UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State community is mourning the death of Edward N. Thompson, director of development for the Office of Educational Equity, who died Sunday, Oct. 23.
"Everyone feels they've lost a very good friend," said Terrell Jones, vice provost for Educational Equity, said. "Ed was so positive about the University and everything he was doing. He always had a smile on his face, and was probably the most optimistic man I've known."
Jones said Thompson was getting ready to embark on a fundraising trip to seek support for low-income students. "He also has raised money to support veterans, and students with disabilities," Jones said. "He brought lots of new donors into the Penn State community to support those groups. He was a really hard worker, and was able to sell support for the University so well because he really believed in what he was selling."
Thompson joined Penn State in 1999 as a client development manager for Outreach and Cooperative Extension. He also was a marketing instructor for the Continuing Education division. He served as an Administrative Fellow in 2003-04.
Thompson chaired the Forum on Black Affairs’ Membership Committee in 2003, and served as the organization's president in 2004-05. In 2004 he joined the Development Office as associate director of development for the Office of Educational Equity, and later was promoted to director of development for the office.
He served as a team leader for the Diversity Action Team in Outreach, and worked on the unit's Staff Subcommittee for Diversity. In 2003 he chaired the Forum on Black Affairs’ Membership Committee.
Thompson was a “Fast Start” Program mentor, providing guidance to a Penn State freshman, and in 2003 he won a Vice President’s Award for Diversity and Public Service, for his commitment to creating a welcoming climate for all Outreach employees.
Before coming to Penn State, Thompson was senior account manager with Cadtel Systems Inc. in Phoenix, and before that he was vice president in charge of the wastewater treatment division at Chemtrans/Avalon Environmental Management in Los Angeles. Thompson also has held positions in pharmaceutical sales and in marketing. Thompson holds an associate degree in business administration from Harrisburg Area Community College; a bachelor's degree in marketing from Drexel University; and a master's degree in marketing and business from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.