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        Harbert College of Business, Marketing, Student, Supply Chain Management

        Finishing Strong: Auburn swimmer selected as Harbert's spring 2024 graduation marshal

        April 12, 2024 By Madilyn Ford

        All News


        Kensley Merritt graduation marshal

        Kensley Merritt, Harbert College of Business's spring 2024 graduation marshal.

        Kensley Merritt, supply chain management senior and Auburn women’s swim team captain, has been selected to represent the Harbert College of Business as the graduation marshal in the spring 2024 graduation ceremony on May 5th. A prestigious honor, marshals are selected for their leadership, citizenship, character and promise of professional ability.

        During her collegiate swim career, Merritt made the 2021 All-Freshman Team, was named SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Week this past fall, swam in the Women’s NCAA Championship in March, securing All-American Honors for her final meet, and made the CSC Academic All-District Team this April.  

        A dedicated student, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA in Harbert’s supply chain management program while also minoring in marketing. She said she was inspired to pursue supply chain after witnessing the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on supply chain processes of various businesses.

        “I think supply chain was 100% the best fit,” said Merritt, who originally intended to major in interior design, “I’m very Type A, a very organized person, and I like to plan and see things from beginning to end.”

        Merritt is pleased with the opportunities supply chain opened for her, particularly with an internship at Lowe’s last summer, which allowed her to apply her classroom knowledge in the real world.

        Kensley Merritt at Lowe's Internship

        Merritt at Lowe's internship in Charlotte.

        Merritt’s internship search was a little more complicated than the average student, as she had to find a swim team that she could train with. Fortunately, Department of Supply Chain Management’s Internship Coordinator Joshlyn Bess and Program Champion Alex Ritenbaugh guided her to the Lowe’s internship in Charlotte, North Carolina. Near her hometown of Huntersville, Merritt was able to live with her older sister and train with her old club team SwimMAC Carolina ensuring she could have a strong senior season upon returning to Auburn in the fall.

        “I had the best manager and mentor I could have asked for,” said Merritt, who admitted being slightly intimidated by the male-dominated work environment at Lowe’s. “I learned so much and they were so patient with me, I never felt bad about asking questions.”

        According to Merritt, a major focus of her internship was with aged inventory from 2020. Analyzing their millwork inventory with various software programs, she was able to distinguish what needed to be marked down and what needed to be donated. She presented her report to Lowe’s vice president of merchandising at the end of her internship.

        Merritt said she also learned a lot from various Lowe’s employees during her internship.

        “Especially women in supply chain, there are a small amount of us, so having each other's back and understanding how they got to where they are was great,” said Merritt about the connections she made in Lowe’s.

        As captain of her swim team, Merritt has demonstrated her leadership abilities by facilitating better relationships between the coaches and team members and organizing team bonding experiences, including a Christmas service project designed to help local families in need. Merritt and her swim team were able to help parents select and wrap Christmas presents for their children through Giving Hope, a project run by the Church of the Highlands.

        “That was incredible. Just to see our team in an experience like that, realizing how much you have and how grateful you are was rewarding,” said Merritt, who is also involved with the church’s college ministry, ONE, and 252 Leadership Program.  

        Kensley Merritt at swim meet

        Merritt poised and ready to win.

        Merritt attributes her ability to juggle swimming, her course load, and involvement to time-management skills she learned early on from her sport and the endless support she received from her parents and older sisters, who were also collegiate swimmers.

        “The women on this team are there to build you up and hold you while you are crying,” said Merritt, describing the similarly supportive nature of her team.

        “This is truly one of the biggest honors I could have ever gotten at Auburn, to be able to do everything in swimming and still be able to get a degree in a field of study that I love and that I've learned so much in is more than I could have imagined,” said Merritt.


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.