Alumna and longtime School of Social Work supporter creates second endowed scholarship

In 2018, Alice Thompson, '80, M.S.W. '81, the Board of Visitors chair for Wayne State's School of Social Work, established the Alice G. Thompson Endowed Scholarship to support social work students facing financial hardship. Thompson recently established the Angela M. Thompson Endowed Scholarship, again to support students in need, in memory of her daughter who passed away at the age of 28.

Angela Thompson
Angela Thompson

"I have established this scholarship in Angela's name in honor and celebration of her life, love, and commitment to serving and helping others," Thompson said. "She was an advocate for education, and while she could not complete her course of study due to her illness, it would be an honor for her to know that this scholarship in her name is helping others."

Originally from St. Louis, Thompson moved to Detroit in 1970 and worked with the Model Cities Program as part of the federal War on Poverty program. As a believer in the power of education to change lives, she decided to pursue a career in social work.

"I said, 'I need to be out here working with people, helping to improve their quality of life, helping to make changes in the community,'" Thompson reflected. "There was Wayne State University, right in the midst of everything, and so I chose social work as a way to fulfill my dreams and aspirations of helping others."

Thompson became the first African American woman to serve as a manager of Boysville of Michigan, a home for delinquent boys, and was then recruited to be deputy director of Diversified Youth Services. In 1994, she became CEO of Black Family Development, Inc., a post she held for 26 years, increasing the annual budget from $1.2 million to $29 million, acquiring a total of $407 million dollars during her tenure. She was also an adjunct professor at the School of Social Work for years, and joined the Board of Visitors in 2001.

Alice Thompson
Alice Thompson

"We are so proud to have Ms. Thompson in our corner," said Dr. Sheryl Kubiak, dean of the School of Social Work. "She is a visionary leader in this community and has been dedicated to the SSW for decades, always prioritizing the needs of our students. We are privileged to join her in keeping the memory of her daughter Angela alive through this scholarship. Our students are fortunate to have this inspiring example."

Thompson serves on many boards that speak to her values on education, workforce development, health, diversity, equity and inclusion, racial, social and economic justice and other quality of life issues. But her support for the university and social work students in particular has always been front and center.

Photo of Angela Thompson
Angela Thompson

"Wayne State has remained true to the values of the profession," Thompson said. "I don't think any student who has the will, the desire to serve and be a social worker should be denied because of lack of money." This new scholarship furthers and strengthens the values of service she shared with Angela.

"Angela had a spirit of giving, a spirit of helping, and a spirit of serving others," said Thompson, "and this scholarship is in honor and recognition of her deep love and caring about the needs of others."

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