Thompson Spirit Award perpetuates legacy of Auburn enthusiasm


AUBURN UNIVERSITY – A recent charitable gift to
Auburn University will forever immortalize the love and enthusiasm shown
for Auburn by alumna Debbie Thompson during her lifetime. The Debbie
Thompson Spirit Award will celebrate those same traits best exhibited by
the member of the university's War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen
organization selected as the award's annual recipient.

The Debbie Thompson Spirit Award, created by her husband Michael
Thompson and Auburn alumni Will Herring and Ashley Thompson Herring,
honor the memory of Michael's wife and Ashley's mother Debbie. Mrs.
Thompson, a 1976 graduate from Auburn's College of Education, was well
known for her campus involvement as an undergraduate.

The Thompson's began their professional
careers in Birmingham, where Mrs. Thompson taught in an urban elementary
school. She frequently received recognition for her excellence as an
educator and was an overwhelming favorite among parents. The couple
relocated to Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas and Louisiana before
returning to Alabama. During these years, Mrs. Thompson remained a loyal
Auburn fan and returned to campus for athletic events as often as

The award honors a member of the War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen who
personifies Mrs. Thompson's love for Auburn athletics and genuine
enthusiasm for the university. Competitively selected from among
Auburn's student body, War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen serve as Auburn's
official hostesses and hosts, often providing a variety of services or
assisting with numerous events in conjunction with the President's
Office, Athletics Department, the Office of Development and other
administrative and academic units.

The inaugural recipient of the Debbie Thompson Spirit Award is Molly
Anne Dutton, a junior from Birmingham. Like Mrs. Thompson, Dutton is a
campus leader, serving Auburn through duties with the Student Government
Association and Student Recruiters, in addition to those as a War Eagle

“Mrs. Thompson displayed the essence of being an Auburn woman and
nothing would give me more pleasure than to follow in her footsteps,”
said Dutton, who received the 2012 award prior to kickoff of the Sept.
15 Auburn/Louisiana-Monroe football game.

The Thompsons' daughter Ashley, who graduated in 2007 with a degree
in communication, contributed to the creation of this award with husband
Will, a 2006 exercise science graduate, Auburn football standout and
current linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. Because Mrs. Thompson was
a beloved member of the Auburn Football Lettermen Club family, the
Lettermen Club also helped to establish the award.

Additional tax-deductible donations in support of the Debbie Thompson
Spirit Award may be made through the Auburn University Foundation
either online at, or through the other methods outlined at

(SOURCE: AUBURN UNIVERSITY / Contributed by Michael Tullier.)

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