Jim (B.A. ’77) and Pam Auchmutey (B.A. ’76) spent their professional lives telling the stories of Atlanta and its institutions.
Jim chronicled the city and its culture as an award-winning reporter and editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) for nearly three decades. He then worked as a freelance writer and authored two books, including “Smokelore,” a popular history of barbecue. Pam wrote for and edited various media at Emory University, retiring as their senior associate director of health sciences publications, in addition to working for the Carter Center.
Thanks to their planned gift to the Georgia State University Library and a pledge gift for its media preservation and storage facility project – a proposed climate-controlled space to safely maintain the AJC’s photo archive of nearly 8 million images, among other items – Atlanta and the region’s stories will be accessed, discovered and told by students and other writers for years to come. The Auchmuteys’ donations will be funded through qualified charitable distributions from their individual retirement accounts and stock gifts.
“Georgia State University Library and its special collections media preservation project are such important pieces for telling Atlanta’s history, a lifelong interest of mine,” said Jim. “Georgia State’s downtown campus is intertwined with the city of Atlanta. Much of the city’s modern history is contained in the AJC photo archive, and this project to preserve these images will make the University Library something of a Smithsonian for the region.”
“Libraries like Georgia State’s are important. They’re where students come together to work on a project, to learn to work together,” said Pam. “It’s a place you go to learn how to tell stories.”
Jim and Pam’s story together all started at Georgia State. Pam was the sports editor at The Signal, the university’s newspaper, when Jim joined the staff. His work as the paper’s entertainment reporter provided the venues for their early courtship: Alex Cooley’s Electric Ballroom in the former Georgian Terrace and the Great Southeast Music Hall, where they had their first date, among others.
Through much of their professional lives, the Auchmuteys gave back to Georgia State in the form of annual gifts. Over the last decade they’ve become actively involved with the University Library by serving on its Board of Advocates, for which Jim is the current chair. Their planned gift is an extension of their commitment to the library and their belief in Georgia State’s mission.
“A lot of Georgia State’s students are from the Atlanta area, and they’re the people who will shape the city and address its issues like education, housing and food insecurity,” said Pam. “Jim and I don’t have kids, so supporting Georgia State is our way of helping and providing opportunities for the next generation. That’s what you do when you have family."