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At its 92nd Annual Scholarship Convocation on Oct. 8, Tuskegee University honored Aubrey and Suzanne Johnson with its Parents of the Year Award. The couple, who reside in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are both graduates of the university and the parents of Erin Elizabeth, a senior pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, and April Ailean, a sophomore majoring in animal science.
This year’s honorees both earned bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee in 1990. Aubrey’s career has included operations, field service, and project and facility management for a number of utility and manufacturing environments. Suzanne parlayed early career experience as a practicing mechanical engineer into a teaching career that has focused on STEM disciplines and has spanned more than a decade.
“As products of Tuskegee University, this couple have worked tirelessly to advance the legacy of Mother Tuskegee while making a difference in their community through promoting STEM disciplines and nonprofit philanthropy,” said Dr. Faye Hall-Jackson, head of the university’s Department of Management, who nominated the Johnsons for this award.
Both have used their careers as platforms to make a difference through creating opportunities for others through their service to community organizations, their respective fraternity and sorority, and numerous educational organizations. Their volunteerism with several philanthropic activities has ranged from increasing scholarship opportunities for prospective college students to funding the services of organizations like the United Way and March of Dimes.
“They’ve made it no secret as to where they were groomed as young adults at Tuskegee University,” said Anthony J. Sanders, president of the Iota Psi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., of which Aubrey is a member. “They have been strong advocates of education and certainly of their alma mater….While their community and organizational impact has been great, it has always come second to their responsibilities as parents. It has never been a question as to where their priorities lie when it comes to family.”
The Johnsons have demonstrated time and again their loyalty to Tuskegee University. Both have been instrumental in recruiting several students — in addition to their daughters — to attend the university. Since 1990, the couple have not missed a single Tuskegee University homecoming weekend. And, as members of the university’s Eminent Associates donor giving society, the Johnsons used the Scholarship Convocation as an opportunity to present Interim President Charlotte P. Morris with a charitable donation in support of the Eminent Associates’ current giving campaign.
“Tuskegee has been instrumental in both our personal and professional development,” Aubrey said. “Much of whom we've become is because of the love and support of our families; and the invaluable lessons we learned at ‘skegee.”
“We are excited to see our daughters have a similar experience: pride, tradition and excellence,” Suzanne added.
The university’s Office of Student Affairs presents the Parents of the Year Award annually to one or more parents or grandparents (biological or adoptive), or legal guardian of a currently enrolled student or graduate of Tuskegee University. The office receives nominations from students, employees, alumni and friends of the university. To be eligible, nominees should have provided significant financial or other resources to at least one student in support of his or her educational needs while attending the university. Furthermore, nominees should be involved actively in community services and/or community development-related projects that work to improve the quality of life for others.
© 2017 Tuskegee University