Since Dr. Thompson joined UO in 2010, enrollment at the University of Oregon has reached record levels. Total enrollment is at 23,634 students, and the entering classes since 2011 set UO records for academic quality as measured by high school grade point average and standardized test scores. In addition, those same entering classes were the most diverse in the history of the institution in terms of ethnicity and socio-economic status, surpassing the ethnic diversity of the state of Oregon. The 2016 entering class set new records for ethnic and racial diversity with 31 percent of freshmen coming from domestic minority groups, compared to 17 percent prior to Dr. Thompson’s arrival. With 39 percent of our new resident students eligible to receive federal Pell Grants, the 2016 entering class is also notably more economically diverse. The number of new freshmen entering through the PathwayOregon program, which has been recognized by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, has increased by nearly 75 percent since the redesign of the program and over 30 percent in one year from 2014 to 2015. Through this model program that pairs financial aid with a robust, on-going advising component, 721 low-income Oregonian new freshmen students and nearly 2,300 total students received $3.6 million in aid for 2015-16. International enrollment reached record levels in 2011, 2012, and 2014. Upon Thompson's arrival at the UO, new international freshmen students comprised five percent of total enrollment. Today that percentage has increased to seven percent. The freshmen-to-sophomore retention rate has increased to 88 percent, another university record. Especially noteworthy is that scholarship support for students has also risen dramatically during Dr. Thompson’s tenure. More than $82 million new dollars from individuals and foundations have been gifted to the Student Services and Enrollment Management division for student support.
Prior to arriving at the UO, Dr. Thompson served as the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management and Special Advisor to the President at Indiana University in Bloomington. During his four-year tenure at IU, the university not only reached record enrollment, growing from approximately 38,000 students to more than 42,000 students, but the quality of the freshman class grew to the highest level in its history, including a 100-point rise in average SAT scores from 1103 to 1203. Additionally, new financial aid programs were developed and implemented to help low- and middle-income families with the cost of attending college, and the university undertook a new approach to merit-based scholarships. The signature institutional aid program, 21st-Century Scholars, was recognized by the College Board as a model for effectiveness in addressing college affordability.
Dr. Thompson also served at the University of Alabama, prior to beginning at IU, for nearly nine years in a number of roles in Enrollment Management, eventually becoming Chief Enrollment Management Officer as Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management. In every year he was responsible for enrollment, the institution set records for total enrollment, entering freshman class size, academic quality, and diversity, including a growth in African American enrollment of nearly 50 percent. Dr. Thompson was also recognized for his contribution to the university by receiving the Robert Vance Award, named in recognition of the leadership provided by federal Judge Vance who was instrumental in enforcing desegregation in the South in the 1960s. While in his position as a faculty member of the UA Graduate School, Dr. Thompson served on several doctoral dissertation committees in the higher education program. He was also awarded lifetime membership to the UA National Alumni Association. Dr. Thompson also served in a number of capacities at the University of Southern California for nearly eight years, and prior to his tenure at USC, worked in student affairs at several other institutions.
Dr. Thompson has been a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences throughout the country and has published in the areas of college choice, student persistence, student success, and affordability issues in higher education. He also serves on the Editorial Board for the higher education journal College and University and on the Advisory Board for the national publication Enrollment Management Report. He is a member of the National Council on Enrollment Policy and Planning and led the formation of an informal AAU group of Chief Enrollment Management Officers, which he chairs. Dr. Thompson also serves on the statewide Board of Directors for Special Olympics Oregon.
A native Oregonian, Dr. Thompson earned a BA in Broadcasting from California State University, Long Beach; an MS from the University of Central Missouri; and a Doctorate in Higher Education Policy and Administration from the University of Southern California.