The Alabama Senate has unanimously confirmed two new Auburn University trustees known for their strong business, leadership and governance experience as well as long-standing dedication to the university.
Zeke Smith will assume the at-large seat previously held by Charles McCrary, and Caroline Aderholt was confirmed to the Auburn University Board of Trustees’ District 7 seat vacated by Sarah Newton. Smith and Aderholt will serve seven-year terms.
“Zeke and Caroline represent the best that Auburn has to offer,” said Bob Dumas, president pro tempore of the Auburn University Board of Trustees. “They were nominated by the Trustee Selection Committee for their impressive credentials and ongoing dedication to Auburn University and its students.”
Smith serves as Alabama Power’s executive vice president of External Affairs and is responsible for Governmental Relations, Corporate Affairs, Regulatory Affairs, Environmental Affairs, Public Relations and Charitable Giving. He also is chairman of the Alabama Power Foundation’s board of directors.
Smith has served across multiple business units of the company, including Marketing, Corporate Planning, Financial Planning and External Affairs. Prior to his current position, he was vice president of Financial and Regulatory Planning, vice president of Regulatory Services and director of Regulatory and Pricing. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Auburn and a master’s degree in business administration from Samford University.
Smith is a member of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, a member of the McCrary Institute Advisory Council, the benefactor of the Zeke and Darlene Smith Endowed Scholarship for Engineering, the benefactor of the Zeke and Darlene Smith Ever Auburn Scholarship, a member of the Keystone Society, a member of the Katherine Cooper Cater Circle of the Foy Society, the recipient of the Industrial and Systems Engineering Outstanding Alumni Award and the recipient of the Distinguished Auburn Engineer Award.
Smith has been recognized with Yellowhammer News’ Most Influential Alabamian Award and was a 2019 inductee into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. He served as chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council and president of the Commission Advisory Council of Innovate Alabama. Smith is a member of the board of trustees of Samford University and the board of directors of the Business Council of Alabama. Smith and his wife, Darlene, have three children, Drew, Heather and Lindsey, and five grandchildren.
Aderholt is an owner, manager and shareholder in family-owned businesses involved in farming and real estate, including McDonald Farms Partnership, Greenbrier Enterprises LLC and Armadale Properties LLC. Since 2012, she has been committee co-chair for The Women’s Events for the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., hosting more than 400 national and 200 international women on behalf of the Congressional Spouses of the United States.
Aderholt graduated in 1990 from Birmingham-Southern College with a double major in political science and business management. Aderholt has strong ties to Auburn University. She is the daughter of Albert McDonald – an Auburn alumnus, former Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, former Alabama state senator and prior Auburn Board of Trustees member from 1996 to 1997. Aderholt’s brother, Stan McDonald, graduated from Auburn in 1983 and was among student leaders who started Legislative Days in Montgomery that allowed Auburn students to lobby the state Legislature on behalf of their university. Caroline Aderholt’s daughter, Mary Elliott Aderholt, graduated from Auburn in 2021 with a degree in public relations, serving on the Student Government Association and as president of Chi Omega sorority. Aderholt and her husband, Robert, have a son, Robert Hayes.
In 1991, Aderholt joined the Metropolitan Development Board, the economic development agency for the five-county area surrounding Birmingham. While there, she was director of Medical Economic Development, being responsible for marketing to prospective companies Birmingham’s growing medical and research assets. Three years later, Aderholt continued contract work for the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the Business Council of Alabama, and in 1996 her husband won a bid for the U.S. Congress from the Fourth Congressional District of Alabama. In 2015, Aderholt joined Concerned Women for America as its chief of staff in Washington, D.C., and later joined its national board of directors. She completed a 12-year term on the University of Montevallo Board of Trustees in 2017 and is on the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
This story originally appeared on Auburn University’s website.