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Auburn University accepts gift of Pat Dye’s farm

Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment and the Auburn University Real Estate Foundation have accepted a gift of 415 acres of Crooked Oaks Farm, which once belonged to Auburn Football coach Pat Dye.

The farm in Notasulga, Alabama, includes Dye’s main house, a guest cabin, lodge, pavilion, two barns and a nursery office, according to a press release from the university. The CFWE will use the farm for an outdoor classroom space as well as an event venue and outlet for community outreach, according to the release.

“We both knew we would donate the farm to the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment and seeing the work CFWE leaders have done since accepting the proposal, I could not be more confident that the land will be valued and held to the standard Pat and I always wanted to see,” Nancy McDonald said. She was Dye’s longtime partner and retired nursing educator at Auburn University at Montgomery.

According to the release, Dye began developing the property in 1998 and continued to enhance it until he died in 2020 of kidney and liver failure.

“The good Lord created it and then I just put a few touches on it so I can enjoy it and appreciate it, because no one can paint a picture like Mother Nature,” Dye wrote in his 2014, “After the Arena.”

Following McDonald’s retirement, the couple worked to make the farm into a retreat and sanctuary for wildlife and rescued dogs, cats, donkeys and horses, according to the release. 

The Dean of the CFWE, Janaki R.R. Alavalapati, said the land will have a large impact on the students at Auburn University.

“Our college is well-known for the experiential learning opportunities we provide for our students and this property will not only allow us to increase those offerings, but will also help us engage with our broader community and the state,” Alavalapati said.


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