AUBURN, Ala. — Before he was convicted on 12 felony ethics charges, Mike Hubbard used his position as Speaker of the House to support his home city of Auburn and Auburn University. His impact on the city and the university was so great, that many buildings and roads there now bear his name. But the events of last week have many Auburn residents calling for a change.
In 2013, Auburn University opened the Mike Hubbard Center for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Commerce. The $28.8 million, 84,000 square-foot facility houses researchers from the Colleges of Architecture, Agriculture, Engineering, Sciences and Mathematics, and Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. The Auburn Board of Trustees voted to name the building in honor of Hubbard in 2012 after the then-Speaker helped the university secure $14.1 million in state funds to match a $14.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Now, the Board of Trustees must decide if they want to rename the building, which is a complex and multi-step process that may take months or years.
Hubbard’s name is also attached to a major road in Auburn. Mike Hubbard Boulevard is the home of Auburn University’s Cyber Initiative office and the Regional Airport. A petition has already been posted to MoveOn.org to rename the street “Cam Newton Run” after the former Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner. So far the petition has 186 signatures of the 200 needed to send it to Auburn Mayor Bill Ham.
The background for the petition explains the reasoning behind the change:
With exit 57 serving as a prominent gateway to Auburn fans, prospective students, opponents and the like, “Cam Newton Run” recognizes one of Auburn’s most famous graduates and athletes who has served as a prominent and effective ambassador for Auburn both on and off the field. This rename also serves as a way to depoliticize what may be considered by many in this community to be a painful yet imminent name change. WDE and thanks for the support.
The Auburn City Council has already received a number of phone calls asking them to rename the road.
These changes may be the first in a massive fallout from Hubbard’s conviction. He will be sentenced on July 8 and faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.