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Popular myth has it that as a baby Tom was found in a basket on the steps of Martlet House, a small donor pledge card grasped in his pudgy hand. Somewhere under his dark suit, white shirt and modest tie, it's rumoured he has a birthmark in the shape of a martlet, although only his wife knows for sure. Tom Thompson, BSc(PE)'58, MEd'78, is a name familiar to many alumni, especially those who are donors, many of them convinced by Tom to crack open their piggy banks and stock portfolios and give to his favourite cause: McGill.
After 42 years at McGill, Thompson is retiring, and a party was held in his honour at the Macdonald-Harrington Building
in November, with guests that included Principal Heather Munroe-Blum, Chancellor Richard Pound, BCom'62, BCL'67, McGill donors, and friends from across the University community, including his old boss, former Vice-Principal (Development and Alumni Relations) Derek Drummond, BArch'62, who always referred to his portfolio as VP (Spare Change).
"Tom has worked for six McGill principals and during his time he calculates that the University has raised about a billion dollars, but he is first to point out that he is only one of a team of volunteers and staff people that helped to make this happen," said Drummond in his speech celebrating Thompson's long career.
Thompson began in the Department of Athletics as a lecturer in 1962 and soon took on the odd title of Director of Required Sports. He joined the Graduates' Society in 1971 and over the next three decades built the Tom Thompson legend, working as Director of the Annual Fund, Director of Alumni Relations and eventually as Drummond's Deputy Director of Development.
"Although he has never met a wealthy graduate he didn't like and many of them are poorer for knowing Tom," joked Drummond, "he is devoted to the entire McGill community -- students, staff and alumni.
"He has seen it all -- nothing, nobody, seemed to rattle him. Angry donors, irate deans, distraught principals -- he's seen and dealt with them all, never losing his cool. He has been the heart and soul of Martlet House, the one who we all turned to time and time again."
But before any graduates decide to come out of hiding in the donor protection program, be forewarned. Tom's "retirement" will in fact involve his working part-time as a consultant on special fundraising projects related to the coming capital campaign.
In recognition of Tom's long commitment to McGill, the Tom Thompson Athletics Award has been established to recognize the achievements of student athletes who are entering any undergraduate degree program and who qualify to be members of intercollegiate teams. For more information, contact Jonathan Levey at email@example.com, (514) 398-3576. Or you can just wait for Tom's inevitable phone call.
It sounds like a philanthropist's dream come true: a canny fundraising idea will allow you to "Adopt a Cheerleader" and help McGill. Cheerleaders have a unique position among our athletes: they work hard to keep morale high at McGill Redmen football games and will appear next semester at hockey and basketball outings, but they are also highly competitive in cheerleading competitions, practising 12 hours each week while maintaining their academic grades. A proud McGill cheerleading squad returned from the national competition in Hamilton in December, having won gold in the collegiate all-girls stunt competition and bronze in the small co-ed/all-girl division.
Fundraising is a necessary part of belonging to any McGill sports team and, while the wrestlers raise funds by working security, our cheerleaders manage to capitalize on their own strengths -- charm, strong visual appeal and a proven ability to think up catchy marketing ideas.
How do you adopt a cheerleader? No need to clear out the spare room or install a sprung floor. What you adopt is, in fact, all or part of a cheerleader's costs. For instance, $220 pays for transportation and accommodation at competitions, competition fees, uniforms and mats for one cheerleader. Or, the amount can be broken down to suit more modest budgets so that a donation of $75 will buy a uniform, while $30 purchases a stunting mat.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.