Body of the article
Auburn University’s College of Humanities will honor Delta Air Lines, Inc. and three-time Olympic gold medalist and Auburn alumnus Ambrose “Rowdy” Gaines IV at the 29th Annual International Quality of Life Awards, or IQLA, on Dec. .5 at the Charleston Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina.
The college launched the IQLA in 1994, as part of the United Nations International Year of the Family. Now in its 29th consecutive year, the IQLA has honored individuals and partnerships who have made significant and lasting contributions to individual, family and community well-being locally and around the world. The winners demonstrate a genuine concern for the human condition through their work to improve the quality of life for all.
“Delta Air Lines is a household name and an airline that has stood the test of time. With southern roots and community-minded leadership, Delta is changing lives around the world through education and support. multiple nonprofit organizations,” said Susan Hubbard, Dean of the College of Humanities. “And how do you accurately describe Rowdy Gaines’ contribution to Auburn University and the sports world? humble spirit have proven to be a powerful combination to make the world a better place.”
Past IQLA recipients include Emmy Award-winning artist, author and philanthropist Kathie Lee Gifford, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Rep. John Lewis, Children’s Research Hospital St. Jude, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Ernest Borlaug and PBS NewsHour reporter and anchor Judy Woodruff.
Delta Air Lines, one of the world’s oldest operating airlines, is recognized as a 2022 IQLA Winner for the company’s global community engagement thanks to millions of dollars donated annually and 800,000 volunteer hours from his employees.
Through education alone, Delta now spans 32 Junior Achievement chapters on four continents, serves as the official airline of the National Flight Academy sponsoring more than 1,600 students, and sponsors 28 YMCA chapters on three continents. Additionally, Delta’s widespread community involvement includes helping communities recover from disasters, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, and fighting childhood illnesses and injuries with the Children’s Miracle Network.
The company’s philanthropic footprint aligns well with the College of Humanities’ mission statement to improve the quality of life and change the world.
The IQLA Lifetime Achievement Award is reserved for exceptional individuals who have succeeded in their chosen professions and brought honor to Auburn University and/or the State of Alabama. Past recipients include Apple CEO Tim Cook, former professional athletes Bo Jackson, Charles Barkley, Tim and Kim Hudson and Nancy Lopez, Congressman Spencer Bachus, and musical artists Emmylou Harris and Lionel Richie.
Gaines, who broke a total of 14 world records during his career, brought great pride to the Auburn family as a world-class athlete and one of the greatest swimmers of all time. Along with being a five-time NCAA champion, a member of both the United States Olympic Hall of Fame and the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Gaines is often referred to as “swimming’s greatest ambassador.” .
He has worked with numerous charities including Swim Across America, Rowdy’s Kidz, the USA Swimming Foundation and is Vice President of Partnerships and Development with the Pools and Hot Tubs Alliance. The main goal of his community involvement, often involving free swimming clinics, is to teach children to swim and to understand that anything is possible with commitment and determination.
Since retiring from competitive swimming, Gaines has worked with CBS, TNT, NBC and ESPN as a swimming analyst. At the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Gaines called it her eighth Olympic TV show for NBC.
The IQLA Gala, a black-tie event always on the first Monday in December, is attended by guests from across the country, as well as some Auburn students as part of the IQLA Study Tour. The gala will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the ceremony.
For more information and to reserve a place at the 2022 International Quality of Life Awards, visit iqla.auburn.edu.