Four Auburn University graduates, all highly accomplished in their fields, have been selected to receive the Auburn Alumni Association’s highest honor at Auburn’s Awards Dinner and Ceremony for all of their 2022 achievements on February 26. The association will also honor its Young Alumni Achievement Award winner.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recipients for 2022 are Diplomat James “Jim” Bullington ’62, Major James “Jim” M. Hoskins ’81, William “Bill” McNair ’68 and Anita Gentle Newcomb ’76. The recipient of the Young Graduate Award is Dr. Erin McCreary ’15.
Diplomat James “Jim” Bullington
Retired diplomat, former ambassador to Burundi
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bullington was a first-generation student when he enrolled at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, in 1957 at age 16. In 1962, he received his bachelor’s degree in science and literature and went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1969.
During his senior year at Auburn, Bullington passed the highly competitive U.S. Foreign Service Examination and began his diplomatic career immediately upon graduation. His first posting was in 1965 in wartime Vietnam, where he served as Vice Consul in Hue, Staff Assistant to Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge in Saigon, and Deputy Provincial Representative to the Joint Civil-Military Program counter-insurgency in Quang Tri. In 1968, Bullington and his Vietnamese fiancee, Tuy-Cam, were trapped for nine days behind enemy lines in Hue during the Tet Offensive before being rescued by US Marines.
During his 34-year career, Bullington served in eight countries in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. For 27 of those years, he was a career foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department and served as the dean of the department’s highest-level training program. He was appointed United States Ambassador to Burundi by President Ronald Reagan and later served as Director of the Peace Corps in Niger. Bullington was called back to diplomatic duty in 2012 to lead a State Department effort to help end a 30-year-old insurgency in Senegal.
While in Auburn, Bullington was the editor of The Auburn Plainsman, and in 1961 challenged school segregation through editorials and news stories, often resulting in backlash from community members and of the local Ku Klux Klan. Adopting pro-civil rights stances was a key factor in launching his foreign service career. Bullington and his wife have two daughters.
Major James “Jim” Hoskins
Chairman and CEO, Retired, Scitor Corp.
Hoskins earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1981 and embarked on a career in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer, eventually rising to the rank of major while serving as a leader in the intelligence community. American. His government and military experience included key assignments at the Air Force Cryptologic Depot, National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and Central Intelligence Agency. In recognition of his contributions to the defense and intelligence community, he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Service Medal from the Director of Central Intelligence, the Bronze Medal from the Director of the National Security Agency, and two Senior Service Medals of Defense from the Secretary of Defense.
In 1994, Hoskins retired from the Air Force and joined Scitor Corp., one of the nation’s leading providers of engineering services to the intelligence community. He rose through the company to become president, then CEO and chairman of the board of Scitor. His vision, leadership and experience helped Scitor grow from annual sales of $16 million to over $600 million, employing over 1,700 employees.
Hoskins is a founding member of the Auburn Research and Development Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing scientific and technical research in the state and improving the region’s economic development. He is a past member of numerous Auburn boards and executive committees and a member of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Bertha ’80, have a son, Alexander, who graduated from Auburn in 2010.
William “Bill” R. McNair
Retired Vice President of Network Operations, BellSouth
McNair received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1968 and went on to earn an MBA from Auburn University in Montgomery in 1977 and a master’s degree in management through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Fellows program in 1986.
McNair’s 33-year career in the telecommunications industry began as an engineer with South Central Bell in 1968. He held positions in the engineering, operations, human resources and marketing organizations of company before retiring from BellSouth as Vice President of Network Operations. McNair was instrumental in securing BellSouth funding for Auburn’s Minority Engineering Program, which was designed to increase the recruitment and retention of minority engineering students.
McNair and his wife, Lana, established the McNair Auburn Creed Scholarships, the McNair Ever Auburn Scholarship, the McNair Distinguished Professorship at Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and the McNair Endowed Postgraduate Scholarship at Auburn University at Montgomery College of Business. The couple’s contributions supported the construction of the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology, supported Auburn’s underrepresented students, and were instrumental in establishing the new Academic Advisory Office at the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center.
McNair has served on numerous Auburn boards and executive committees. For his professional achievements and commitment to engineering education, McNair was inducted into the Alabama State Engineering Hall of Fame in 2010. He also received the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Distinguished Auburn Award Engineer, the Department of Electrical Engineering Outstanding Alumni award and was recognized as one of AUM’s Top 50 Alumni in its 50and anniversary in 2017. The McNairs have two children, Kelly and Scott ’92, and six grandchildren.
Anita Gentle Newcomb
Independent Director, Luther Burbank Corp.
Newcomb graduated from Auburn in 1976, earning an accounting degree, with honors, from the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. She received her MBA with a concentration in finance from the University of Houston in 1987.
Newcomb served for 20 years as President of AG Newcomb & Co., a strategic consulting firm that provided customized strategic and financial solutions to community and regional banks across the United States. She serves on the board of Luther Burbank Corp. in Santa Rosa, California, where she is chair of the audit and risk committee. From 2010 to 2015, Newcomb served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond-Baltimore.
In her more than three decades in the banking industry, Newcomb has established a national reputation as an expert in regional and community banking business patterns and trends. She has worked on a wide range of financial and strategic initiatives for institutions of all sizes and charters. She is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at national and state banking conferences, board retreats, and symposia. Early in her career, Newcomb served as president, CEO and board member of ACB Business Partners, the for-profit subsidiary of America’s Community Bankers, a national banking trade association. She spent 10 years in investment banking and strategic consulting with three national companies and was vice president of strategic planning and senior mergers and acquisitions at Security Pacific Corp. in Los Angeles, then the fourth largest bank in the country.
Newcomb has served Auburn in various volunteer leadership roles and in 2013 was honored as the School of Accounting’s alumnus of the year. For 15 years, Newcomb served and chaired the Advisory Board of the Harbert College of Business and served on the Women’s Leadership Advisory Council at the College of Liberal Arts. She has a daughter, Rachel, who graduated from Auburn in 2010.
Dr. Erin Kristin McCreary
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; director of Stewardship Innovation, UPMC and Infectious Disease Connect
McCreary attended Auburn from 2008 to 2015, earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science and a doctorate in pharmacy in 2015 from the Harrison School of Pharmacy. During her studies, she served as class president. After graduating, she completed two years of residency training at the University of Wisconsin Health.
In 2018, she joined the team at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as an infectious disease and antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist at Presbyterian Hospital. McCreary transitioned to a system-level role at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. She also joined Infectious Disease Connect to establish and grow telemedicine services and was later promoted to Director of Innovation in of stewardship. She served as Chair of UPMC’s COVID-19 System Therapeutic Committee, responsible for all COVID-19-related therapeutic guidelines and IT support in a 40-hospital academic learning health system.
McCreary has established a robust monoclonal antibody infusion system (over 50 infusion sites) and serves as principal investigator for REMAP-COVID and OPTIMISE-C19, two large adaptive integrated platform trials evaluating key treatments for patients with COVID-19.
During her short time at UPMC, McCreary led several key initiatives with far-reaching clinical and economic impact. McCreary serves on the board of the Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists and has held numerous leadership positions in several national medical organizations. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts, developed multiple treatment guidelines, and presented professional presentations at the state, national, and international levels.
This story originally appeared on the Auburn University website.