Next Story

Creating a family legacy at Auburn

By Bethany Deuel

Published: Aug 19, 2022 7:55:00 AM

When Janice and the late Blaine Thrasher attended Auburn University—then Alabama Polytechnic Institute—in the mid-1950s, tuition, room, board and books totaled $325 per quarter. Though 70 years later, much has changed around Auburn, their family has continued their Auburn legacy through an annual scholarship.

Following in their parents’ footsteps, Janice and Blaine’s daughters, Andre’a and Natasha, both studied at Auburn in the 1980s. Andre’a pursued a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and Natasha a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. Both were involved, accomplished students, and Andre’a took her first post-graduation job at a chemical company in Decatur.

While in Decatur, Andre’a met her husband, Joel Reagan. Though a fellow engineer, Joel graduated from Tennessee Tech with a master’s in chemical engineering. But his differing diploma did not stop his new found love of Auburn. Married to Andre’a, he was quickly introduced to the Auburn family. The couple would visit Auburn for football games and Joel was able to experience the atmosphere and the people of Auburn firsthand.

After living around the southeast, the Reagan family chose to move to Fairhope where their twin daughters Addison and Kelsey graduated high school. Andre’a refrained from pressuring them to attend Auburn but after a campus tour, the girls fell in love.

“I wasn’t going to say a thing,” Andre’a said. “I was going to let them tell me if they enjoyed the tour. You could just tell how great the atmosphere was as soon as we started walking to the tour. They got to see how friendly everybody was and there’s so much tradition here at Auburn that they talk about on the tour.”

Now, the Reagans have just celebrated the graduation of their daughters from the mechanical engineering department at Auburn. Reflecting on the legacy his in-laws created at Auburn, Joel started looking for ways to honor them.

“I wanted to give back to somebody, and we wanted something that would memorialize Blaine and honor Janice,” he said.

Lt. Commander Roger Blaine Thrasher, an industrial management student in ROTC, graduated from Auburn at 19 and joined the Navy as an officer. He served as a pilot for 13 years before his death in an aircraft carrier takeoff accident off the Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1970. Andre’a and Natasha were only 5 years and 11 months old, respectively.

Joel remembers how meaningful it was when Addison and Kelsey received scholarships, rewarding their hard work in high school. He wanted to create an opportunity for another student to experience that joy.

“It just makes your day,” Joel said. “Maybe there’s somebody who is really struggling who will get this scholarship and be able to keep going.”

The Blaine and Janice Thrasher Annual Scholarship, benefitting a chemical engineering student at Auburn, has also impacted Janice in a meaningful way.

“I’m just honored. It’s a worthy cause,” she said.

 

Media Contact: Bethany Deuel, bcd0048@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

Recent Headlines