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President candidate wants to create a welcoming atmosphere on campus
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President candidate wants to create a welcoming atmosphere on campus

Jay Gogue, Auburn University President, announced in June 2021 that he would be retiring from his current position following his second term. Chris Roberts is the University’s single candidate for the vacant Gogues position. 

Roberts will be Auburn University’s 21st President if he is elected. 

Roberts is currently the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s dean. He came to Auburn in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree from Missouri and a master’s in chemical engineering from Notre Dame. 

He stated that he felt a connection with Auburn when he was first interviewed for the University’s faculty in 1997. 

It was like dropping the mic right away when I arrived on campus. I spent some time with the people. Roberts stated that I knew this was the place I wanted to be. I was interviewing someone and they gave me a copy. That evening, I sat in the hotel and read the Auburn Creed. And I thought, “This was amazing.” This school has a defined set of values. It is helping to define the culture. It was all around me. It was that moment that I fell in love. I worked very hard to get to Auburn.

Roberts stated that he felt a warmth in Auburn during his first visit and was immediately drawn to the town’s quintessential college town. 

Roberts was chair of the department of chemical engineering for 10 years. He has also been dean of the college engineering for the last 10 years. 

Roberts stated that his role as dean has allowed him to interact closely with students and faculty. 

Roberts stated that the college aims to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. These are the things I really want: for every student to be able talk, and for faculty and staff to feel that way. 

Roberts stated that while serving as dean, his position also offered opportunities that will benefit him in his role as president of the University, if elected. 

Roberts stated that his experiences have given him a solid foundation for his presidency. As dean, I have seen firsthand the impact Auburn has on our society and people. This has given me the opportunity to connect with many of our constituents, including alumni, community leaders, students, and faculty.

Roberts stated that he believes that the relationship between the president of a university and the student body should be one where both feel heard. 

He said that the importance of a relationship between the university president and the audience is crucial in both directions. It’s crucial that the president keeps in touch with his students and has open channels of communication. This allows him to hear their thoughts and dreams and help them to reach their goals. … On the other side, I believe it’s vital for our students that they know that their president is listening.

Roberts will be available for the public in several open forums on Jan. 20-21. Roberts will be visiting Auburn University and Auburn University Montgomerys campuses. These meetings are open for students, faculty, staff, stakeholders, and others.

The Plainsman will continue to cover Chris Roberts and the University’s presidential election in the coming days.

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