North Alabama alumni create AU scholarships

AUBURN – Auburn University alumni of Madison, Morgan and Limestone Counties have created scholarships totaling over $500, 000 to benefit AU students from the Huntsville area beginning this fall.

Donors from Madison County are Julian and Dorothy Davidson, David and Donna Lehman, Jesse and Carole May, Tim and Paula Steigerwald and Steve Wilson and his sister Wendy Wilson. Morgan County residents contributing to this effort include Randy and Nancy Campbell, Tim and Shannon Douthit, Dr. Lloyd and Sandy Nix and Frank and Virginia Stewart. Limestone County donors include Gary and Sherri Gross, Jerry and Marilyn Batts and Mark and Mindy Jackson. All of the donors have been active in contributing to the current fundraising campaign, “It Begins at Auburn,” in both giving and committee support.

Wendy Wilson graduated from AU in 1988 in accounting and said that Auburn was critical to her success. “My accounting degree from Auburn enabled me to get what I considered a ‘premier’ job out of school and laid the groundwork for a successful career in business,” said Wilson.

Wilson described her strong ties to Auburn. Just before she graduated from AU in 1988, she met John Gilino, an engineering student. Gilano joined Wilson in Huntsville and remained a dear companion to her until his untimely death in 2002. While participating in the Auburn campaign, Wilson created a scholarship to honor her mother and a memorial scholarship to honor Gilano.

“I hope John’s memorial scholarship allows a student from Madison County that may have a financial need to have the opportunity to experience Auburn and all that is has to offer both academically and socially,” said Wilson.

“Scholarships are a central factor in encouraging university growth, as well as a lasting way to support regional students as they enter Auburn,” said Bob McGinnis, vice president for development. “The generosity of Auburn’s dedicated alumni continues to help our university thrive. Scholarships are one important way for the Auburn family to support that endeavor by building the best educational foundation possible for our future scholars and leaders.”

McGinnis said that scholarships for north Alabama area students will encourage and help to sustain state growth in both education and future economic progress.

The “It Begins at Auburn” Campaign encompasses all colleges and schools as well as the AU libraries and museums, athletics and Auburn University Montgomery. Endowments for student scholarships, faculty, programs and unrestricted dollars make up 58 percent of the campaign’s goal. In addition to endowments, the campaign will also focus on facilities and equipment; campus beautification; research; and current operations. The campaign has raised more than $480 million, or 96 percent of the goal.

(Contributed by Katharyn Privett.)

Contact: Kristen Jackson, (334) 844-3224 (, or
Mike Clardy (334) 844-9999 (