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Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy L. Spratling '96
 
 

Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy L. Spratling '96

Auburn University at Montgomery graduate, Jeremy L. Spratling '96, founded Corporate Facilities Management, Inc.
 
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2018-19 African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship Awarded   Auburn University at Montgomery named 'Military Friendly School'
 
 

2018-19 African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship Awarded

Chelsea Kelley receives Endowed Scholarship at the 10th annual African American Alumni Reception.
 
 
 
 

Auburn University at Montgomery named 'Military Friendly School'

Auburn University at Montgomery earned recognition on the newly released list of 2019-2020 "Military Friendly" universities published by Victory Media.
 
 
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in this edition
SACSCOC reaffirmed Auburn University at Montgomery's accreditation
 
 

SACSCOC reaffirmed Auburn University at Montgomery's accreditation

Auburn University at Montgomery's accreditation was reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) for the next 10 years.
 
 
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Student Spotlight: Alshami earned Student Diversity Award
 
 

Student Spotlight: Alshami earned Student Diversity Award

Lama Alshami earned AUM's 2019 Student Diversity and Inclusion Award by virtue of her efforts to live the university's core value of fostering diversity and a climate of inclusion.
 
 
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Student Spotlight: Sarmiento earned Alabama Technology Foundation scholarship
 
 

Student Spotlight: Sarmiento earned Alabama Technology Foundation scholarship

Luis Sarmiento earned one of three $500 scholarships presented by the Alabama Technology Foundation (ATF) to state university students.
 
 
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ON OUR WAY TO THE NCAA
 
 

ON OUR WAY TO THE NCAA

AUM advances to year three of NCAA Division II membership process.
 
 
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AUM Alumni featured in
 
 

AUM Alumni featured in "The List" published by RSVP Montgomery

AUM alumni featured in "The List" for January and February 2019 by RSVP Montgomery. Recognized as young professionals and business leaders who bring culture and energy to our area.
 
 
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Upcoming Alumni Events and Travel
 
 

Upcoming Alumni Events and Travel

 
 
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class notes
 
Chuck Ledbetter '95 Greg Knighton '93 Anne Roper '88
Stephen McNeill '02 Justin Barley '06 SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE
 
 
 
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Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy L. Spratling '96

Jeremy L. Spratling was born and raised in Talladega, Alabama. He graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics in 1996, then from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University in 2001. He worked in the financial services industry for 14 years before founding Corporate Facilities Management, Inc. (CFM).
 
Spratling handles the overall management of Corporate Facilities Management, Inc., one of the largest facility management companies in the Southeast as well as one of the largest minority owned firms. CFM provides service management expertise to industrial, governmental and commercial entities. Their main lines of business include, but are not limited to, facility maintenance, commercial and industrial janitorial services, commercial floor care, and chemical and paper supply distribution. The company’s footprint serves Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi.
 
Spratling serves in several philanthropic roles. He is a board member and current President of Turning Dreams Into Realities, Inc., a mentoring organization for college aged men. He is a certified business counselor with SCORE Small Business Administration (SBA).
 
He is married to Fredricka. They have a daughter and a son. He enjoys coaching youth sports, business mentoring, fishing, reading, and competing in crossfit style competitions.

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2018-19 African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship Awarded

Chelsea Kelley receives Endowed Scholarship at the 10th annual African American Alumni Reception on Thursday, October 4, 2018.

Kelley comes from a family that cherishes and values education. With this supportive upbringing, she chose to attend Auburn University at Montgomery because of the family-oriented atmosphere, and the student to teacher ratio. Kelley plans to further her education in Public Relations, then use her degree to advocate for missing person cases. She hopes to start a foundation that provides funds to the families of missing persons, so they can continue to search for their loved ones without financial limitations.

“I would like to give a sincere thank you to the generous supporters of the African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship and to the AUM alumni family as a whole. You all play a vital role here at AUM… You have made it possible for so many AUM students to further their education and hopefully one day, I too will be able to give back,” Kelley shared.

The endowed scholarship was the brainchild of determined, hard-working women who wanted to broaden the level of diversity at AUM and provide support to deserving young students pursuing their goal of a college degree.  We recognize and extend our continued thanks to these amazing women—and the charter donors to this great scholarship— Carolyn Stinson, Jeanine Boddie-LaVan, Charlie Lassiter, and Tennie Sanders McBryde.

