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History of Auburn Art


The Auburn family can be found in all corners of the globe. There are thousands of members, and each one has contributed something unique to the story of Auburn and Auburn University.

But did you know that here in the Loveliest Village on the Plains is a family whose predecessors were original members of the Auburn family? You can find their legacy everywhere – from a name on the football stadium to inside their store on College Street. They are the Hare family, and their history is rooted deep in Auburn soil.

Clifford Leroy Hare was born in 1869 in Oak Bowery, Ala., a community just north of Opelika. In 1888, he began taking classes at Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API), which later became Auburn University. He was a member of Auburn’s first football team in 1892, which played the first intercollegiate football game in the South against the University of Georgia.

“Athletics make men strong, study makes men wise, and character makes men great.”

During his time at Auburn, Cliff L. Hare was very involved in his academics, athletics and the idea of the development of the complete man. After graduating from API and earning his Master’s, Hare returned to Auburn to teach chemistry, chair the Auburn Faculty Athletic Committee, and inspire students to develop into well-rounded citizens of Alabama. He was also the first president of the Southern Athletic Conference, which set the foundation for today’s Southeastern Conference.

Hare served the university and the city in many ways, including as Dean of the School of Chemistry and Pharmacy, a member of the Auburn City Council, a founding member of AuburnBank and as Mayor of Auburn. Today, Auburn University gives the annual Cliff Hare Award to an outstanding senior athlete, and it is inscribed with Hare’s philosophy, “Athletics make men strong, study makes men wise, and character makes men great.” Hare was a true Auburn man, and is remembered as such.

Hare and his wife had six children. Two of their children, Suzel and Joseph Lee, lived and worked in Lee County, Alabama, for most of their lives. Joseph Lee Hare eventually married Salina Wiggins, and they also settled near Auburn to raise their four children.

Cliff Joseph Hare, son of Joseph Lee Hare, called Auburn home beginning at birth. After graduating from Auburn High School, he attended Auburn University and graduated with honors and a degree in mechanical engineering in 1977. Hare followed his Auburn years with an impressive career in the energy business. Today he continues to be a major donor to Auburn University and the Athletic Department. He is also a lifetime member of the Auburn Alumni Association. He and his wife, Grace, raised their two children, Katherine and Clifford, in Auburn.

Today, the legacy of the Hare family is alive and well. In 2011, Clifford L. Hare purchased Auburn Art in downtown Auburn, just steps away from campus. Clifford L. Hare graduated from Auburn University in 2007 with a degree in Industrial Design, and then the Art Institute of Colorado with a degree in photography in 2010, but he couldn’t wait to get back to Auburn to share his love of photography and art with the Auburn community.

Hare says that Auburn Art was always one of his favorite stores to visit in Auburn, so he knew that it was the perfect place to pursue his passion and creativity. The store doesn’t just sell Auburn products – it allows the Auburn Family to come together and relive some of Auburn’s greatest moments and most honored traditions.

Hare loves getting to know the Auburn Family on a personal level. He witnesses grandparents telling their grandchildren about the things they remember from their time at Auburn. He sees the grandchildren dream of the great things they will experience when their time comes to be a student. He hears students tell stories about how they have come to love Auburn, and listens as parents share why they love coming back.

“It is a great thing to be able to hear and share in those memories, and to be able to see the Auburn Family grow as new members walk through our doors each day.”

Auburn Art is not just a store – it is part of the legacy of an original Auburn Family, a legacy that will continue to be an integral part of the Auburn community for many years to come.