Dr. Auburn, president emeritus of the University of Akron and the 30th recipient of the Polsky Award, epitomized the spirit and purpose of the award through his 46-year commitment to the university, the city, and local and national philanthropic organizations.
Dr. Auburn came to the University of Akron as its 10th president in 1951. Over the next 20 years, he tirelessly drove its development from a relatively small, municipally owned institution into a large, diverse, state-supported university with an enrollment of nearly 20,000. He rallied tremendous local support for the university, and he laid the groundwork for the cooperation between the university and the city in encouraging campus and downtown development.
Today, the University of Akron is a recognized leader in polymer research and engineering that draws students from all over Ohio, the nation and the world.
The Polsky Award Committee looks for dedicated members of the community who have given far more of themselves than could reasonably be expected. These are the qualities that the award's nominating committee saw in Dr. Auburn. "Each recipient is held to a very high standard of excellence, for making a lasting impression on the community. Dr. Auburn certainly meets those criteria," explained Karl Hay, committee chairman.
In presenting the award, former Akron Community Foundation President Clifford Isroff said, "Dr. Auburn has been a recognized builder of education and the community, which substantiates his being honored with the Bert Polsky Humanitarian Award."
In accepting the award, Dr. Auburn remarked, "There are three reasons why I am delighted and elated to be the recipient of the Bert Polsky Humanitarian Award. First, I had the great privilege of knowing Bert Polsky. To receive the award that bears his name, the name of a true friend, makes this occasion most special. Second, having been around all these days, I've had the privilege of knowing each and every one of the previous honorees. I feel humbled to be in their company. The third reason for my deep appreciation for this honor is because it reflects credit on the University of Akron."