Anna Marie Jones, Alumni Association Board of Directors President, stated, “As proud alumni, we all know about the amazing educational opportunities offered at AUM. We are keenly aware that a good education is the foundation for a great future and a rewarding career, and for preparing us to take on leadership roles in our professions and community. As alumni, we share not only a deep appreciation for the educational opportunities afforded to us, but also a desire to encourage the young students who follow us.” The goal of this scholarship was to increase diversity at AUM, “in the belief that it is through diversity of cultures and ideas that we grow as individuals and develop a better understanding of the world around us.”

Pictured above (L to R): Charlie Lassiter; Chelsea Kelley, 2018-19 Endowed Scholarship recipient; Dr. Carl A. Stockton, Chancellor

Give to the African American Alumni Reception Endowed Scholarship

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Auburn University at Montgomery named 'Military Friendly School'

Auburn University at Montgomery earned recognition on the newly released list of 2019-2020 “Military Friendly” universities published by Victory Media. AUM was the only River Region school to make the list and ranked among the top five universities in Alabama.

Auburn University at Montgomery earned “bronze” status in the annual Military Friend Schools survey, the longest-running comprehensive review of college and university investments in serving military and veteran student populations.

“We are honored to be designated a `Military Friendly’ university and have taken a number of steps to enhance the educational experience of active duty military, veterans and reservists,” Chancellor Carl A. Stockton said. “We count many military veterans among our student body, faculty and staff and alumni base. We are proud of their service, and we are proud of our history of serving members of the military community.”

Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs and the website militaryfriendly.com, evaluates universities in such categories as academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation processes for active duty and military veteran students, culture and commitment to support of military students, financial aid and assistance as well as graduation and career outcomes.

“We have placed particular emphasis on making a quality higher education more accessible and affordable for military personnel and their qualified dependents,” Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Mrinal Varma said. “Beyond that, we have been purposeful in our efforts to enhance the university experience for student veterans, active duty military and their dependents. Our Veterans Liaison, Rudy Tobias, has done a fantastic job of building a close-knit community and our Veterans and Military Information Center serves as a one-stop resource for individuals who may have questions about such things as Veterans Administration and G.I. Bill benefits, transcripts and scholarship opportunities.”

Auburn University at Montgomery offers the Military and Family Scholarship for active duty military personnel, veterans and the dependents of military personnel. Scholarship recipients save 15 percent on undergraduate tuition and 35 percent on graduate school tuition. AUM also offers two-, three- and four-year Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Campus-Based Scholarships, the Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) Scholarship and the Green to Gold Scholarship.

The university also offers the AUM Guard Card, a first-of-its-kind program in Alabama that provides active duty Alabama National Guard members enrolled at AUM with up to $1,000 to offset the cost of textbooks, academic supplies and on-campus meals during the academic year.

AUM’s extensive list of student clubs and organizations also includes a Student Veterans of America chapter. In fall 2018, AUM launched Veterans Week, which commemorates the university’s history of educating military members and honors students, faculty and staff who have served or are serving in the military, reserves and National Guard. The university unveiled dedicated parking spaces for Purple Heart recipients during the weeklong celebration.

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SACSCOC reaffirmed Auburn University at Montgomery's accreditation

Auburn University at Montgomery’s accreditation was reaffirmed in December 2018 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) for the next 10 years.

Auburn University at Montgomery is accredited by SACSCOC to award bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees. AUM first earned accreditation from SACSCOC in 1973, earning reaffirmation in 1978, 1988, 1998 and 2008.

“We are quite pleased that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges did not return any recommendations,” said Auburn University at Montgomery Chancellor Carl A. Stockton. “That is uncommon and speaks to the high quality of Auburn University at Montgomery’s academic programs, faculty and staff.

“The reaffirmation of accreditation is important for a variety of reasons. In addition to reinforcing the value of an Auburn University at Montgomery degree, the process offers an opportunity for self-study and examination of university standards, governance and finances, academic programs and student services. The results clearly show that we are on the right track.”

Universities attempting to earn or maintain SACSCOC accreditation must comply with more than 90 standards. Representatives from the accrediting body visited AUM last spring. The university submitted a response to the site visit in August. A national committee reviewed the response and voted for reaffirmation with zero recommendations.

“This serves as testament to Auburn University at Montgomery’s commitment to excellence,” said Auburn University at Montgomery Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Mrinal Varma. “One important outcome of the self-study process was the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan, the AUM Mathematics Pathways Success Initiative, to increase pass rates in core math courses. This week’s news validates our efforts as a university. We are grateful to our faculty and staff for their willingness to establish a culture of evidence and to embrace our pursuit of continuous improvement.”

Established in 1967, AUM offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certifications. AUM earned a No. 22 ranking among regional universities in the South from U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its undergraduate teaching and ranked 38th overall among regional public universities.

