Regardless of definition, the late James E. Foy was a true Auburn man.
He lived by the Auburn Creed.
He truly believed in the power of the human touch and a sound mind and having a spirit that is not afraid.
Many a Foy story involves him reaching out--to hippies and war protestors and those against his own ideological principles simply because they were Auburn students.
He was, after all, as he'd probably say, the dean of students. And he took that role seriously.
His door was always open for an Auburn student.
Foy didn't just preach Auburn family and what it means to be an Auburn person--he lived it daily for 29 years.
That's 29 years of War Eagle-filled pep rallies; 29 years of Foy's contagious joy-for-life, milk-of-human-kindness campus roaming; 29 years of passion for Auburn and its students and its aura.
He was the force and brains behind "Hey Day," a tradition which continues today.
He might have even been the man behind the Auburn family mythos.
Even if he didn't create the idea of the Auburn family, he certainly lived it.
Beyond his job, after he retired, he was still Auburn's loudest and most vigorous cheerleader. And one of its most mischievous pranksters.
Former director of Foy Student Union, Lowell Ledbetter tells of the time Dean Foy and a friend drove to Tuscaloosa one winter.
On the brown field beside Alabama's famous Denny Chimes, Foy and friend, both wearing work overalls, probably giggling like the big kids they were, took 100 pounds of winter rye grass seed and spelled out "War Eagle" in big block letters.
Late in life, when he was confined to a wheelchair, his voice noticeably softer but no less full of soul, there he'd be--rolled out to the 50-yard line, to halfcourt, his wild strands of white hair flailing, his right arm circling counterclockwise: "Waaarrrrr Eagle, Hey!"
The man loved Auburn University.
"I don't know of another person in Auburn history who has as great a hands-on impact on Auburn students as Dean Foy did," said David Housel, former Auburn athletic director and all-around keeper of Auburn lore (from "Auburn Icon's Legacy Lives On," A1).
He never lost his child-like love of Auburn.
He was a special man, a one-of-a-kind personality.
His departure in 1978 left a Foy-shaped hole in the University, a hole which has never been filled.
For most students today, and even students in the recent past, Foy is just a building or an info desk.
Instead of conjuring images of impromptu pep rallies on Cater Lawn or world-record-setting blood drives during the Vietnam War, Foy's name is synonymous with eateries and late-night information seeking.
Dean Foy was everything listed above and more, more than a building or a phone number or an old man leading a halftime War Eagle.
It's a shame how easy it is to forget those who came before.
Jordan, Cater, Hare, Haley, Petrie, Parker--those are all just names to most of us students.
But they were the people who made Auburn what it is today.
Dean Foy was no less important than those great Auburn men and women.
His goal was to help students while in college, but also to prepare them for life post-college.
He wanted to imbue students with the Auburn ethos and let every student know what being an Auburn man or woman meant.
Auburn is a special place and people like Dean Foy made it that way.
And he and the others who made Auburn Auburn should be properly remembered.
Every Auburn student should know about Dean Foy, understand his legacy and realize why he loved Auburn.
The Auburn Creed should be at the forefront, a constant reminder of what it means to be an Auburn student.
Half-hearted renditions during Camp War Eagle and diversity-filled commercials during home football games don't do the Creed justice.
Any definition of an Auburn man or woman begins with the Creed, its message spreading ever outward, blanketing all of campus and, from there, the world.
"Dr. Petrie really had it! The Creed is where Auburn is at!" Foy said in the 1978 Glomerata.
Not everyone gets to follow his or her passion when entering the workforce.
Dean Foy did, and Auburn was forever changed by his personality and presence.