What does it mean to be an Auburn man or woman? It’s very difficult to put into words, even for someone like me who seldom knows when to shut up and listen. It’s a feeling deep within your heart that has grown there for years, influenced by others with a love of Auburn and the sometimes long ago experience of improving ones education. Auburn is a place of many memories that grow better as the years pass just as fine wine ages in a dark cellar, some day to see the light of day and savor the rewards of time. Just a return to the campus is enough to refresh the mind and the spirit of those who love and cherish Auburn.
In 1945 Professor George Petrie wrote the Auburn Creed, which has since been recited and lived by Auburn Alumni throughout the world. Dr. Petrie is very well known in Auburn lore, being the first Alabamian to earn a PhD degree, a Professor of History and Latin, and organizer of Auburn’s first football team among other things. I like to imagine that Dr. Petrie may have initially scribbled the Auburn Creed on the back of a church bulletin on a Sunday morning, because the message of the Creed comes directly from numerous books of the Bible. The Creed is as follows:
I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.”
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
-George Petrie (1945)
I’m certainly far from perfect, but I believe in that Creed and the principles stated within. I try my best to live daily by the words in that simple statement. There are those that’ll say I fall short of that goal and I wholeheartedly agree. We are to strive for perfection, but it’s a goal that’s never obtainable, the best that we can do is make the journey one that best fulfills the Auburn Creed and the parallel truths of the Bible. Knowing that we have done our best and imparted these truths upon our children and grandchildren is, in the end why we were placed on this earth.
That’s not to say we can’t have a little bit of John Wayne or Teddy Roosevelt in us when defending the integrity of our family, friends, or Auburn University.
The image above is of Samford Hall, one of the oldest buildings on the Auburn campus. The famed Toomer’s Corner Oak’s are just off camera to the right. This image was taken on the morning of January 22, 2010, as many Auburn fans gathered on a cold, windy day to celebrate Auburn’s victory in the BCS Championship Game twelve days earlier. It was a very good day to be an Auburn man.
Auburn University Class of 1975