Decades of leadership in the construction industry and support of education at Texas A&M have netted James R. Thompson ’68 the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor granted by The Association of Former Students.
“Thompson epitomizes, as a visionary leader and as a person of extraordinary character, what a true Aggie is,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture, in a nomination letter.
“His professional leadership, integrity and his contributions and achievements in the built environment, combined with his unwavering personal support of construction science education have had tremendous impact at Texas A&M and in society at large,” said Vanegas.
Thompson, also an outstanding alumnus of the College of Architecture, received the AFS honor at a surprise presentation March 22, 2013 at Texas A&M’s Freedom from Terror memorial during a campus tour that was part of the Class of ‘68’s 45-year reunion. Thompson led an effort by the Class of ’68 to fund the memorial, which was designed by graduate students at the College of Architecture.
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Architectural Construction, he served as an instructor pilot in the U.S. Air Force until 1973, then worked in the construction business for the next 10 years.
In 1983, Thompson founded James R. Thompson, Inc., an award-winning construction firm which focuses on low-rise buildings, renovations and interiors. JRT has earned the Associated General Contractors Summit Award 18 times and the Associated General Contrators Slate Award seven times.
Thompson has funded several endowed scholarships and contributed significantly to the renovation of Francis Hall, the future home of the Department of Construction Science.
“His contribution to the Francis Hall project will enable the department to reach higher plateaus of excellence in learning and teaching, research, and industry engagement, said Vanegas.
Thompson has served on numerous university committees, including the Chancellor’s Century Council, the President’s Board of Visitors, the 12th Man Foundation Advisory Board, the College of Architecture’s Development Advisory Council, Construction Industry Advisory Council, the Association of Former Students’ Board of Directors and the Corps Development Council.
He has also served on search committees for the dean of the College of Architecture and the Department of Construction science head.