Vandegrift Award

Once each year a single co-op student is chosen to receive the Frank Vandegrift Award.  This award recognizes Auburn's most outstanding engineering co-op student for the year.

Frank Vandegrift

May 12, 1924 - March 27, 2001

View Award Recipients


Frank Vandegrift was born in Birmingham, Alabama.  He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1948 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  In 1949, Frank received a Master of Arts degree from Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. During World War II, Frank served in the US Army for three years in the Pacific area. In 1944, Frank married Catherine Franklin of Birmingham, Alabama.  He served as an industrial missionary of the Presbyterian Church in the Belgian Congo from 1950-1960, and upon returning to the states worked as a Distribution and Industrial Power Engineer for three years with Alabama Power Company.

For the next twenty years, Frank was employed with the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) Program at Auburn University, serving as its Director from 1966 until his retirement in 1984. Frank served as chairman of the Cooperative Education Division (CED) of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) as well as President of the International Cooperation Education Association. His awards in the field of Cooperative Education include the Alvah K. Borman Award and the Clement J. Freund Award from the Cooperative Education Association (CEA); the Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award for Service to mankind by the New York Southern Society at Auburn University; and the Award as Father and co-founder of the Alabama Cooperative Education Association (ACEA). In 2006, Frank Vandegrift was inducted into the Cooperative Education Hall of Honor.

Frank was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church and served on the Board of Trustees of the Medical Benevolence Foundation while doing technical and construction work at Presbyterian mission hospitals in Zaire (Congo) and Kenya during 1985-1997. Approximately 100 gifts of iron sculpture artwork crafted by Frank hang in homes, churches, libraries, and University locations. Frank and Catherine had one daughter, Frances Osteen.

Information courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle, March 29, 2001