“I was always an Auburn fan growing up,” said Nunnelly, who is widely known for the energy and comic relief she brings to Camp War Eagle sessions. “I entered Auburn in the fall of 1966; I got to come down a week early because I was in the band. We got to come down a week early to start band practice and to get ready, of course, for the football season.”
Nunnelly said she loved everything about the Auburn experience, from her time spent with band members at football games to her time with roommates in Alumni Hall (now Ingram Hall), so it was no surprise when she found herself back at Auburn’s steps one year after graduation.
“I came back to Auburn on a graduate assistantship in the fall of 1971,” Nunnelly said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. The good Lord was really good to me. I finished my graduate assistantship and accepted a position as an adjunct instructor in the physical education department and then became an instructor full time.”
Two years later, in 1973, Nunnelly became the second women’s basketball coach.
“At that time, I was teaching and helping with the intramural program and also coaching women’s basketball,” Nunnelly said. “I coached for three seasons, but I gave up coaching and teaching to become the full-time assistant director of recreational services, which is now campus recreation.”
Nunnelly said she was also on the original Camp War Eagle staff.
“We invited 150 in-state Alabama students to see if they would be interested in attending an orientation that we were going to call Camp War Eagle,” she said. “That’s what we did and we held it at the 4-H camp, and it was such a success that the president realized every freshman must experience Camp War Eagle. That’s when we brought it to campus and it’s been here ever since.”
Nunnelly, whose gig "Fun with the Nun" has been a part of Camp War Eagle from the beginning, was hesitant to take any credit for her role.
“Mark Armstrong, his staff and certainly the counselors are the key to the program,” Nunnelly said. “I just show up and do my thing. They make it what it is. They deserve the credit.”
But Abby Laine Jackson, former CWE counselor and senior in accounting, said CWE wouldn’t be near as fun without the Nun.
“For anything to be successful it has to have some structure and Camp War Eagle definitely has that,” Jackson said. “But the nun spices up the structure.”
Nun said her main goal is to make the students feel at home.
“They’ve been sitting for a while and they need to relax a bit, and I hope I offer that for them,” Nunnelly said. “That’s why it’s called 'Fun with the Nun.' Just those few minutes, I think, is a moment of relief. They can know Auburn is definitely their home for their college career.
“We want to do everything we can to make it a great experience. We want them to know this truly is an Auburn family.”
Though Nunnelly said she has always enjoyed theatre and acting, the "Nun" that students see at CWE is no act.
“This is the way I am 24/7,” Nunnelly said. “I’m pretty much a ham. I’ve been a class clown all my life; it goes back to elementary school and junior high. Most of my friends will tell you that this is just the way I’ve always been, and it’s really helped me get to where I am.
“I think everybody needs a sense of humor and some fun in their life. I’m not so sure you can get everything you want to get out of life if you don’t have some fun with it.”
Jackson said she admires Nunnelly for her vitality.
“I hope I am that fun when I’m her age," Jackson said. "She is not a young lady, yet her spirit is still so youthful."
Nunnelly retired from Auburb in 2008, but she continues to pour her time, energy and lively spirit into the University.
“I’m the public address announcer for women’s volleyball and women’s basketball,” Nunnelly said. “I’ve been the voice of the SEC basketball tournament since 1987. I did the tournament this past March in Nashville. I still teach a sports officiating class every spring that I was teaching four or five years before I retired.”
Nun said it only made sense to continue “Fun with the Nun” each summer as well.
“I want to give back because Auburn has been so good to me,” she said. “As long as they still invite me, and as long as they want 'Fun with the Nun' going on, and as long as I feel I’m somehow contributing, I’ll be here.”