‘Honoring the Past, Charting the Future’ luncheon and forum to celebrate integration at Auburn University

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – As part of Auburn’s yearlong celebration of 50 years of integration, the “Honoring the Past, Charting the Future” Commemoration and Recognition Luncheon and Forum will be held Tuesday, Jan. 21, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The 11:45 a.m. luncheon is a ticketed event and will feature author, educator and poet Frank X. Walker as the keynote speaker. Walker is the founder of Affrilachian Poets and has lectured, conducted workshops, read poetry and exhibited at more than 300 national conferences and universities. The Auburn University Gospel Choir will perform, and honored guests will include some of Auburn’s first African-American students: Harold Franklin, Samuel Pettijohn, Willie Wyatt Jr. and Anthony Lee.

Tickets for the luncheon are $54.50 per person or $545 for patron tables of 10. Patron table supporters will be listed in the event program. Registration is available online through Friday, Jan. 10, at http://www.aualum.org/index.php/groups/main or by calling (334) 844-1150.

“The Auburn Alumni Association is proud to take the lead in coordinating the commemoration luncheon which will honor those who played significant roles in paving the way to integration at Auburn University,” said Debbie Shaw, vice president for alumni affairs at Auburn. “In addition to that, we will be challenged by an outstanding special speaker in ways to continue to move our university forward.”

Prior to the luncheon, there will be a free, public forum beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the hotel auditorium. Retired federal judge U.W. Clemon, civil rights attorney Fred Gray, Franklin, Pettijohn, Wyatt and Lee will participate in the forum which will be moderated by William Leftwich, principal with LS Strategic Group. The company addresses human resources issues pertaining to equal opportunity programs, race, diversity strategies and training.

“The forum is an opportunity to reflect on the challenges of the past and plan for the challenges of the future, and will include reflections on the beginnings of Auburn’s racial integration, diversity on campus today and a look toward the future,” said Paulette Dilworth, assistant vice president for access and community initiatives in the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “The Commemoration Planning Committee is excited to partner with the Office of Alumni Affairs to open Auburn’s tribute to those individuals who set the university on a path toward becoming a diverse, global institution over the past half century.”

For more information about the luncheon, contact Janet Bryant at (334) 844-1150 or alumniprograms@auburn.edu.

For more information about the 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.

Contact: Carol Nelson, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (nelsoc4@auburn.edu), or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)