Consistently chosen as the best university in the area, AUM provides students with detailed knowledge and hands-on, practical experience, often from professionals in the field. Learn more at aum.edu.

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Student Spotlight: Alshami earned Student Diversity Award

Beyond her coursework as a nursing major, Auburn University at Montgomery student Lama Alshami has found her involvement in campus organizations to be a vital component of her educational experience.

“The most rewarding aspects of being involved with these clubs and organizations would definitely be the bond shared with other members, and being introduced to so many news faces, as well as being informed of the different backgrounds, cultures and traditions,” Alshami said.

Alshami, who was born in Jordan, is an active member of the AUM campus community through her involvement in the Muslim Students Association, the International Student Association, the Indian Student Organization and the Association of Latin American Students. She recently earned AUM’s 2019 Student Diversity and Inclusion Award by virtue of her efforts to live the university’s core value of fostering diversity and a climate of inclusion.

Alshami, who grew up in Chicago before moving to Montgomery for middle school and high school, said it’s important for students to overcome any apprehension they may feel about interacting with individuals of other cultures, backgrounds and faiths.

“Taking these chances could lead to lots of great outcomes like a lifetime of friendship and bonds, as well as knowledge from all around the world, really," she said. "Make sure you are open to communication with anyone and everyone. It is key, and you will comfort through it in many ways."

Alshami said AUM presents numerous opportunities for students to develop fluency in other cultures given its range of student organizations and entities like the Global Education Center, which is open to anyone. Currently, 45 nationalities are represented on the AUM campus.

"Though you may find it to be a small campus, it has people with the biggest minds and hearts who will be great to have in your life," she said.

Additionally, AUM Center for Disability Services Program Manager Tamara Massey earned the Staff Diversity Award, while Assistant Professor of Political Science and Public Administration Pia Knigge earned the Faculty Diversity Award.

Pictured above (L to R): Dr. Mrinal Mugdh Varma, Provost; Lama Alshami, Student Diversity Award recipient

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Student Spotlight: Sarmiento earned Alabama Technology Foundation scholarship

Robots, and all of the factors involved in getting them to perform precise functions, captured Luis Sarmiento’s imagination during his time as a high school student. Sarmiento immersed himself in the language of machines, the snippets of code that help determine whether it makes a right or left turn, the speed with which it moves and more.

“I entered a robotics program and I automatically knew I wanted to do something along the lines of programming or [information technology],” said Sarmiento, a senior information systems management major.

An interest in constructing and troubleshooting systems led Sarmiento to Auburn University at Montgomery and, in turn, AUM will direct him into a career in the banking or big data sectors after graduation in Spring 2019.

Sarmiento’s excellence as a student and interest in being a part of Alabama’s growing tech sector led to recent recognition from the Alabama Technology Foundation (ATF), an economic development and outreach non-profit dedicated to the development of workforce talent in the IT and engineering sectors.

Sarmiento earned one of three $500 scholarships presented by the ATF to state university students. ATF board member Renee Borg said the organization focuses on reducing the potential for “brain drain in Alabama” by identifying talented university students in the IT sector and maintaining a database that foundation sponsors can utilize to identify candidates for internships and full-time jobs.

While Sarmiento originally hails from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he’s a home-grown talent who wants to remain in Alabama after graduation. He has lived in Montgomery for more than a decade and graduated from Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School.

His experience in AUM’s information systems program has validated his early interest in information technology and challenged him to pursue new directions. Sarmiento completed an internship with the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s database department.

“AUM, in my opinion, was just the best university locally and in the geographic area,” Sarmiento said. “AUM has truly been a blessing to me.

“What really brought me to [information system] is, in IT, sometimes you’ve got to create things that other people haven’t created or do things in a different way than they’ve normally been done before. When you’re working with programs, you write your code, but everyone’s code is a bit different. Your code might do the same thing as someone else’s, but it’s different and you created it.”

Pictured above (L to R): Dr. David Ang, Department Head for Information Systems; Dr. Rhea Ingram, College of Business Dean; Luis Sarmiento, Alabama Technology Foundation Scholarship recipient; Renee Borg, Alabama Technology Foundation Board Chair

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ON OUR WAY TO THE NCAA

Auburn University at Montgomery moved another step closer to full NCAA status when the Warhawks were approved to advance to the third and final year of the membership process by the NCAA Division II Membership Committee in July 2018.

