The Auburn Creed Goes Global

Photo of Auburn Creed original handwritten, and then poster created in FrenchIn addition to Auburn University’s fight song and alma mater, there is another unifying call to action that has inspired Auburn men and women on to greatness for many decades. It is the Auburn Creed – a set of core beliefs by which the Auburn Family has lived since 1943. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Auburn Creed—penned by Auburn professor and first Auburn football coach, George Petrie

George Petrie (1866-1947), at age 77, penned the now infamous mantra in November 1943. It was then published for the first time by The Auburn Plainsman on January 21st, 1944. A true “Auburn Man” himself, Petrie served the university for 55 years and played an integral role in shaping its growth and future successes. In addition to introducing football to what was then the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama, Petrie is also recognized for enhancing the way the university valued both a liberal arts education and outreach. As a student at the University of Virginia, George Petrie’s undergraduate and graduate studies focused mostly on languages–particularly Latin, Greek, French, and German—as well as moral and natural philosophy.  

November 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of The Creed’s inception. In recognition of this milestone, students, faculty, staff, and members of the public gathered at Pebble Hill for a reading of the Auburn Creed in twelve languages. The translations occurred alongside a corresponding exhibition of posters designed with the various international translations. The project was spearheaded by the faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Department of Philosophy, Korea Corner, Arabic Center, and University Outreach (who provided the translations in in collaboration with the School of Industrial and Graphic Design, who designed the posters). 

Dr. Mark Wilson is the director of Auburn’s Caroline Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Pebble Hill and served as one of the planners of the Creed event. “Dr. Petrie would likely be shocked that the Auburn Creed has become such an important identity statement. Much about the world and Auburn University has changed since he wrote the words in 1943, but some things haven’t changed –specifically, Auburn’s desire to bring together different academic disciplines to see what can be created together."  

According to Wilson, both translators and designers had significant decisions to make about how to render Petrie’s words into another language in a culturally appropriate way, and then how to create a design that would be faithful to that culture as well.  

“Both groups learned more about the Creed as a result, and the event was a fascinating display of what Petrie might call, ‘work, hard work,’” Wilson said. 

“Because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.” This is the final line of the Auburn Creed, which encapsulates the spirit of the university and the values to which it ascribes itself to including hard work, knowledge, honesty, integrity, good health, lawfulness, compassion, and patriotism.


Written by Jaylin Goodwin, a graduate student in communication in the College of Liberal Arts. 

Posters featured in the main image (above) were created by Ashley Barrett, graphic design student in the College of Architecture, Design & Construction. 

Last Updated: October 05, 2018