David Partridge Memorial Award Endowment Contributions

In memory of…

Scholarship to celebrate life of fisheries alumnus

By Jamie Creamer

Dave Partridge was one of Graves Lovell’s best buddies. hey met at Auburn University back in 1994, when Lovell was a freshman wildlife sciences major working as a student employee in the AU Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures and Partridge was a graduate student in fisheries management and ecology.

   The two struck up a friendship. In fact, they hit it off so well that Lovell invited Partridge to be his roommate at his dad’s farm near Opelika.

   Both passionate outdoorsmen, they spent probably more than their fair share of time out enjoying nature.

   “We did a lot of hunting and fishing,” Lovell says. “I taught him how to hunt, and he taught me how to fish.”

   Their friendship didn’t fade, either, after both left Auburn—Partridge for a job as a fisheries biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Lovell, after returning to AU for a master’s in fisheries management, in a comparable position with the state of Alabama.

   For Auburn fisheries professor Mike Maceina, the opportunity to really get to know Partridge didn’t come until after Partridge was working in Georgia.

   “I had him in a couple of my classes when he was a student, but after he went to Georgia, we started working on a couple of projects together, and over the years, I got to know him well,” Maceina says. “Whatever Dave did in life, he did it with enthusiasm, energy and a smile.”

   This past February, the 41-year-old Partridge was killed on a snowy night in his native Iowa when his vehicle struck a deer.

   On hearing the tragic news, Lovell and Maceina almost immediately came up with the idea of a scholarship in their friend’s memory. They approached Partridge’s parents, D.G. and Rosie Partridge, with the proposal, and they embraced it.

   “We initially thought about setting up the scholarship through our professional (fisheries) society and making it available to students in Alabama or in Georgia, but Dave’s parents wanted it to be done through Auburn,” Maceina says. “They said Dave thought so highly of Auburn that they wanted it to be specifically for Auburn fisheries students.”

   A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Partridge got a degree in 1988 in business management from the University of Northern Iowa, but the ace angler realized even before he had sheepskin in hand that he should’ve majored in fisheries. So he returned to school, this time at Iowa State University, and got a bachelor’s in fisheries and wildlife biology.

   From there, he worked for a few years as a fisheries technician with the Illinois Natural History Survey, then decided to pursue his master’s degree. And nowhere would do but Auburn.

   “He believed Auburn University was the best place to go for fisheries,” Mrs. Partridge says. “He was really proud to say his master’s was from Auburn.”

   While at Auburn, Partridge’s major professor was Dennis Devries.

   “He was a great student, with a great personality, and did a really solid master’s thesis that led to a nice publication in ‘Transactions of the American Fisheries Society,’” Devries says. “He helped other students on their projects and was a pleasure to have in the lab and associated with our program.”

   Maceina describes Partridge as an avid outdoorsman, conservationist and naturalist, and as someone who is now and will continue to be missed by many.

   “Dave was one of those unique individuals that impacted everyone he knew,” Maceina says. “Whatever he did in life, he pursued it with enthusiasm, energy and a smile.

   “Dave was simply a great person to be around, and being associated with him, either at work, in the field, or doing something in the woods or on the water, was always a good experience.”

   The Partridges have contributed $25,000 to establish the David Partridge Memorial Award Endowment in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student working toward a master’s or a doctorate degree in fisheries management, fisheries ecology or fisheries conservation/biology.

   “The scholarship is intended to help the recipients continue in the career path and ideals that Dave exemplified,” Maceina says.

   To contribute to the endowment, make checks payable to the Auburn University Foundation, and write “David Partridge Memorial Award” on the memo line of the check. Send to Office of Development, ATTN: Chris Gary, 317 S. College St., Auburn AL 36849.

   To make a contribution online, go to https://develop.auburn.edu/ways/.

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