Nolen retires after 28 years, recalls ‘good people of Auburn’

January 31, 2018


julie nolen and charles barkley

Julie Nolen, who has led the College of Education’s Office of Development for nearly nine years, is retiring. She will be moving to Athens, Ga., where she will lead development efforts for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“I moved here with my parents when I was two years old,” Nolen said. “My father was a state biologist, had received his master’s degree from Auburn, then returned to obtain his doctorate in Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures. He joined the faculty of the Fisheries Department in the 1960s, so this has been home ever since.”

Following her own graduation from Auburn in Public Relations – Speech (with a  journalism minor), Nolen enjoyed some fun times out West, working at Yellowstone Park and also in Vail, Colorado, before launching her professional career at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center in 1989.

“I began as the assistant conference facilitator, then became a conference facilitator,” she said. “We had some stressful hours and juggled many different details, but I loved it there and worked with some great people during those five years.”

She joined McGraw-Hill as a textbook rep, but after just one year came back to the Plains.

“I missed Auburn and working in higher education,” she said. “I had the opportunity to begin the Donor Relations program in the Office of Development. That was another great job and one that I stayed in for 14 years before having the opportunity to come here to the College of Education in April of 2009.”

“The College of Education, for me, was a perfect match.  My parents are both educators. My mom finished her bachelor’s degree, then earned her master’s degree here in Auburn’s College of Education. She taught at Drake Middle School for 30 years. I also have other family members with degrees from the College.  Education is very important to my family and to me.”

For Nolen, working in the College of Education was more than a paycheck.

“I have loved it here. I still love it. I believe in our College and I am proud of the work that we do. I am so proud to have had the opportunity to represent this College on the road all those years. And the people I’ve met? They are fabulous. They are such warm, genuine, caring people who are devoted to Auburn and its mission. The relationships that I have built with them is something I will always cherish.”

She feels the same way about her colleagues in the College of Education.

“I am grateful to former Dean Fran Kochan, who hired me into this job, and to Dean Betty Lou Whitford, with whom I have also loved working.  Both of these great leaders have been very supportive of me and our mission. I’ve really enjoyed our fabulous faculty and staff members in the College and appreciate their commitment and dedication to the field.  I’m very proud of their work. In our office, Molly McNulty, Kelly Rogers and I have been together for eight years. We have been a very productive team, but have also had a lot of fun. I will miss everyone here.”

The feeling seems to be mutual.

“For eight and a half years, Julie has led our development office with outstanding effectiveness, consistently exceeding annual goals,” Dean Whitford said. “Moreover, we concluded the recent Because This Is Auburn campaign in December 2017 reaching 108% of our $19 million goal for a total of $20.6 million under Julie’s leadership.   I am confident that she will be highly successful at UGA even though I like to think it will pain her just a little to wear red.  We will miss her!”

In spite of being in a new environment, Nolen said Auburn will always be home.

“The new job is a natural fit because of my own communication and journalism background, and I am very excited about this new opportunity,” she said. “I look forward to being at the well-respected University of Georgia and its prestigious Grady College, but Auburn is and will always be in my heart. It is home.”