In 1983, a new assistant professor moved to the small town of Auburn, Alabama, with his wife to work at the college where he would later hold one of the highest administrative positions.
After 35 years, Provost Timothy Boosinger is retiring from his position and plans to take a much-needed break before returning to a minimal load of classes.
Boosinger and his wife are looking forward to a break, as they are planning to retire from their current positions at Auburn during the same time period. The two felt their time in upper administration was coming to a solid close, as his wife was heavily involved with the newly completed Mell Classroom building.
At the age of 66, Boosinger is looking forward to a short break and more specific work after a resting period.
"We are going to look at some other professional opportunities to do things in a more limited term kind of basis," Boosinger said.
He would like to go back to his beginnings and teach in veterinary medicine and other fields closer to his discipline, pathology and infectious diseases.
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Before heading back to the field, Boosinger and his wife plan on traveling a bit.
"We would like to go with National Geographic to the Galapagos Islands," Boosinger said. If they can manage a trip in the spring, they hope to take on the Islands. Along with that trip, Boosinger would like to tramp through the ruins in Lima, Peru, and visit Africa at some point.
Two years ago the Boosinger's went to Antarctica. He said they have always been drawn to adventurous vacations.
Boosinger told The Plainsman the administration has decided to give his official retirement a soft date, as the search for his replacement could go long or happen swiftly, depending on the candidates.
They are shooting for Feb. 1, 2018. Boosinger said the University should look for a provost that understands and appreciates the variety of disciplines.
With 165 academic departments, Boosinger said the new provost must study each discipline and be a leader for each department.
That knowledge has been thoroughly rewarding for Boosinger. He said during his time at Auburn, he has seen an amazing amount of changes take place on the campus.
"There was something about Auburn," Boosinger said. "We came to Auburn and we noticed almost immediately that the community of Auburn was married to the University and had this wonderful relationship. We liked it, and we thought it was the best place for us to work and live."
Boosinger raised two daughters in Auburn and later saw them graduate with degrees from his place of work. Despite other opportunities arising, Boosinger and his wife never questioned their decision to stick with Auburn.
Boosinger laughed and said, "It's not just about what happens in class and Auburn gets that." He said he had visited other universities and the level of importance Auburn puts on extracurriculars and community involvement is refreshing.
He said Auburn has the "healthy balance down."
"I know the University has been good to us, but I hope we have been good for Auburn," Boosinger said. "We never saw a better opportunity than Auburn."
Boosinger looks at the undergraduate experience as one of the most unique and admirable parts of Auburn. As Boosinger rose in the ranks of the University, from assistant professor to dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1995-2011 to associate dean for Academic Affairs from 1993-95, Boosinger said he missed being in the class room.
"I was hired to do two things: 50 percent teaching and 50 percent research," Boosinger said. "I have always had interest in research, but I've always had a strong commitment and passion for instruction and teaching."
Boosinger said he thought most high-ranked administrators at the University found the most joy through interacting with students throughout their early careers.
"I am most proud of the fact, during my watch as dean, that we positioned the College to be very competitive — to be a destination for students that want to be veterinarians," Boosinger said.
When moving from his position of dean to provost, Boosinger said he wanted to bring the same competitive and encouraging atmosphere with him to the campus as a whole.
He said he took the promotion as an opportunity to add value to the institution and he was joining the ranks of other administrators that he felt saw growth and success as a necessity as well. At a point in Boosinger's career, he did apply for president of the University after being recommended, but he said in hindsight, he feels that he is ending his career at Auburn in the best way possible.
As he leaves, Boosinger said he hopes Auburn continues to preserve the strong attributes it has mastered over the years.
Boosinger said scholarship allotment, graduation
Boosinger said he does not think there are any internal issues that are prevalent in the University staff and operation, but what might stump administrators is what happens around Auburn and in the world.
"How higher education is funded, things that are in the news right now that are relevant to higher educations, immigration for example," Boosinger said. "Those topics affect the morale of a lot of our students. Those are the kinds of things we will have to deal with."
The fundraising efforts by the University are proof of the internal success, Boosinger said. The backing from Auburn alumni and the city's support are favorable and the state support is "level but stable."
"We would like for it to grow, but
Boosinger said being in Auburn for 35 years has been a blessing, but he is excited for the adventures to come in retirement. Auburn will always be their home base, Boosinger said, as they have a "quaint cabin" in Auburn and are not looking to leave it long-term.
"If we leave to work somewhere else for a semester, we will always come back here," Boosinger said.
Boosinger said one of his proudest moments was in the last 10 years as the University spoke to students about campus climate, resulting in "important discussions" like the reaffirmation to inclusion and diversity.
"I've always been impressed by the culture that is created by the Auburn Creed," Boosinger said. "Some may take university creeds for granted but I think this University really lives that creed. I think that if students will be true to that creed — hard work and respect for others — this University will continue to thrive and improve and be the great institution that it is."
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