Student. Athlete. Servant.

Wesley Curles, Sullivan Award recipient from Auburn, excels in the lab, on the field, and in the community


Wesley Curles exemplifies the well-rounded college student. His academic work is top-notch, he supplemented that with a stellar athletic career in track and field, and, on top of it all, made community service a priority. That last part wound him up accepting a Sullivan Award from Auburn University President Steven Leath when he graduated this spring with a degree in biomedical sciences.

“My plaque for the Sullivan award states that ‘nobleness enkindleth nobleness’; this phrase rings true in every area of my life, but especially my time at Auburn University,” says Curles. “I have had the privilege to know and learn from many noble people, and I am honored to receive an award that represents the traits I admire in them.”

Curles’s service work has also been noticed by the Southeastern Conference, which recognized him as the men’s 2017-2018 SEC Brad C. Davis Community Service Award recipient. He excelled in the classroom with a 3.96 overall grade-point-average, as well as in the lab, where he completed research investigating the link between Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes.

While trying to make the world a better place through research, Curles also found time to benefit the community right around him, primarily through Big Brothers Big Sisters, which he served as a mentor through most of his college career.

A runner, and so much more

Curles competes as a member of Auburn University’s Division I Track and Field Team

Since receiving his Sullivan Award, Curles has been recognized yet again with another prestigious honor, an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Fewer than 200 scholarships are given nationwide each year to students with excellent records of academic performance, athletic achievement, and community service. The combination of the scholarship with the Sullivan Award makes Curles a true student-athlete-servant.

“I am truly honored and thankful to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship,” says Curles. “My professors, coaches, classmates and teammates at Auburn have taught me so much, and I am thankful to have them in my life. Because of my time at Auburn, I am confident that I am prepared academically for medical school. Scholarships like this one show that the NCAA is committed to supporting student-athletes, even those who are no longer competing. I could not have asked for a better four years and I will never forget the lessons and people of Auburn University.”

Going the distance

Curles boards the bus with his teammates on their way to a competition

The recognition doesn’t stop there. Curles was named the Phi Kappa Phi Outstanding Senior, and was selected as the 2017-2018 Male Scholar Athlete of the Year at the Spring 2018 Auburn Athletics Banquet. He was also a Rhodes Scholarship nominee in the fall.

A member of the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Academic All American team and recipient of the Southeastern Conference Honor Roll, Curles was also an Academic Top Tiger, a College of Sciences and Mathematics Freshman and Sophomore Award winner, and on the Dean’s List throughout his time at Auburn.

Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Curles was selected by his teammates to captain the 2016 and 2017 squads. He finished fourth in the mile at the SEC Indoor Championships and fifth in the 1500 meters at the SEC Outdoor Championships during his junior year.

From jersey to lab coat

Curles plans to pursue medical school at The University of Alabama-Birmingham in the coming academic year, and will likely go on to do life-changing work as a physician.

“Wesley has been an exemplary student-athlete in the classroom, on the track and in the community during his Auburn career,” says Allen Greene, director of Auburn Athletics. “His accomplishments are lengthy and wide ranging. Wesley has a very bright future and will be making a lasting impact on society.”

This article was adapted from a piece by Wade Berry of Auburn University. To read the original piece or to find other news about Auburn, visit

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