Rick and Carolyn Salanitri.
The last time Carolyn Salanitri (personnel management and industry relations ’85) saw her grandfather she made him a promise: I will graduate from Auburn University. As Carolyn left her grandfather on that final day, he shouted, “War Eagle!” giving her a parting gift that was both battle cry and encouragement to make good on her promise.
Salanitri earned her degree in business from Auburn and met her husband Richard “Rick” Salanitri, BS industrial engineering ’85. Rick built an impressive career and is currently the president of Delta Flight Products. Both avid Auburn supporters, they have given faithfully to Auburn University for more than three decades through their service on boards and support of initiatives and scholarships that directly impact student achievement.
They established the Richard and Carolyn Salantri Family Endowed Scholarship in honor of Carolyn’s grandfather. Carolyn’s grandfather attended Auburn during the late 1920s, but left to support his family when the Depression hit and there was not enough money for him to return and complete his degree. Though he never graduated, he remained a lifelong Auburn fan and was elated when his son and then granddaughter attended. The academic scholarship is awarded to first-year students enrolled in the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business with the sole purpose of alleviating financial strain so that the recipients may complete their degrees.
“Even a small amount of money can make a huge difference,” Salanitri said. “The impact it has on a student is astounding. To them — it’s everything.”
Time Yields Opportunity
“I'm an out-of-state student from a small town in east Tennessee. I knew I wanted to go to school at Auburn, but it’s no small feat to pay for it,” said Lindsey McCreight, a senior in the accountancy program and recipient of the Salanitri Endowed Scholarship. “The scholarship has given me so much time and flexibility to study, instead of work to afford tuition. It contributed an enormous amount to all of my successes, particularly because it afforded me time to take internships.”
McCreight will graduate in May and continue her studies in the graduate accountancy program. Her summer internship at KPMG’s Atlanta office had led to a job offer in their office upon completion of her graduate degree.
“I interned at KPMG in forensic accounting and that’s what I’ll be doing once I graduate,” McCreight said. “I want to make the Salantri family proud. It touched my heart knowing that they understand how important it is to help students financially. Because of the scholarship, I was able to focus on my studies and take an internship that led to a job offer.”
The Auburn Creed Connection
Alumna Jordan Hanks (supply chain management ‘19), a senior analyst and brand advocate with Home Depot, also received support from the Salantri scholarship while at Auburn.
“It meant a lot to me, because the Salantri’s are so passionate about the education they received at Auburn,” Hanks said. “Rick Salanitri works for Delta Flight Products, so it was important to them to invest in a supply chain student because they had a lot of supply chain associates that lead at his company. I love to see alumni at huge companies, like Delta Airlines, be so passionate and generous to encourage students like me to get their degrees, become successful in the marketplace, and then pay it forward for the next generation.”
Hanks, a twin, was especially grateful because the scholarship helped alleviate financial burden for her parents who were sending two students to Auburn at the same time.
“Don’t ever feel too prideful to apply for scholarships. Our alumni embody The Auburn Creed and feel driven to give back to students,” she said. “Auburn students and the university would not be who we are without alumni and other donors that come alongside us to give these scholarships.”
Delivering on a Promise in Perpetuity
The Salanitris’ generosity has impacted not just McCreight and Hanks, but many other student scholars at Auburn. The joy for the Salantri’s is in watching those students fulfill their dreams.
“Auburn did so much for us as individuals. It shaped who we would become, who we are now. It had that effect on our kids, who also attended Auburn,” Salantri said.
“Rick and I recognize that we have been blessed beyond measure in our lives. Neither one of us ever came from any kind of money and to be able to give back is important to both of us,” Salanitri said. “To me, the endowed scholarship is the most amazing thing that we can do to give back because it goes on forever. Our gift will help students finish their education long after we’re gone.”