculture from Auburn University has been very good to me through the years. I have had a successful career and am now enjoying retirement on my family heritage farm established in 1875 in Goshen. War Eagle!”
MS ’73, fisheries and allied aquacultures) retired as director of Auburn’s E.W. Shell Fisheries Center in 2011 and bought a second home in Monteagle, Tennessee, “near where we grew up. Spending most of my time teaching Bible and mowing grass! Back and forth between Auburn and Monteagle a lot.”
(BS ’72, agronomy and soils) retired from Auburn’s Department of Agronomy and Soils in July 2013. He is now in his fifth year of a gardening program for adjudicated adolescent males at the Alabama Department of Youth Services. The program, administered through Auburn’s Department of Psychology, “is positively changing the lives of most that become a part of the program. Students respond positively to learning and working in the garden.” John and wife Deb are enjoying retired life on Lake Martin.
(BS ’70, agricultural business and economics) retired from the Alabama Farmers Federation in 2010. He and his wife, Linda, have since enjoyed spending more time with their family and the Auburn family. They have moved to Lake Martin, where they have built a new home, and they travel to all Auburn games in their motorhome. “Being only 25 minutes from Auburn enables us to stay involved in various activities at Auburn. A priority has been to spend as much time as possible with our four grandsons.”
(BS ’69, agricultural business and economics; MS ’73, agricultural economics) retired from USDA’s Risk Management Agency in 2006 and now spends most of his time with his children and grandchildren. He, wife Judy and grandson Garrett Long recently sold their house in Raleigh, North Carolina, and moved to their new home near Albertville. “Garrett is a home-schooled student. For many months and much time to come, we have been or are being consumed by house selling, house buying, moving and getting the new place arranged.”
(’65, horticulture) became an ordained minister after working in the field of horticulture for many years. She entered ministry in 1981 and retired in 2008. “I am again serving as an associate pastor and plan on re-retiring at the end of 2015. My husband, Don, and I love being grandparents to our grandson, Ace, who is 8 years old."
(BS ’59, agricultural education; MS ’72, agronomy and soils) is retired as director emeritus for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. He is enjoying retirement through participation in OLLI, the Auburn Lions Club, teaching Sunday school, chapter advising for the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, gardening and numerous other activities.
(BS ’57, MA ’59, agricultural education) is now retired after a successful career in research and development with Rhone-Poulenc Ag Company. “My degrees from Auburn University have served me well throughout my career, and I have been blessed for having had this opportunity.”
(BS ’57, agriculture; MS ’58, agricultural business and economics) recently published “Born Rich … in a Time That Is Gone Forever!” The book is Lee’s personal story of growing up in rural Alabama during the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war years of the 1940s. “Born Rich” is available as an iBook or eBook or by contacting Lee at email@example.com.
(BS ’47, agricultural science) enrolled at Auburn in 1941, then served in the U.S. Army 1942-45. He received a medical discharge due to frostbite and severe trench foot in Germany in 1944. He married Betty Brown Sept. 30, 1945. They were married 65 years – until her death in 2010. They had a son, who is now deceased, and three daughters. He was inducted into the Alabama Agricultural Hall of Honor in 1999.
(BS ’10, agricultural business and economics) and her husband, Chad, were married in March 2014 after meeting in graduate school at Texas A&M University. They returned to Auburn in November 2014 with Lauren’s new role as academic advisor in the College of Agriculture. “We are expecting our first child in December 2015, and I’m secretly hoping its first words will be War Eagle.”