In conjunction with the Bulldogs’ home football game on Oct. 31, 2015 the Wingate University SAAC hosted a Make-A-Wish Day for Forest Hills High School senior Reagan Thomas. Reagan was diagnosed with Chronic Hereditary Pancreatitis when she was five years old. Doctors discovered when Reagan was 11 that she only has one pancreatic duct and confirmed that Reagan had the PRSS1 gene, which is a guaranteed pancreatic cancer gene. Reagan underwent surgery to remove her pancreas, spleen and duodenum, and insulin cells were transplanted into her liver. The SAAC at Wingate revealed Reagan’s wish to go on a Caribbean cruise as well as an array of beach-themed gifts for the cruise. On behalf of the university, Wingate Vice President and Director of Athletics Steven Poston surprised Reagan with a four-year, cost-of-attendance scholarship to attend the institution.
Each year, Florida Institute of Technology student-athletes build relationships with children from The Scott Center for Autism Treatment’s social skills program and Team IMPACT. The athletic program’s varsity sports teams work with children from The Scott Center to develop skills to play sports. Seven of these teams have an honorary team member through the department’s Team IMPACT relationship. On Nov. 7, 2015 during halftime of the homecoming football game against the University of West Georgia, Florida Tech honored children from the two organizations through a promotion called “Special Kids Become Special Panthers.” Sports figure/autism advocate Doug Flutie presented the children with an Honorary Panther medal alongside President Dr. Anthony Catanese and Athletics Director Bill Jurgens.