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Alumnus Receives UIF Award

Alumnus Receives UIF Award

Banner of Steve Thompson

On Friday, April 4, 2014, The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the University of Illinois Foundation (UIF) co-hosted their annual reception and dinner to honor alumni and friends whose support and advocacy has had a meaningful impact on the campus.  The event, called An Evening With Legacies and Leaders, was truly a unique gathering recognized many of the significant contributions to the UIC.

UIC School of Public Health alumnus, Dr. Stephen Thompson (PhD ’00), received the 2014 William E. Winter Award for Outstanding Advocate Leadership.   This award, named for William E. Winter (’42 UIUC), Retired Chairman of the 7-Up Company, UIF Board of Director, and Ambassador for the University of Illinois, honors the volunteer who has shown extraordinary leadership in supporting the development goals of the University of Illinois.                      

Dr. Thompson began his career as a UIC volunteer in 2008 after his faculty mentor, Dr. Bernard Baum, passed away suddenly. In Dr. Baum’s absence, Steve felt the need to reconnect with the school for the first time in eight years since his graduation.  In that short period of time, he has begun to build a legacy that will undoubtedly impact the School of Public Health and UIC for decades to come.

Shortly after reconnecting with the school, Dr. Thompson was invited to join the Alumni Board.  He immediately became a first time donor to the school and, the next fall, he took over as Vice President.  When a few months later the President of the board resigned, Dr. Thompson gladly accepted the responsibility of leading the board. He inherited a board that did not have a focus on fundraising and he quickly set out to develop new roles and responsibilities that put a strong emphasis on fundraising, idea generation and building meaningful connections between the school, alumni and external entities.   Under Dr. Thomnpson’s leadership, the board reached 100% giving for the first time in the school’s history.

Steve inspires the next generation to give back. In each of his commencement speeches, he has stressed the importance of all alumni, even the most recent graduates, to give back to the university. At the school’s 40th anniversary gala celebration in April 2013, he delivered a very powerful speech to his fellow alumni.  Part of his presentation included these words:  “I ask that all alumni, ALL alumni of this school to give back, whether it be time, talent, and/or treasure.  I can speak from personal experience that the work of this alumni at this school at this university is one of the most rewarding and meaningful endeavors I’ve ever undertaken.  I urge all of the alumni here tonight to get involved in whatever way you can.  You’ll never work with a finer group of people.”

According to Craig Hyland, the school’s Assistant Dean for Advancement, “Steve’s leadership is starting to inspire the next generation of alumni donors.”  The school’s new   Recent Graduate Council has asked to participate in the fundraising of the school. “This would not have happened if not for Steve,” says Hyland.

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