Citizens of the Year

Each year, the Auburn Rotary Club recognizes a local resident as its “Citizen of the Year.” In some instances, a couple, a business or organization has received this honor. Citizens of the year are honored for their contributions to the betterment of the Auburn community through their work in their particular vocation, or contributions made to the general Auburn community.

Citizen of the Year 2017 Dr. and Mrs. Jay Gouge
Dr. and Mrs. Jay Gouge, Citizens of the Year 2017

When Jay and Susie Gogue moved to Auburn in 2007, “Gogue” was barely a household word, and neither likely would have been stopped in the aisles of a local grocery store. Ten years later — at its Wednesday, Jan. 10 meeting — the Auburn Rotary Club celebrated the Gogues’ decade-long legacy of bettering Auburn University and the city it calls home by naming the couple as its co-citizens of the year.

In presenting the award on the behalf of the club, Citizen of the Year Committee Chair Martee Moseley said “Team Gogue” was a well-deserved moniker often used by locals referring to the couple’s community impact.

To mark the honor, the Gogues received a framed certificate noting that their civic contributions have bettered the Auburn community and modeled Rotary International’s tradition of “service above self.” In addition, the Auburn Rotary Club made a $1,000 contribution to a charity of the Gogues’ choice, which was the Food Bank of East Alabama.

“Every once and a while, we talk about the Auburn Experience — the words we use are ‘compassion with action.’ As a community, this place has tremendous passion, and it’s where we do something about it,” Dr. Gogue said when accepting the award on behalf of himself and Mrs. Gogue. “It’s quite an honor that you recognize both of us, and we’re most appreciative.”

Dr. Gouge's 10-year tenure as Auburn University President was marked by increases in student enrollment, the research enterprise and outreach partnerships.

The Gogues’ dedication to supporting the community outside Dr. Gogue’s day-to-day duties as president equally endeared the couple to the community and created an enduring legacy for the university and the community alike. Their shared vision for a world-class performing arts center that would benefit both the university and city led to the naming of the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center in their honor. Construction of the performing arts center is expected to be completed by August 2019.

Auburn Rotarians nominate candidates for this honor, which is bestowed annually each spring. Nominations are reviewed by the club's Citizen of the Year Committee, which makes a recommendation to the club's board concerning that year's honoree.

Those recognized by the club with this special honor are also presented with a Paul Harris Fellowship. Below are those individuals, couples, businesses and organizations that have been honored by the Auburn Rotary Club. When available, details of the honoree's award presentation can be found by clicking the honoree's name.

If you have someone you'd like to recognize and nominate for their outstanding service to their community, please contact a Rotarian and let them know!

Past Recipients of the Auburn Rotary Club Citizen of the Year Award

2016Lolly Steiner
2015Dr. Mary Burkhart
2014Ted Wilson
2013Mike Kosolapoff
2012Bill Ham - Mayor of Auburn
2011The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
2010Dr. Dell Crosby & Mercy Medical Clinic
2009Dr. David and Debbie Smalley
2008Rev. Cliford Jones
2007Dr. J. Terry Jenkins
2006David Marsh
2005Frank Tolbert
2004Dr. George H. Mathison
2003Martha Faupel
2002Dr. Jimmy Matthews and Carolyn Matthews
2001Dr. J. Wayne Flynt
2000Dr. Taylor Littleton
1999Pete B. Turnham
1998Dr. Douglas J. Watson
1997James K. Haygood Jr.
1996Dr. Edward R. Richardson
1995Lee Co. Habitat for Humanity
1994Dr. James E. Foy
1993Dr. H.C. Morgan
1992East Alabama Medical Center
1991The Rev. Charles Britt
1990Ed and Sally Bagwell
1989Tommy Goff
1988Neill Davis
1987Jan Dempsey
1986C.H. McGehee
1985Dr. Wilford Bailey
1984Dr. John Jeffers
1983Auburn National Bank
Citizen of the Year 2016 Lolly Steiner Citizen of the Year 2014 Ted Wilson Citizen of the Year 2013 Mike Kosolapoff 2012 Citizen of the Year 2011 Citizen of the Year 2008 Citizen of the Year 2009 Citizen of the Year

Rotary Community Grants

In 2017, the Auburn Rotary Club awarded $31,050 in grants back to the community.

Find out about that program.

Thank you to our 2017 Citizens of the Year

Jay & Susie Gouge

Read more »

The Auburn, Alabama Rotary Club meets each Wednesday at noon in the banquet room of the Saugahatchee Country Club:

3800 Bent Creek Rd
Opelika, AL 36804
Phone: 334-749-3441

Committed to Humanitarian Service, High Ethical Standars in All Vocations, Peace & Goodwill