Women’s Philanthropy Board Fall Luncheon to kick off yearlong commemoration of 50 Years of Integration at Auburn University

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The Auburn University Women’s Philanthropy Board 2013 Fall Colloquium, Expo and Luncheon will be held Friday, Oct. 4, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, beginning with a business and professions expo at 9 a.m. Speakers for the event are actor and author Thom Gossom Jr. ’75 and his wife, educator and entrepreneur joyce gillie gossom, and Marybeth Gasman, professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

The event officially kicks off a year of university-wide programs celebrating the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Integration at Auburn University.

The free, public colloquium titled, “Sustaining Legacies, Advancing Philanthropy,” will be led by Gasman from 10-11 a.m. in the hotel auditorium. She serves as the director of the Center on Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise include African-American leadership, fundraising and philanthropy.

The Gossoms’ luncheon presentation, “Once Upon a Time…,” will draw from their individual experiences with integration and their hopes for the future.

“The Women’s Philanthropy Board is honored to be part of recognizing such an important milestone in the history of Auburn University,” said June Henton, dean of the College of Human Sciences. “Philanthropy served as an important catalyst in the integration of institutions of higher education. It continues to serve an important role in increasing diversity among the student population through scholarship programs like Auburn’s Provost Leadership Undergraduate Scholarship initiative.”

Tickets for the noon luncheon are required and can be purchased by calling the WPB office at (334) 844-9156 or by visiting www.humsci.auburn.edu/wpb. Individual tickets are $65 and reserved tables of 10 are available in the following price structure: Gold Table, $800; Platinum Table, $1,000; and Diamond Table, $1,200.

Thom Gossom received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Auburn where he was the first African-American walk-on football player and the first African-American athlete to graduate from the university. He has worked in theatre, television and film and founded Best Gurl, inc., a company which creates, produces and distributes entertainment and corporate communications programs. Gossom shared his story in his memoir, “Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University,” which will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

joyce gillie gossom has more than 30 years of experience working as a special education teacher, management consultant and instructional designer and supervisor in the nuclear industry. She currently serves as executive director for a higher education professional association and as a Fort Walton Beach City Council member.

For more information about Auburn University’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of integration at Auburn University, go to http://wp.auburn.edu/diversity or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fiftyyearsdiversity2013.

The Women’s Philanthropy Board, the flagship division of the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, was established in 2002 with the mission of inspiring, educating and enabling women to: develop their full leadership potential; achieve independence as financial donors and decision-makers; serve as mentors for future generations of philanthropists; and, broaden the base of financial support for the College of Human Sciences.

Women’s Philanthropy Board corporate partners and grantors provide funds to assist in underwriting its educational events. Partners include: Alabama Power, Auburn University Outreach, BB&T, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Charlotte Gaston Interiors, Dubberly, Dean & Associates – UBS, The Flower Store, The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, Kiplinger, Mary Wynne Estes – Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Verizon and Warren Averett Wilson Price LLC.

Contact: Sidney James Nahkjavan, College of Human Sciences, (334) 844-9199 (jamessp@auburn.edu), or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)