Historian and AU alumna Atkins elected to Alabama Academy of Honor

AUBURN – The Alabama Academy of Honor has elected Birmingham native and Auburn University alumna Leah Rawls Atkins as one of four new members for 2007.

AU professor emeritus of history Wayne Flynt, who nominated Atkins for membership in the Academy, paid tribute to her contributions and achievements as an educator, historian and world-class athlete. Flynt cites her work in establishing the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities in AU’s College of Liberal Arts as her greatest contribution to the state.
Atkins holds a Ph.D. in history from Auburn and taught history for almost three decades at Auburn and Samford Universities. She also received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from AU’s College of Liberal Arts.

She is a co-author of the award-winning “Alabama: The History of a Deep South State” and won the 2007 James F. Sulzby Award from the Alabama Historical Association for “Developed for the Service of Alabama,” a history of the Alabama Power Company.

Atkins was Alabama’s first world’s water skiing champion, establishing records and winning championships both nationally and internationally, and she was the first woman inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

“Leah is a vital contributor to the College of Liberal Arts and the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Anne-Katrin Gramberg. “She embodies the Alabama spirit and is dedicated to preserving and sharing its history. She is a beloved educator, friend and world-renowned athlete and it is only fitting that she received this well-deserved and prestigious honor.”

The Alabama state legislature created the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1965 to honor living Alabamians for their outstanding accomplishments and services.

Also elected as members of the Academy for 2007 are baseball Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron; chairman and CEO of the engineering, construction and maintenance services company BE&K, T. Michael Goodrich; and philanthropist and former Harco drugstore founder, James Irving Harrison Jr. A public induction ceremony will be held August 20 in the old House chambers of the Alabama Capitol.

In a program funded by the Alabama Power Foundation and administered by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities, Atkins travels the state to talk about the history of the Alabama Power Company. For information, go to http://www.auburn.edu/academic/liberal_arts/cah/events.htm.

Contact: Victoria Santos, (334) 844-7186 (santovr@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)