Auburn alumni couple give back to their alma mater

By Lauren Winton

Published: Apr 29, 2020 2:02:00 PM

Michael and Kelly Keyser Michael and Kelly Keyser

Michael and Kelly Keyser met on their very first day at Auburn University.

“We both walked in late to Bible study and ended up sitting next to each other,” said Kelly. “We started dating later that month.”

Both Michael and Kelly are from Alabama – Kelly from Birmingham and Michael, Fairhope – and both did not originally plan on going to Auburn. Kelly had anticipated going to a smaller, out-of-state school, and Michael originally thought he wanted to go to school in the Northeast. But like so many others, the couple knew Auburn was the school for them after visiting campus in high school.

“My brother went to Auburn,” said Michael. “I went to visit him before my senior year in high school. I fell in love with it. The people were wonderful and it felt like a family immediately. I left campus and knew it was the place I was supposed to be.”

Kelly’s experience was the same as Michael’s. On the way home from her first campus visit and contrary to what she had expected, Kelly knew Auburn was going to be the right school for her.

“I toured Auburn and was so surprised how much I liked it. It felt like home immediately,” she said.

Kelly — who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics — is a successful dietitian in Mobile, AL. In April, she opened her own private practice – Healthy Weight Nutrition -after working four years at a weight management clinic. And while Kelly was studying nutrition and dietetics, Michael focused his efforts on his passion: engineering.

“My dad and older brothers are engineers,” said Michael. “Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved cars and loved working on them. I’d like to take things apart and put them back together to learn how things work. It was the natural thing for me, to go into engineering.”

During his time in school, Michael double majored in mechanical and electrical engineering, participated in the Co-Op program, and was a Cupola Engineering Ambassador. He graduated in 2015 and accepted a position with Chevron. Michael has continued his career with Chevron, where he works as a designs engineer at the Pascagoula Refinery.

Michael is also a recent new member of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering’s Young Alumni Council. He became involved with the program by first volunteering for the Mock Interview Day.

“Kelly and I feel like we owe so much to Auburn for what the university has given us, and I was excited for the opportunity to give back and help students. It was also a great way to meet other young alumni,” he said.

Through Young Alumni Council, Michael hopes to help future engineering graduates see their full potential and understand the successful career paths they can take with their degrees.

“I really enjoy the mentorship side of the Young Alumni Council,” said Michael. “Helping students to get an idea of what the future looks like and what will be best for their careers … it’s a really rewarding opportunity. I think my experience at Auburn was so great that our goal is to do anything we can to enrich current students’ experiences.”

The Keysers have not only given back to Auburn through their time and mentorship, but also through their generosity. As students, both Michael and Kelly received scholarships. The philanthropic support they received was extremely meaningful to them.

“Every year I had a scholarship because of people who donated to the university,” said Kelly. “These scholarships gave me the opportunity to get involved on campus and focus on my classes. I am so thankful that people who didn’t know me gave money to Auburn so that I could have an amazing Auburn experience.”

“Thanks to the generosity of others before us,” said Michael, “We have so much to be thankful for. We were both initially attracted to Auburn because we had scholarships. Without those funds, we wouldn’t have met, would not have gotten the jobs we have today, and we wouldn’t be in the position we are to give back today.”

The couple are filled with thankfulness for the donors who provided for their education and everything they experienced at Auburn University.

“We feel so fortunate to give back,” said Michael.

Their giving started with an annual scholarship, which they recently transitioned into an endowed scholarship fund.

“We have talked about creating an endowed scholarship for a while,” said Michael. “We had an amazing opportunity to continue our scholarship and transition it into something that would provide for students for the rest of time. It’s a really awesome chance to make a difference, and we hope other young alumni will consider ways to give back to the school that has given us so much.”

Media Contact: Lauren Winton, lmw0090@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

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