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 Thompsons 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 possible.

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 Girl.

“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

(Contributed by Michael Tullier.)

Contact: Jon Waggoner, co-advisor, War Eagle Girls and Plainsmen, (334) 844-7100, (, or
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (