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Brothers with shared love for Auburn Engineering establish scholarship

By Lauren Winton

Published: Mar 2, 2022 3:00:00 PM

Mark and Mike Ogles Mark and Mike Ogles

Just minutes after saying goodbye to his brother for the last time, Mark Ogles, ’89 electrical engineering, met a stranger who reminded him of the power of the Auburn Family.

“We were leaving from saying goodbye to Michael at the hospice facility, and we got stuck in traffic. The truck beside us honked – I guess he’d seen our Auburn car tag – and he held up an Auburn mug. He rolled his window down, and I did the same, and he told me ‘War Eagle!’ and then asked why we were all the way up in Tennessee,” said Mark. “I told him why we were here – visiting my brother in hospice – and he asked for his name so that he could pray for him.”

It was one of those moments in his life when Mark was more than proud to be an Auburn alumnus.

Brothers Mark and Mike Ogles attended Auburn University around the same time and graduated in the same year. Two of the first in their family to go to college, they decided on Auburn because of the Auburn Family and the atmosphere on campus.

“I knew I always wanted to be an electrical engineer,” Mark said, “Although I was raised an Alabama fan, it was when I went to my first Iron Bowl and sat in the Alabama student section with friends from home that I realized I was truly an Auburn fan. I think the experience was similar for Michael.”

Mike Ogles, ’89 mechanical engineering, and Mark started their engineering degrees in different years, each taking a slightly different approach to their education. One brother took every other semester to co-op; the other came in to pursue a degree a little later but stayed focused on coursework. Mike attended school consecutively until he finished, a full-time student without taking off any quarters. Both graduated the same year.

“It was not a race for us, although it would have been really cool to graduate in the same semester,” Mark said. “Michael inspired me to always do my best, because he always did. Anything he did, he did 110%. It was a great example for me both in college and during my career. He was the person who reviewed and edited the proposal I created to start my company. Whatever success I had, he was there and a part of it.”

After Auburn, Mark went on to work in the aerospace engineering sector and founded Freedom Information Systems, Inc., a NASA program and information systems company. Mike started his career after Auburn in the automotive industry, but then later moved to work for Teledyne Brown Engineering in their aerospace division, where he was later promoted to vice president.

For those at the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the name Mike Ogles is familiar and well known. Mike served as the director of NASA Programs for the college until his passing in 2021.

“We grew up in a rural community, Michael and I,” said Mark. “We worked in the garden, cut the grass, had cows and chickens on a two-acre plot. Our dad was somewhat of an organic gardener before that was even a thing. The point is, we grew up in a simple community and because of our Auburn Engineering degrees, we both went on to accomplish things that I never would have imagined.”

Throughout their careers, both Mark and Mike experienced substantial engineering success and recognition.

“Growing up, I never would have pictured myself getting to discuss space craft design with Buzz Aldrin in the hallway at NASA headquarters or getting awarded a public service medal by the NASA administrator. I know Michael would say the same about his engineering success – from helping establish the NCAME Center at Auburn or designing experiments currently on the International Space Station. We were both just kids from North Alabama,” Mark said.

It was because of the ways Auburn changed their lives that both Mike and Mark knew they wanted to create a scholarship for future generations.

“I mentioned creating a scholarship, and Michael wanted to do it together. He liked the idea of a sibling scholarship in electrical and mechanical engineering. When his first cancer treatment didn’t work, the urgency of it went up. He pushed to get the scholarship established as quickly as possible. I’m so glad we established the scholarship when Michael was still alive,” Mark said. “Over my career, I’ve received a few awards. This one just means more.”

Both Mark and Mike recognized the exceptional value of an Auburn Engineering education and the importance of giving back. They established the scholarship with the hope of inspiring future generations of engineers for years to come.

“We wanted to inspire other kids across the country who want to get an engineering degree from Auburn. If we can do it, you can do it,” Mark said.

 

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

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