Keystone 2020

Keystone 2020 cover design: black and white side profile head shot of Dean Betty Lou Whitford with green color blocks and facts set onto


Associate Professor Carey Andrzejewski’s passion for teaching leads to the Gerald and Emily Leischuck Endowed Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Kinesiology researcher Austin Robinson receives grants to study the role of sodium as a contributor to health disparities in African Americans.  

Octavia Tripp reflects on the importance and future of remote teaching after a two-week remote STEM teaching assignment to students in Shenzhen, China.

Betty Lou Whitford reflects on her 44-year career and time at Auburn. Under her leadership, the college has accomplished many notable achievements.

After receiving funds from donors, O Grows expands to serve an additional marginalized community: the Lee County Youth Development Center.

Lynne Patrick has recently retired as director of the Truman Pierce Institute. She is being succeeded by Jason Bryant.

McElrath established scholarships to benefit generations of students in order to provide others the same opportunities he had.

Alumni share their stories of how Haley Center changed their lives. Themes emerged but each story has a flare as unique as the person remembering those days. 

WELCOME // Dean Whitford

As I write my last letter for Keystone as dean of the Auburn University College of Education, I keep pausing as so many memories flow through my mind.

Before I came here ten years ago, I had met a few Auburn people through professional affiliations and avocational interests, but I had never been to the campus. And now, quick flash forward, it seems impossible that I am soon stepping away from my daily associations with some of the finest students, teachers, scholars, and colleagues I have ever known.

It’s no secret  ­—  especially to our readers  ­—  that there is something special about Auburn. The Auburn Family is much more than just a saying. It captures a rare “something” that you can feel wherever you go, whether that is in the halls of Haley Center or sharing a big “War Eagle!” in the Atlanta airport or the Seoul subway. I’ve never seen the like in my 44-year career.

As you will see, the theme of this issue of Keystone is “Changing Lives.” Here you will read stories that showcase the many ways our faculty and graduates are serving others in life-changing ways. We see bench scientists investigating ways to combat health disparities in African Americans, along with social scientists seeking ways to improve conditions for women in prison. We learn about diverse ways our faculty and graduates are helping children with disabilities, and how great teaching inspires positive change across the generations. We also learn lessons on the importance of giving back through life-changing philanthropy. It has truly been inspiring to me, year after year, to see the many ways the college serves those in need, changing lives on a daily basis. This work is most certainly part of that rare “something” that is distinctive about the Auburn Family. 

I am confident that our next dean will find a college committed to progressive improvements in academic and inclusive excellence and eager to contribute to addressing the “unfinished business of American democracy.” Part of that is getting better at engaging in and conveying caring, belonging, and mattering. 

My heart-felt thanks to each of you for making the last ten years so enriching. In retirement, I will be cheering from the sidelines here in Auburn as we continue to act with a spirit that is not afraid.

War Eagle! 

Betty Lou Whitford Signature
Dean Betty Lou Whitford