Box gift to provide for leading-edge transportation research at Auburn

AUBURN – Paul and Marilyn Box of Scottsdale, Ariz., recently endowed a grant from their estate to create a transportation research trust in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University. The trust will support research in the areas of traffic generation, parking facilities and accident field studies. Funding will also provide undergraduate and graduate fellowships for students in transportation-related areas.

Although not an Auburn alumnus, Paul had heard about the university’s transportation initiatives from a professional colleague and Auburn supporter, Jim Hunnicutt, and was impressed with its research potential.

“When Marilyn and I visited Auburn, we were more than satisfied with what we saw, including the curriculum, ROTC program and diversity initiatives,” said Paul, “so we decided to make our financial commitment here.”

Guidance for the trust is provided by a leadership and oversight committee, currently consisting of Robert Vecellio, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Auburn, and Martin Bretherton and Randall McCourt, both council chairs in the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

“The Paul and Marilyn Box Transportation Research Trust will provide numerous opportunities for research and instruction to students interested in the field of transportation,” said Larry Benefield, dean of the College of Engineering. “We appreciate the Box family’s recognition of the outstanding research in our Department of Civil Engineering, and we look forward to the new developments sure to come from this commitment.”

Paul has practiced traffic and transportation engineering for more than 50 years. He received a bachelors degree in civil engineering from Findlay Engineering College in Kansas City and a certificate in highway traffic from the Bureau of Highway Traffic at Yale University. After working for cities in Missouri and Illinois, he established the firm of Paul C. Box and Associates in 1966. Marilyn worked as secretary/treasurer for the company’s duration and was a significant contributor to the company’s success.

Working well into his 80s, Paul has authored more than 120 publications and served on more than 50 technical committees and task forces. He was a guest lecturer for 22 years at Northwestern University Traffic Institute and gave seminars at numerous other universities. His primary research interests include planning, design and operation of streets, highways and parking facilities, with a particular interest in safety.

The Boxes have advanced capital and operating funds to start the trust and invite any other contributors who share their interest in practical traffic engineering research to invest in the trust.

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 focus on facilities and equipment, campus beautification, research and current operations.
(Contributed by Sara Borchik.)
Contact: Sara Borchik, (334) 844-3591 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (