James D. Mantooth, Ph. D.
Walking onto Auburn’s campus for the first time can leave anyone with a special feeling. A huge reason that this university has a reputation of a family atmosphere and a willingness to reach out is because of the great people that make up Auburn’s staff. For Dr. Jamie Mantooth, working alongside students of Auburn everyday is something he loves to do. With his inviting spirit and diligent mentality, Dr. Mantooth works extremely hard to make each student’s experience the best it can be. Approaching his eleventh year as a staff member, it is clear how much of an impact he has been to the Auburn Family.
How did you get involved with working at Auburn and what were some of your expectations coming in as a new staff member?
When I decided what I actually wanted to do for a living, I decided to go to graduate school at South Carolina and focus on Education Administration. I graduated and when it came time to search for jobs, I knew I wanted to stay somewhere in the southeast. I heard that Auburn had a great reputation and found out that they had an opening for the job I was interested in. I started working in September 2000 and I didn’t really know too much about Auburn or anything about their culture. When someone said War Eagle to me, I had no idea what to do. To be honest, I thought that I would be at Auburn for 3 years and move on. Auburn just has a way of holding onto you.
How many different departments have you been involved with at Auburn? Which have been the most enjoyable and which have been the most challenging?
I have been involved with 3 different units: Greek Life, Freshman Year Experience, the Dean of Student’s Office, which no longer exists, and the Division of Student Affairs. The most enjoyable was Freshman Orientation. I had a lot of fun training the new leaders and spending time with the new students and their families. The atmosphere during Orientation was great and it was important for us to make that time exciting for the new families and help them adapt to the Auburn environment. I would have to say that each unit was challenging at different degrees. For Greek Life, we had to teach and stress good behavior. Currently, it is hard because I have to handle more with administrative issues, which doesn’t allow me to interact with the students as much. I am still getting used to the fact that I’m now more behind the scenes.
What are some of the future projects and ideas that the students can expect to see on campus within the next year?
We are working extremely hard on the new Health and Wellness Recreation Center that will probably be done in time for our current freshman and sophomore classes to use. Another plan that is still in the talking stage, is to eventually try and make Auburn a smoke-free campus.
What are some of the advantages of working alongside students everyday?
There are so many advantages to working with students. Our students here at Auburn are so smart and chime in with new ideas all the time. This is very encouraging. It is also nice to hear the refreshing ideas that students have. Some of these ideas are actually really good. Working with students everyday keeps our division sharp. Another advantage is getting to make relationships with these students and watch them develop into great people.
What does the “Auburn Family” mean to you?
When I think of the Auburn family, I envision a family that is not just what you see on campus. It is so much bigger than that and expands to all over. It provides you with a great feeling when you’re traveling and have something Auburn on and someone gives you a War Eagle at the airport. You really get a sense of comfort that welcomes you that cannot be explained. Auburn is a place with an inviting environment where I really feel comfortable raising my family.