By Kevin Quinn
At Syracuse University's Board of Trustees annual meeting held this past Saturday, May 14, Chairman-elect Richard L. Thompson G'67 officially assumed the role of chairman of the University's Board of Trustees. Outgoing chairman John H. Chapple '75 completed his term as chairman and is now chairman-emeritus. Additionally, eight individuals were elected as trustees.
Thompson, who resides in McLean, Va., joined the board in 2001 and was elected vice-chairman in 2008, after serving as a member of the executive and budget committees, and serving as the chairman of the administrative operations committee. In 2010, he was named board chairman-elect.
Thompson is senior counsel at the law firm Patton Boggs LLP, concentrating his work on pharmaceuticals and food and drugs, areas in which he has spent the majority of his professional career. He is a member of the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Before joining Patton Boggs, Thompson served as senior vice president for policy and government affairs at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., where he established and led a 45-member global staff and was a member of the company operating committee. During his tenure at Bristol-Myers Squibb, he was the principal representative of the CEO to industry associations, managed development of major public policy positions and led the integration of the government affairs staff following the merger of the Bristol-Myers and Squibb companies. Thompson was also responsible for leading the company to the top tier of advocacy in the pharmaceutical industry, and chairing a number of successful industry working groups on tax, intellectual property and Medicare prescription drug benefits.
Thompson spent nearly eight years on Capitol Hill working as an executive assistant to the Rep. John Terry (R-NY), and later as Republican staff director and chief counsel to what is now known as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. During his tenure as staff director and counsel, the committee focused on government reorganization, including the establishment of offices of Inspector General throughout the executive branch; oversight of multiple agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and the Health Care Financing Administration; and the re-enactment of programs supporting state and local government financing.
Thompson was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970 and completed his service with the rank of captain. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster in 1969 for service in Vietnam.
He has been involved in numerous civic and charitable activities, including serving as past chair of the board of directors of Ford's Theatre, past chair of the governance committee and member of the board of directors of Meridian International Center and a member of the Federal City Council. He has also served on the board of governers of the Bryce Harlow Foundation.
Thompson has served on SU's Washington, D.C. Advisory Board, and has previously served on the Whitman School of Management Advisory Board and the Maxwell School Advisory Board. In 2000, Thompson and his wife, C. Jean Terry '66, provided significant financial support for the Remembrance Scholarship, given each year in memory of those SU students killed on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In addition to earning his master's degree in political science from SU's Maxwell School, Thompson received a law degree from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America, and a bachelor's degree from SUNY Albany.
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