Auburn University’s Tampa Bay Campaign kicks off

TAMPA BAY – Auburn University publicly launched its Tampa Bay regional campaign on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Raymond James Stadium. The regional campaign is one of 31 that will take place across the country over the next year as part of the $500 million “It Begins at Auburn” fundraising effort for the university.

Prominent Tampa Bay alumni and friends gathered for the celebration. The campaign goal for the region is to raise funds for academic and athletic programs. Other goals include keeping alumni engaged and developing leadership and volunteers for Auburn University.

“The regional campaigns will expand the number of alumni giving to Auburn,” said Bob McGinnis, AU vice president for development. “They will unite the Auburn family in a common cause to support our students and faculty.”

The evening’s program was led by regional campaign co-chairs John Jacobs and Helen Leslie. When asked about giving back to her alma mater, Helen Leslie said, “I always wanted to give something back to Auburn to benefit future generations of students. I have supported Auburn for several years by funding an endowment which provides an annual scholarship to a young woman from Florida to pursue a non-traditional career track.”

John Jacobs spoke of the importance of alumni involvement in achieving success for Auburn’s current campaign. “Where the future of our beloved university is concerned, it begins with each of us and success will depend, in large measure, on the core group of alumni and friends who support Auburn’s vision for the future.”

In addition, the Helen Krauss Leslie Scholarship recipient, Amanda Willis, also spoke about her love for Auburn, her appreciation for the education she receives and the importance of Leslie’s scholarship that makes her education possible. Campaign co-chair Sally Jones Hill conveyed to the audience the importance of private funding, specifically in the form of endowments.

AU President Ed Richardson spoke of the importance of continued giving to Auburn. “Auburn University is on its way to becoming one of the best public universities in this country,” Richardson said. “With the help of the entire Auburn family we will be able to meet this goal.”

The remaining regional campaigns will kickoff between now and the fall of 2007. These campaigns will last from two to six months.

The “It Begins at Auburn” campaign encompasses all colleges and schools as well as the library, athletics, Auburn University Montgomery and the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Endowments for student scholarships, faculty, programs and unrestricted dollars make up 58 percent of the campaign’s goal.

In addition to endowments, the campaign also will focus on facilities and equipment; campus beautification; research; and current operations. The campaign has raised more than $450 million, or 90 percent of the campaign’s goal.

(Contributed by Kristen Jackson; photos available upon request.)

Contact: Kristen Jackson, (334) 844-3224 (, or
Mike Clardy (334) 844-9999 (