More than 400 acres owned by longtime Auburn University football coach Pat Dye will be donated to the school, including Dye’s main house, a guest cabin, lodge, pavilion, gazebo, two barns and nursery office.
“We had been longtime supporters of Auburn University through our charitable trust and in hosting fundraising events, and the timing was right to make the gift,” said Nancy McDonald, Dye’s longtime partner and retired nursing educator at Auburn University at Montgomery.
The Auburn University Real Estate Foundation is holding the 415-acre property known as Crooked Oaks on behalf of the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment. Auburn plans to continue operating an event venue on the property and to expand its use for student instruction and community outreach.
“We both knew we would donate the farm to the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment and seeing the work CFWE leaders have done since accepting the proposal, I could not be more confident that the land will be valued and held to the standard Pat and I always wanted to see,” McDonald said. “I feel his spirit in this, and I know what’s happening is something he would be proud of.”
Pat Dye Jr. said the gift would have pleased his father.
“Given everything that Auburn has done for dad and our family, he would be thrilled to know that Auburn will be great stewards of his beloved farm, hopefully for many generations,” he said.
Dye began developing the property in 1998 and continued to do so until his death in 2020. The land includes ponds, pastures and woodlands that include Japanese maples, azaleas, camellias, boxwoods, gardenias and many other plants.
“To me, living on this place is like living in paradise,” Dye wrote of Crooked Oaks in his 2014 book, “After the Arena.” “The good Lord created it and then I just put a few touches on it so I can enjoy it and appreciate it, because no one can paint a picture like Mother Nature.”