“Auburn University at Montgomery is pleased with today’s news from the NCAA,” said Chancellor Dr. Carl A. Stockton. “The AUM Warhawks look forward to moving into our third year of NCAA DII candidacy and continuing our progress toward acceptance in the Gulf South Conference (GSC). I thank our Athletics staff for their focus on this process, and I thank our student-athletes and our faculty and staff who have contributed to our progress.” 

This past year saw the Warhawks join the GSC as a provisional member, with each team playing a full conference schedule. The Warhawks were not eligible for postseason play in its first year in the conference but 106 AUM student-athletes were named to the GSC Fall, Winter and Spring Academic Honor Rolls.

If all benchmarks are completed during this next year, AUM will have completed the process of Division II membership and will be eligible for NCAA and GSC postseason play during the 2019-20 academic year.

“We took another step in the right direction today,” said AUM Director of Athletics Jessie Rosa. “Doing just that is what this entire process has been about and what will ultimately elevate the AUM experience for all of our students.  The willingness of other units on campus to partner with us in ensuring we have adequate processes in place was instrumental in our approval to Year 3.  They, along with our student-athletes, coaches and staff members are the reason why we are able to celebrate today.”

The committee also voted to advance three other schools that are working through the multiyear membership process. Biola University, Davenport University and Purdue University Northwest all were approved to begin the third year of the membership process in 2018-19. Benedictine University (Illinois), Savannah State University and The University of Texas at Tyler were accepted into the Division II membership process and will begin the first year of the process.

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AUM Alumni featured in "The List" published by RSVP Montgomery

Catrina Hollins Pettway '05

Although her roots are in the Mississippi Delta, growing up in a military family that traveled coast to coast allowed Catrina Hollins Pettway to experience a variety of cultures. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Auburn University at Montgomery and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University, Catrina worked for the Alabama Department of Public Health for 11 years. She recently changed careers and works as a contract specialist where she is responsible for the acquisition of equipment and services for the men and women in the U.S. Air Force. Seeing her father work hard and do everything he could to help others instilled her strong work ethic and heart for service. Catrina is an advisor for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Auburn University at Montgomery Chapter, where she advises and mentors college students and serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Catrina has been a volunteer coach for the girls’ basketball team at Bellingrath Middle School, volunteers with the Montgomery Youth Forum and serves on the EMERGE Montgomery Board of Directors. She loves seeing growth in youth and young adults and says, “my goal every day when I wake up is to help those I encounter to be the best representation of themselves that they can be.” In her free time, you can catch Catrina reading a good book, hanging with her friends and watching football. Her favorite quote is, “If God brings me to it, he will bring me through it.” Catrina may be petite in size, but there is nothing small about the impact she makes on those she encounters.

Jina DuVernay '13

Jina DuVernay has always loved to read. She would spend time writing poems, short stories, and reading anything she could get her hands on. After graduating high school, she flirted with the idea of becoming a librarian, but not knowing anyone who had chosen librarianship as a profession, she brushed off the thought. She started her undergraduate degree at California State University at Long Beach and finished with a bachelor's degree in English from Troy State University at Montgomery. Later, she obtained a Master of Liberal Arts degree from Auburn University at Montgomery and then earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Alabama. Several years later while working for the State of Alabama in the Department of Labor and for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, she could no longer deny that she was born to do something much more creative, and made the career change to where she currently works - as the special collections librarian at Alabama State University's Levi Watkins Learning Center. She will be the first to tell you that it’s never too late to pursue your dream job. Jina serves on the board of the Black Heritage Council of the Alabama Historical Commission and the Alabama Writers' Forum board. She also volunteers for the Alabama Book Festival and Brantwood Children's Home. Jina is passionate about the preservation of materials related to African American history and was elated when she was recently selected to participate in a two-year fellowship as the visiting archivist of African American Collections at Emory University, an honor that will be invaluable to her career. Jina was raised by a faithful and fiercely independent woman and credits her mom’s enthusiasm, creativity and work ethic for her success.

