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Auburn engineering dean Roberts named university president

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn University trustees named engineering dean Chris Roberts as the school’s 21st president on Friday, selecting him to replace the retiring Jay Gogue.

Roberts, who has been dean since 2012, was left as the lone candidate for the presidency in January after two other finalists refused to visit campus unless they were guaranteed the job.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be named the next president of Auburn University,” Roberts said in a statement. “Having called Auburn home for the past 28 years, I feel privileged to lead this distinguished university as we pursue even greater levels of impact and excellence.”

Roberts earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri in 1990 and advanced degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He began his career at Auburn in 1994 as an assistant professor in chemical engineering and became department chair in 2003 before being named dean.

Roberts was named after a nine-month search. Trustee Wayne Smith, who served as chair of a search committee, said he “could not have been more pleased” with the way Roberts handled himself during meetings on campus before he was appointed.

“We all have every confidence that he is the right person to provide strong and thoughtful leadership that will enhance Auburn’s visibility and impact for the 21st century,” he said in a statement.

Roberts will take over on May 16 for Gogue, who announced his retirement in June. Gogue previously served as president, retiring in 2017, before he agreed to take the position again on an interim basis in 2019.

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