June 17, 2005 was truly a landmark day for all Auburn Knights, past, present and future. The Auburn University Board of Trustees unanimously enacted a Proclamation congratulating the Auburn Knights on our Diamond Anniversary, 75 years at Auburn.
The Hotel at Auburn University ballroom was packed with faculty, press, and interested parties when Auburn University President Ed Richardson read the Proclamation. Mayor Steve Means had arranged the event, but was unable to attend, so Jack Dresher and Hank Elliott substituted.
The Proclamation was historical, informative and congratulatory. After reading it at the podium, President Richardson presented the blue-ribbon bound parchment original to Jack Dresher, who accepted for the Auburn Knights.
Jack responded with the following truly inspirational acceptance message:
“On behalf of the Auburn Knights Alumni Association, I want to thank the Auburn University Board of Trustees for this Proclamation honoring the Auburn Knights Orchestra and their 75 years of providing dance music on campus and throughout the southeast.
I also want to thank Debbie Shaw, Interim VP for Alumni Affairs of Auburn University, for her recognition of 75 years of continuous music on our campus provided by the Auburn Knights. We don’t believe there is a college or university who can lay claim to this longevity of a college dance band in the U. S.
And, I especially want to thank Betsy Robertson, our new Editor of the Auburn Magazine, for the outstanding article and pictures of the Auburn Knights in the spring 2005 edition. Her research and interviews enabled her to present a very accurate history of the Auburn Knights. Founded in 1930 when the college was API, the Knights filled a void as there was not a dance band on campus. Our alumni include doctors, lawyers, corporate CEOs, space engineers, and one mayor.
I would like to add a few comments about what the Auburn Knights Alumni Association does for the current college version of the Auburn Knights Orchestra. In 1988, we filed for and received a section 501(c)(3) tax exempt status certificate. We began setting up memorial scholarship funds in honor of deceased Auburn Knights Alumni. To date, we have received total contributions of $55,858.47 and have awarded 37 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,500 totaling $27,700.00. To be eligible to apply for a scholarship, the student must be enrolled at Auburn University as a degree seeking student, be an active member of the Auburn Knights Orchestra, and have a GPA of 3.00 or better. We have also assisted the current band by purchasing sound equipment, instruments, vans, music.
Again, thank you for this Proclamation, and I want to invite each of you to attend our biggest and best reunion honoring our 75th birthday. It will be held on July 29 and 30th at the Auburn Marriott Lodge in Opelika. We will feature 4 era dance bands on Friday and 4 on Saturday. Admission for each night is $7.00 each. If you like big band music, join us for 2 great evenings.
Class of ‘54″
Immediately, the loudest and longest applause of the day burst out. It was if the audience was applauding generations of Auburn Knights!
We plan to display the original Proclamation, Jack’s acceptance speech and pictures of the event at the Reunion. All in all, it was a remarkable, historic event of which all Auburn Knights can forever be proud.
Many thanks to Hank Elliott for reporting on this event.