Auburn University’s animated and adored mascot, Aubie, will officially turn 32 years old next month on Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. Aubie has been bringing the spirit and pumping up the crowds of Auburn fans since 1979.

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The Aubie we know and love today is slightly different from the original Aubie that fans were introduced to in the 1950s. Aubie first entered the Auburn world as a cartoon character illustrated by artist, Phil Neel. Neel’s cartoon figure had its premiere on the cover of the Auburn/Hardin-Simmons football program on Oct. 3, 1959.

Beginning in the 1970s, Aubie was no longer only a cartoon character. The same business that created costumes for The Walt Disney Company got to work on a costume for Auburn’s beloved mascot. The final Aubie costume cost Auburn contributors $1,350. Aubie proudly sported the costume for the first time during the Auburn vs. Vanderbilt football game at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center on Feb. 28, 1979 .

Most Auburn fans refer to the students who “were the Aubie mascot” during a particular year, simply as “Aubie.” After speaking with an “Aubie” from the 2009-2010 season, we found they prefer to not be referred to as “Aubie.”

Andy Gilliom, a former “Head Aubie,” said they like to be known as “former friends of Aubie” instead. 

“We like to call ourselves former friends of Aubie since Aubie lives on long after we have graduated and moved away from Auburn,”  Gilliom said.

Gilliom added that Aubie embodies the Auburn spirit.

“More than anything else he [Aubie] totally embodies the Auburn spirit, especially as an Auburn gentleman, " Gilliom said."You know he loves to flirt with the ladies and he’s great with kids. He is a cultural ambassador of goodwill for Auburn University, even to Alabama fans.”

Auburn fans are most familiar with Aubie at all of the athletic events, but he is also readily available and happy to give back and be part of the community. Gilliom said his favorite part of being a former friend of Aubie was taking him [Aubie] out for community appearances and giving back to the fans.

So keep a lookout for our furry friend, whether you are at a nursing home, music festival or any other charitable or Auburn event.

Aubie has committed and contributed so much to Auburn University, so make sure to send him a “Happy Birthday” shout out on Feb. 28!

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