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SLU Supporters: Larry and Brenda Thompson

Larry and Brenda Thompson have a long history with Saint Louis University.

Brenda and Larry ThompsonAs a young couple in the 1970s, they moved from Michigan to Larry’s native Missouri so he could start his first job out of law school in St. Louis. Once there, the pair decided it was Brenda’s turn to complete her graduate degree in psychology  – but many universities at the time thought a woman with young children should be at home. SLU, however, was different.

“SLU was there,” said Brenda (A&S ’81). “They provided me a great deal of what I needed to finish to get my degree.”

Today, the Thompsons extend that support back to SLU and its students. Now established collectors of art by African-American artists, the couple established the Larry and Brenda Thompson Graduate Scholarship. It supports English, American studies or history students who have an interest in art by African-American artists and volunteer at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA). Recipients will select pieces from the Thompson collection for a research project done either independently or with a faculty member who includes the collection in their syllabus. The student then will present their research with an exhibition in SLUMA or Pius XII Memorial Library.

“Hopefully it will just excite them to pursue more research and scholarship,” Brenda said. “It will help with some expenses, but more importantly it will help perhaps expose them to a life-long career, and if not a career, I hope it will just expose them to the idea of collecting.”

“This is a small contribution toward helping the museum pursue its mission, but I do think it is an important mission,” Larry said. “I’m very pleased that the University and the Saint Louis University Museum of Art made this commitment to diversity and understanding art by African-American artists.”