First black-athlete to graduate to be awarded with Lifetime Achievement Award at Auburn University


Auburn, Alabama- Actor, writer, speaker and communications consultant, Thomas Gossom, Jr., who helped desegregate Auburn football and later became the first African-American athlete to graduate from Auburn University, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the University on March 2, 2019.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes recipients for outstanding achievements in their professional lives, personal integrity and stature, and service to the university. It was established in 2001 to honor extraordinary accomplishments by members of the Auburn family. Recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards are selected by a committee of Auburn administrators, trustees, faculty and alumni.

Thomas Gossom, Jr was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1952. Following his dream to play football at Auburn University, Gossom arrived in 1970 and walked-on to the football team. Within 10 months, he earned a full scholarship and became a starting wide receiver for the Tigers from 1972-1974. He received his Bachelor of Arts in communication in 1975, becoming the first black athlete to graduate from Auburn University.

“I’m honored,” said Gossom. “Having begun my adult adventure at Auburn University, this recognition is the culmination of the commitment, investment and faith it has taken to propel me forward on my life journey,” he concluded.

Gossom has starred in several films and television shows, including Fight Club, Jeepers Creepers 2, NYPD Blue, Containment, and In the Heart of The Night; and has written his published memoir, Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University.

He is the owner of Best Gurl inc, providing customized assessment, strategic initiatives, leadership development, and keynote solutions for corporations, education, and non-profits.

Through 2016, Gossom served as the Chair of the Auburn University Foundation Board where he oversaw the successful Billion Dollar Campaign. He currently serves as a Director on the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients and the Young Alumni Award recipient will be honored at a dinner and induction ceremony on March 2, 2019, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

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