EAGLES students soar on ‘EAGLES Night’ at Neville Arena
A packed Neville Arena crowd took to its feet and cheered just before the matchup between the Auburn men’s basketball team and Texas A&M on Wednesday, Jan. 25. In that moment, though, the fans weren’t cheering for the anticipated play on the court, but instead for students from the College of Education’s EAGLES program.
The EAGLES—or the Education to Accomplish Growth in Life Experiences for Success—program is designed to give students with intellectual disabilities a complete two-to-four-year, on-campus experience at Auburn University, and currently, 24 students are enrolled in the program. EAGLES students gain a full, in-residence college experience while growing their employability skills through partnerships with on and off-campus sites like Auburn Athletics, reality companies, the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center and more.
The campus community and Auburn Family have embraced the EAGLES program, as evidenced by the rousing show of support during “EAGLES Night” at Neville Arena. A grassroots, student-led initiative, in coordination with Auburn Athletics and the Office of the Provost, brought EAGLES Night to life.
As the game tipped off, EAGLES students were recognized on the court, and Wainwright Hood, a second-year EAGLES student, performed the national anthem. In addition, two students—third-year student Grace Davis and first-year student Kendall Royal—performed with the Tiger Paws dance team, and the group of students even got some camera time during the ESPN2 broadcast of the game and met with Coach Bruce Pearl.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who made this night possible for our EAGLES. It’s something none of us will ever forget,” said Betty Patten, assistant clinical professor and Jay and Susie Gogue Endowed Director of the EAGLES Program. “Our students are immersed in all areas of campus life—they are singers, athletes, authors and more. They get to explore their interests and talents with other students around campus, and nowhere was that more evident than in the arena last Wednesday.”
Auburn University's EAGLES students were the guests of honor at the men's basketball game against Texas A&M on EAGLES Night on Wednesday, Jan. 25. (Photo by Camryn Martin)
EAGLES student Wainwright Hood sang the national anthem at the Auburn men's basketball game against Texas A&M on Wednesday, Jan. 25. (Photo by Camryn Martin)
EAGLES students got to meet Auburn men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl on EAGLES Night at Neville Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 25. (Photo by Camryn Martin)
Third-year EAGLES student Grace Davis, left, and first-year student Kendall Royal performed with the Tiger Paws dance team on EAGLES Night at Neville Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 25. (Photos by Camryn Martin)
Auburn men's basketball player Dylan Cardwell, left, greeted EAGLES students on EAGLES Night at Neville Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 25. (Photo by Camryn Martin)
Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.