Dr. Thompson leaves behind a legacy

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some of the most prominent members of our community gathered to honor Dr. Jean Thompson Sunday at the Wendell Mitchell Conference Center on the Greenville campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

There was Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams, Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce President William Johnson, LBWCC Foundation President Jerri Stroud.

There was LBWCC President Dr. Herbert Reidel, President Emeritus Seth Hammett and Greenville Campus Director Dr. Jim Krudop.

State leaders included Sen. Wendell Mitchell and Rep. Charles Newton — and in Newton’s possession, a proclamation of honor from Gov. Bob Riley.

Of course there were many more, including a host of family and friends.

To command the respect of so many influential men and women is impressive.

The program for Thompson’s retirement reception tells part of the story. An abbreviated version of her prolific resume spans two full pages.

There are numerous honors and recognitions from her 17-year career with LBWCC following a 34-year career with DKalb County Schools/DeKalb College.

There are professional associations, many of which she served as president. There are even more accomplishments, councils and honor societies.

Her local involvement is almost overwhelming. Thompson has a distinguished history with the Rotary Club of Greenville, including being named that organization’s first female president and a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.

She has served the L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, the Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society, Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, Sasanqua Garden Club of Greenville and the Greenville Arts Council.

She’s active in the First United Methodist Church of Greenville and also sits on the Greenville City Council.

The list goes on. But Thompson’s greatest legacy, perhaps, is tied to her work as an educator.

The influence she has had on so many people, young and older, was mentioned by nearly all who gave tribute Sunday.

It’s a legacy of service above self. And even if a mere fraction of those she has touched carry on that legacy, then our community has a very bright future.