The Honorable Sidney S. Eagles, Jr., will be the featured speaker at the 113th annual commencement exercises of Barton College in Wilson, scheduled for Sunday, May 17. Now retired as Chief Judge for the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Judge Eagles served as a judge of the North Carolina Court of Appeals for over 20 years. He currently practices law in the Raleigh office of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP. A past chair and vice chair of the Barton College Board of Trustees, he served on the College’s Board of Trustees for 24 years, retiring in fall 2014.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome the Honorable Sidney S. Eagles, Jr., as Barton College’s featured speaker for the 113th commencement exercises this spring,” shared Dr. Norval C. Kneten, president of Barton College. “It was a privilege for me to have Judge Eagles, as chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, to preside at my inauguration ceremony over a decade ago. And, it is most fitting that he will participate in this last official college ceremony during my presidency at Barton. Judge Eagles continues to enjoy a distinguished law career, and he served this state and its N.C. Court of Appeals for over two decades with great dignity and civility. He also served Barton College and its Board of Trustees with much distinction. As one of my last duties as president, it will be my great honor, on behalf of Barton College, to bestow upon Judge Eagles the Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, during this year’s commencement exercises.
Born in Asheville and reared in Saratoga, Judge Eagles is the son of the late Mildred Truman Brite Eagles and the late Sidney S. Eagles. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University and a Juris Doctor degree from the Wake Forest University School of Law.
Early in his professional career, Judge Eagles served in roles as Revisor of Statutes, special deputy attorney general, and as Counsel to the N.C. Speaker of the House. He regularly argued cases before the N.C. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. He also has argued in the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. In addition, he served for 32 years as an adjunct professor in the Campbell University School of Law.
Judge Eagles has served in distinguished leadership roles for numerous organizations including, but not limited to, the American Bar Association, the Executive Club of Raleigh, the North Carolina Bar Association, and the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh. His professional memberships have extended to the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Association of Defense Lawyers, the Wake County Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and the 10th Judicial District Bar. An active member of Hillyer Memorial Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Raleigh, he has served his church as an elder, deacon, trustee, and chair of the board. He also currently serves on the Wake Forest University School of Law’s Board of Visitors and has served as president for the Wake County Bar Association and the 10th Judicial District Bar.
Among his many recognitions, Judge Eagles has been presented with the James Iredell Award for service to legal education by the Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity chapter at Campbell University. He was named the Kiwanian of the Year in 1988. And, in 1982, Wake Forest University School of Law named Judge Eagles as the school’s Alumnus of the Year. In 2008, he was presented with the Joseph Branch Professionalism Award by the Wake County Bar Association, which recognized Judge Eagles as an attorney who best exhibits the qualities of professionalism displayed by the late Joseph Branch, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. In 2013, Judge Eagles was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.
A retired Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, Judge Eagles was honored with the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit.
He currently makes his home in Raleigh with his wife, the former Rachel Phillips of Nashville, Tenn. They have two adult daughters: Virginia Brite Eagles of Raleigh; and Judge Margaret Phillips Eagles, who also makes her home in Raleigh, with husband Don Carlos “Trey” Flowers III, and their son, Charles Thornton Eagles Flowers.