AUBURN UNIVERSITY – In its 20th year of recognizing people and partnerships that make significant and lasting contributions to people’s well-being locally and around the world, Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences honored Howard G. Buffett and Tim Cook at the annual International Quality of Life Awards on Tuesday, Dec. 10, in New York City.
Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, was this year’s International Quality of Life Award Laureate. He received the honor from actress and philanthropist Eva Longoria and Rwanda President Paul Kagame.
Cook, Apple’s CEO and a 1982 alumnus of Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from his friend, Don Logan, the former president and CEO of Time Inc. and a 1995 IQLA Laureate. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have brought distinguished recognition to Auburn University and/or the state of Alabama.
For the anniversary year, previous awardees were invited to attend the formal ceremony held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Attendees included Logan; Catherine Bertini, former executive director of the World Food Programme; and Alastair Summerlee, president of the University of Guelph.
Also in attendance were the inaugural group of Hunger Solutions Institute Fellows and the students who participated in this year’s International Quality of Life Awards/New York Study Tour. The tour, which was established in 2011, gives students in the College of Human Sciences the opportunity to visit some of New York’s main attractions, plus exclusive access to places like the New York Stock Exchange and the Sesame Street Workshop, which are not open to the public. The tour culminates with the gala at the U.N., which is also closed for public visits.
Buffett, the eldest son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, established his foundation to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations. He personally operates his own 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois and oversees three foundation-operated research farms in Arizona, Illinois and South Africa, working to improve production practices for smallholder farmers in developing countries in Latin America and Africa.
Buffett serves on the corporate boards of Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, Lindsay Corporation and Sloan Implement. He has traveled to more than 130 countries and authored eight books on conservation, wildlife and the human condition. His latest book, “40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World,” chronicles his efforts to combat hunger and poverty in the most difficult places on Earth.
At Apple, Cook has helped improve conditions for workers who make the company’s products and is overseeing a companywide effort to use 100 percent renewable energy at all Apple facilities. He has encouraged his co-workers to give to charitable organizations in their community and initiated a program at Apple to match employee donations. Apple has given millions of dollars to the American Red Cross to assist in disaster relief around the world. Apple is the largest corporate donor to (RED), providing $65 million to the fight against AIDS in Africa. (RED) was created in 2006 to help get businesses and people involved in the fight against AIDS.
In 2012, Cook was named a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year and topped Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list. Before being named CEO in August 2011, Cook was Apple’s chief operating officer and was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations. Cook earned an MBA from Duke University, where he was a Fuqua Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn.
More information and images relating to the 2013 International Quality of Life Awards can be found on the Auburn University website at http://ocm.auburn.edu/featured_story/iqla13.html.
(Written by Amy Weaver.)