Kadra Parkman '01

Upon meeting Kadra Parkman, you will notice her humble spirit, her love of family, and heart for others. A 2001 graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery College of Business, Kadra’s various projects and work experiences helped her find her entrepreneurial spirit. After marrying Brendon Parkman, Kadra worked alongside him in his cattle company, Parkman Land & Cattle Company, until they opened Sweet P’s Eats and Treats, also known as the Pink Cow, in 2011. Kadra started in real estate several years ago investing in distressed homes, updating and using them as rental properties. She became a licensed real estate agent to expand opportunities to help others, and currently works with Wallace & Moody Realty. Kadra says, “I love that my clients trust in me to help them navigate what could be one of the largest investments they will ever endeavor in, the sale or purchase of their home. Another thing that I love about what I do is that my children can work with me. From cleaning out homes when we purchase distressed or painting walls when we’re bringing them back to life, I’ve empowered them to feel like they’re included in the process.” Kadra says her husband has been her biggest supporter and cheerleader. “Even in my failures he’s there to pick me up, motivate me to dig deeper and push harder all while wearing a smile.” Kadra and Brendon have two children together, Harrison and Raley, and two adult children, Nakota & Dalton. Kadra is involved with many local ministries and nonprofits, but the one closest to her heart is the Footprints Ministry, who supported the family when her daughter was born premature at 28 weeks weighing only 2 pounds. Kadra enjoys gardening, helping her husband on the ranch, and watching her youngest children compete in the Alabama Jr. High School Rodeo Association. They are active members at Eastmont Baptist Church. 

Pictured above (L to R): Catrina Hollins Pettway, Jina DuVernay, Kadra Parkman

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Upcoming Alumni Events and Travel

APRIL 2019

Alumni Night at Theatre AUM

Featuring: Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

Thursday, April 11, 2019

6:30 p.m. – Alumni coffee & cookies

7:30 p.m. - Showtime

AUM Taylor Center Theatre

 

MAY 2019

Alumni Night at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

Featuring: Steel Magnolias

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

7:00 p.m.

Limited space available.

 

OCTOBER 2019

African American Alumni Reception

Thursday, October 10, 2019

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Capital City Club Montgomery

Details to follow.

 

For more information or to register for events click here.

 

DECEMBER 2019

Spotlight on New York City Holiday

December 2-6, 2019

Experience America's most exciting metropolis as it shines during the holiday season. This New York City getaway is filled with shopping, sightseeing, endless entertainment and holiday cheer.

Highlights: 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Greenwich Village, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, Broadway Show.

 

For more information, click here.

 

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Class Notes

Chuck Ledbetter '95 - Movers & Shapers, January 2019

Ledbetter is superintendent of Pike Road City Schools. He has a master’s from Auburn University at Montgomery and a doctor of education from Auburn University. He also completed the University of Alabama Superintendent Academy.

In his 28 years in education, he has served as a teacher, coach, principal and assistant superintendent before becoming a superintendent. He served on the boards of the Council for Leaders of Alabama Schools, Georgia School Superintendents Association and the Georgia Charter Advisory Committee. Ledbetter serves as the second vice president for the Century Club 100, a group consisting of two superintendents from each state.


Greg Knighton '93 - Movers & Shapers, February 2019

Knighton is the economic development manager for the city of Hoover, after serving as vice president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. Knighton is a graduate of Auburn University at Montgomery.

He is past president of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and on the board of the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce. Knighton is a member of the International Economic Development Council, NAIOP and ICSC.


Anne Roper '88

Anne J. Roper of Northbridge has been appointed CEO of Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital, an affiliate of Encompass Health Corp.

Roper previously served as the Northeast regional vice president and controller for Encompass Health, and she is a former president of Fairlawn's board of directors. She is a current member of the Massachusetts Hospital Association.

Roper earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing in 1988, as well as her Master of Business Administration in Finance in 1996 at Auburn University at Montgomery. 

 


Stephen McNeill '02

Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP announced that, effective January 1, 2019, R. Stephen McNeill has been promoted to counsel.

McNeill, counsel in the firm’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group, focuses his practice on complex bankruptcy proceedings involving national and regional clients, including debtors, secured lenders, creditors’ committees and a variety of unsecured creditors. Steve has been involved in contesting and defending asset sales and plans of reorganization, assumption and rejection of leases and contracts, and other creditor issues including defense of preference litigation.

He earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law and his B.S. from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2002.


Justin Barley '06

Hartselle has a new police chief and he’s a familiar face within the department.

In December 2018, the city council selected Justin Barley to be the next police chief. For more than 20 years, Barley has served the Hartselle PD in various areas including narcotics investigation and criminal investigation.

"I'm settling into the role since the first of this month. I'm extremely excited and I'm very proud of this accomplishment. There's just a lot of good things going on," said Chief Barley.

Barley earned a bachelor's degree in Public Safety Administration from Athens State University, and obtained a master's degree in Justice and Public Safety from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2006.


SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE

You took flight from Auburn University at Montgomery. You earned a degree, started a career, and maybe even a family. Tell us where you've landed!

Maybe you recently earned a promotion, took the trip of a lifetime, or just have a Newsletter idea? Share your story with us!

Submit a "class note" here.


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