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Auburn Board of Trustees elects new President Tempore among capital project updates

<p>Board of Trustees meeting on April 12, 2019 in the Hotel at Auburn.</p>

Board of Trustees meeting on April 12, 2019 in the Hotel at Auburn.

Friday, the Auburn University Board of Trustees elected Vice President Pro Tempore Quentin Riggins as the 2023-2024 President Tempore. The position acts as the president in the absence of the board's official president, Gov. Kay Ivey. Riggins succeeds Bob Dumas, who has served as president tempore for two years.

Riggins, who has been a member of the board of trustees since 2017, began his career at Auburn as a student-athlete from 1986 to 1989, earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing and distributive education. Riggings was also a second team All-American and first team All-SEC linebacker for the Tigers under Coach Pat Dye. He helped to lead the team to three consecutive SEC championships during his collegiate career. 

After The Plains, Riggins served in various leadership positions in the Alabama state government, such as former Gov. Bob Riley's director of legislative affairs and as a legislative analyst for former Speaker of the House Seth Hammett. Additionally, Riggins served as the senior vice president of the Business Council of Alabama.

He is chairman of the capital campaign for the University's Office of Inclusion and Diversity and senior vice president of Governmental and Corporate Affairs for Alabama Power.

In addition to the election, the university's Board of Trustees received updates on numerous ongoing capital projects supporting Auburn's campus and extensions.

A project to improve safety at the Auburn University Regional Airport received final approval to purchase 11 acres of land from the Indian Pines Country Club and public golf course. The project originated in 2019 when the Federal Aviation Administration mandated the changes to continue operating the airport’s main runway.

The $8 million purchase price comes at no cost to the University as the cost splits between the FAA, the Alabama Department of Transportation, the cities of Auburn and Opelika and the Lee County Commission. 

Additionally, the board gave final approval to the College of Veterinary Medicine’s plan to construct a one-story, 8,100-square-foot addition to its equine research facility at the North Auburn Equine Research Facility. The expansion will provide veterinary students more lab space and faculty more office space to support the broader university effort to attract more research grant dollars to the campus.

The Office of the Provost and the College of Veterinary Medicine will pay the project’s $7 million price tag.

Additionally, architecture firm Seay, Seay and Lichfield of Auburn will lead a renovation project in the Athletic Complex to provide space for their sports medicine program. The program is currently located in the Plainsman Park Strength and Rehabilitation Center.

After the capital project updates, newly appointed full-time Provost Dr. Vinni Nathan received approval for a new degree program to be offered by the University beginning in 2024.

Auburn’s new parks and recreation management program through the College of Forestry is a multidisciplinary effort to prepare students for public and private recreational and outdoor facilities leadership positions.

In materials submitted to the board, students must take classes in safety risks and legal procedures, recreational programming and park and recreation financial management. These classes are in addition to marketing, statistics and field skills classes.

Students interested in completing this degree program can begin as soon as Fall 2023, under a "pending approval" status, and can find relevant courses under the "PARK" course code.

The program will be the first of its kind in Alabama, and Nathan anticipates it will graduate approximately 125 to 150 candidates at maturity.

Finally, the University received more than $100 million in public funding during the legislative session that closed on Tuesday.

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Ethan Flynn | Campus News Editor

Ethan Flynn, sophomore in journalism and finance, is the campus editor at The Auburn Plainsman. He has been with The Plainsman since Fall, 2022.

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