Love for Auburn rings true for two dedicated alumni

By Lauren Winton

Published: Jul 8, 2020 2:02:00 PM

Joyce and Ken Ringer Joyce and Ken Ringer

The loveliest village on the Plains was made even more welcoming when Ken and Joyce Ringer decided to move into town. The couple – both Auburn graduates – lived, worked and raised their kids in Atlanta. But for their golden years, they wanted to be near their alma mater.

“We enjoyed Auburn when we were here for school, and we have stayed in touch with the school for athletics and alumni events. So, I guess we knew at some point we wanted to relocate here,” said Ken.

Ken, who graduated in 1959 with a degree in industrial management (now industrial engineering) met Joyce while working as an editor for the Auburn University’s yearbook, the Glomerata.

“I was a sports editor for the publication in 1957, the year we won the national championship” said Ken. “Joyce was also on staff, and that’s how we met and then went on our first date.”

Joyce also graduated from Auburn – what was then Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) – in 1959 with her degree in education.

“When we graduated, we had a choice – get married or wait three years until after Ringer” – Joyce’s nickname for Ken – “had finished his military training. We decided to get married in December.”

After they were married, Joyce taught for a year and then the couple moved to Germany, where Ken was stationed for three years. They enjoyed their time in Europe, and even gave a “War Eagle!” or two while abroad.

“We lived in this old German city, in a great location only 3-4 hours from Paris,” Joyce said. “Often we would ride through the European countryside, going between different destinations, and even then we would see people from Auburn. It was a wonderful experience.”

After moving back to the States, Ken worked for 3M and Joyce continued on with her education in Atlanta. They were still fiercely devoted to Auburn, with Ken serving on the Industrial and Systems Engineering Council Advisory Board and president of the Auburn University Club in Atlanta.

“I was president of the Atlanta Auburn Club in 1971 when Pat Sullivan won the Heisman award,” Ken said. “At that time, it seemed like Auburn alumni were coming out of the woodwork. We used to have a summer BBQ there and there would be hundreds of people, people joining from everywhere in the metro-Atlanta area to celebrate Auburn. I remember we planned a 200-person party for our Auburn Club. I think more than 500 attended.”

In addition to his involvement as an alumni, Ken’s passion for Auburn inspired him to write a book several years ago.

“No one ever thought I would write a book,” said the engineer. “But it was very successful. The book is about Coach Gene Lorendo, a true Auburn man.”

With a captive audience, Ken’s book sold more than 2,000 copies.

In addition to his successful career, his involvement with Auburn alumni and his book on such a prominent Auburn football coach, Ken has another strong Auburn tie. During his time at the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering – which was then just the College of Engineering – Ken roomed with the college’s now-namesake.

“Sam and I were in the same course of study: industrial management,” Ken said. “We had classes together and he was in Delta Chi. During my sophomore year, he recruited me and when I joined, I roomed with him. Later, we roomed together again in New Jersey. Both Sam and I went to US army signal school. He was there a week before me and we shared an apartment together.”

While Sam went on to work in the private sector, Ken continued his career with the military. But throughout the years, the Ringers and the Ginns remained friends.

“Sam and Ann are such wonderful people,” said Joyce. “Ringer and I are so proud of the way Sam has helped the college. It’s inspiring.”

Like the Ginns, Ken and Joyce have given back to Auburn Engineering through their time, talents and philanthropic support. They have generously given to the Graduate School, College of Education, Athletics and Engineering. The Ringers’ scholarship has made a tremendous impact in the lives of students.  

When asked why they give back, Joyce said:

“We’re so grateful for Auburn. We know we wouldn’t have the lives we’ve had without Auburn. I got my education degree, he got his degree. He had a very successful career. I’ve had a fine career in education and non-profit. We owe it to Auburn. Don’t you think, Ringer?”

A true Auburn man, Ken Ringer agreed.

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

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