Governor Robert Bentley Monday announced his appointments to the Auburn University Board of Trustees, among them long-time Trustee Bobby Lowder. Current trustees Jimmy Rane, Sarah Newton, Charles McCrary, Byron Franklin and Virginia Thompson are also being recommended for another term.
Bentley's office said nearly 200 individuals were nominated for consideration to nine positions that are open or will soon be open on the Board.
"We're fortunate that so many highly-qualified men and women in the Auburn family are eager to serve," said Bentley, who is president of the university's governing body.
Bobby Lowder, the most controversial appointee of the group, retired from the CEO position of Colonial BancGroup after nearly 3 decades just months before its historic collapse in 2009. He's been on the Auburn Trustee Board since 1983. Lowder moved to Auburn, which allowed him to seek an appointment from a different district. He gained approval 3-2, with Gov. Bentley's support.
Lowder's relationship with the University has been tense at times. Regarded as a powerful, yet secretive AU booster, he's donated millions of dollars to his Alma Mater. He's also received heavy criticism for what was coined "Jetgate", a 2003 trip by Auburn leaders on his plane to Louisville, Kentucky as they sought a replacement to then head football coach Tommy Tuberville.
Jimmy Rane, whom many will recognizes as the cowboy on TV who wears yellow in the "Yella Fella" commercials, is CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, a producer of pressure treated lumber. He's been on the Auburn Board since 1999.
Virginia Thompson is a marketing director for East Alabama Medical Center. She's been on the Auburn Board since 2004.
Sarah Newton is the principal at Fayette Elementary School and has been on the Board since 2004.
Charles McCrary is the President and CEO of Alabama Power. He's been on the Board since 2004.
Byron Franklin is the Chief Care Officer at Faith Chapel Christian Center in Birmingham and was a former NFL wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. He was appointed to the Board during Gov. Don Seigleman's term.
The appointees must be confirmed by the Alabama Senate before becoming final.
Bold indicates a new appointee.
District 1: B.T. Roberts
District 2: Virginia Thompson
District 3: Jimmy Rane
District 3- Lee County: Bobby Lowder
District 4: Jimmy Sanford
District 6: Elizabeth Huntley
District 7: Sarah Newton
District 9: Rev. Byron Franklin
At-Large: Charles McCrary