Auburn, Ala. - There is a certain feeling that comes with being present at Auburn’s Call-Outs: sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach and a whole lot of nerves. It was no different for Kathryn Kennedy around 10 p.m. on a rainy Tuesday in February, as she waited to hear if she would be named Miss Auburn 2018.
“I can remember all these hands being placed on me and being crowded,” said Kennedy of the loud crowd that surrounded her after her name had been called. The night immediately turned into a night she would never forget, surrounded by her friends and family. Kennedy received a bouquet of white roses presented to her by previous Miss Auburn, Ashley Moates, followed by the ceremonial singing of the Alma Mater by the War Eagle Girls and Plainsman as they circled around their new Miss Auburn.
This long process began for Kennedy in the fall of 2017, when she was nominated by the Student Government Association to be their candidate for Miss Auburn. After her first-round interview, Kennedy was named one of the top 20 candidates, and was soon named as a top 5 candidate. Immediately following Christmas break, campaign season was ready to start.
This year, Miss Auburn campaigns were set to focus on a line of the Auburn creed as opposed to a philanthropic platform. Kennedy’s line of choice reads as follows: “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.”
“That line of the creed has been my favorite ever since I learned it freshman year,” said Kennedy, after citing the line straight from her memory. “To me, everyone wants to experience this human touch, and the human touch can be felt in so many different ways.”
On campaign week, Kennedy and her team took to Auburn’s campus with their slogan, “Kathryn Kennedy Can.” They used this week as an opportunity to bring joy to Auburn’s students and show them how they can spread the human touch.
“Every day Kathryn made the campaign not about herself and her own gain, but rather she always thought of the students first and the best way to interact and represent them,” said Jodee Flurry, Kennedy’s campaign manager.
Kennedy finds that the human touch line of the creed is of the utmost importance in the lives of Auburn students because of how simply it can be lived out. She also finds that this line is what makes the Auburn family so special. Kennedy’s hope is to spread the human touch throughout Auburn’s campus, encourage Auburn students to always show support to others and always be grateful for the support shown to them.
“Small tasks in our day to day life really impact people, like listening to someone, encouraging our friends and helping them out,” said Kennedy.
Since there is no tangible platform like there has been in the past, Kennedy wants to make sure that she is constantly exemplifying this line of the creed.
“Kathryn is selfless, seeking others needs before her own,” said Rebekah Kennedy, Kathryn Kennedy’s twin-sister and campaign member. “She makes sacrifices in order to serve those around her.”
As Miss Auburn, Kathryn Kennedy is the official hostess of Auburn University. As a War Eagle Girl, Kennedy works events such as development events, alumni events and athletic events. She is given opportunities to meet with different campus administrators and looks forward to making herself available to them throughout her time in this position. Kennedy is also excited to use this platform to reach out to other organizations in the fall.
"I am looking forward to all of the different people I get to meet who I may not have met otherwise,” said Kennedy. “When you’re living it (the creed) out, others can see. I want to make sure I am holding myself to a high standard whenever I am doing Miss Auburn things or even when I’m not.”
So far, the biggest part of Kennedy’s job has been working as a War Eagle Girl, along with the other selected War Eagle Girls and Plainsman of 2018. This has given her the opportunity to work fun events like the AUSPY’S (Auburn’s athletic awards) and A-Day. She has also already begun speaking with administrators on what this upcoming year will bring her.
“I have really learned, and this sounds so cheesy and cliche, but to love Auburn even more. Not everyone gets to serve Auburn in this way,” said Kennedy. “I have also gained a really big appreciation for the school and its administrators who do a really good job serving the students.”
Kennedy is grateful for several experiences Auburn has given her that have prepared her for this position. One of the biggest experiences that helped Kennedy feel comfortable taking on this position, was serving as a parent counselor in Camp War Eagle because of how it prepared her to interact well with adults and parents.
Other roles Kennedy feels have helped her be able to take on this position were her roles as assistant director and director of Freshman Forum. Kennedy explained that these roles gave her confidence to speak in front of other people and her peers. They also helped her learn to value friendships with people who have different opinions from her.
“Everyone in Freshman Forum has different experiences and views. I get to see what they value in Auburn and in their experience,” said Kennedy.
Kennedy hopes that this role will prepare her to be more adaptable and teach her to be flexible with her schedule.
“I have definitely learned how to be confident in myself. I don’t have this whole staff around me so it falls on me to take initiative when I think something needs to be done,” said Kennedy. “And it has helped me with my time management skills.”
Kennedy is excited to see where this role takes her in the future. However, she has already seen a part of the amazing impact it has had on her life.
“My favorite part (of the campaign) was getting to spend time with the people who supported me. It was really cool to see people rally behind me because none of them were required to or expected to,” said Kennedy. “Seeing the love and encouragement from them meant the world to me.”
Life as Miss Auburn has only just begun for Kennedy, but she has had no hesitancy to take on this role with her passion and drive. Kennedy has already demonstrated that this role is far more than a title for her, but a commitment to serving the university.
“Her love for Auburn runs deep, and her desire to serve this University is abounding,” said Rebekah Kennedy. “She embodies what it means to be a true Auburn woman.”