Retired four star Army General Lloyd Austin spoke at the Alumni Center on Friday afternoon about leadership and his time in the service.
The 1986 Auburn graduate and University of Board Trustees member featured the This is Auburn speaking series and the annual Military Appreciation Day.
“It’s no question to me that my time here at Auburn made me a better leader, professionally,” Austin said. “It made me a more compassionate leader and a more thoughtful person. It’s always a great treasure to come back here and spend time with the wonderful people who make up this community.”
Austin focused his talk on his background and relations with Auburn,
“The fact is, there are a lot of ways you can serve your country. Whatever profession you choose to pursue, most of them contain some element of public service and none are necessarily more important than others,” Austin said.
Austin presented six lessons on leadership. The three he focused on and expanded upon
Austin mentioned his lessons of creating inclusive environments, leaders should take
When talking about the importance of character, Austin referenced Dwight Eisenhower. “As President Eisenhower said, character, in many ways, is everything in leadership,” Austin said.
Austin presented his lesson on confidence and competence in leadership with an example that resonated with the Auburn-based crowd. He referenced a conversation with the defensive line coach of the football team. He said this year’s defense is exceptional and explained why he respected the coach for not being satisfied with already great results.
“My reaction was ‘that’s a professional right there, and he’s grooming other professionals’ and what he’s teaching them is how to master their craft,” Austin said.
Austin spoke on the topics of the current state of foreign affairs including Isis and Syria and his relations to the affairs. “One of the things that I am most proud of today, as we continue to dismantle the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria, is the disciplined manner in which our U.S. and coalition forces have prosecuted the campaign consistent with our character,” Austin said.
“It is the most difficult problem that I have ever faced in my life,” Austin said in reference to the current state in Syria. “It is not just one war, but it is three wars that are combined into one.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, Auburn’s senior counsel for research security and cyber initiatives, introduced Austin at the event.
Junior ROTC students, Dakota Baswell and Austin Neal,
“We don’t get many opportunities like this. So, we really got to take advantage of it,” Neal said.
The Alumni Center and the Athletics Department coordinated commemorative coins for all members of the military who attended the event. The gold and silver coins featured an eagle and a celebration of 125 years of Auburn football.
Kate Larkin, coordinator of outreach for the Alumni Center, was pleased with the turnout. “This was the largest for the Military Appreciation Day. This may be the biggest turnout at any speaker [for this series] event,” Larkin said.
The organizing committee
The Office of Communication and Marketing, Auburn Alumni Center, the Department of Athletics and the OLLIE at Auburn coordinate the speaking series. Mike Jernigan, editor emeritus of Auburn Magazine, will be speaking at the next event the Friday before the Georgia game.