Richard L. ThompsonR. Thompson
Chairman Emeritus, Elected: 2015
Elected to the Board: 2001

1967 M.A. - Maxwell
2015 L.H.D. - Honorary Degree

Richard L. Thompson is senior policy advisor in the health care and pharmaceutical sectors at the Washington, D.C., office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Prior to that, Thompson was senior counsel at Patton Boggs LLP in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, following his retirement from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company where he was senior vice president of policy and government affairs. He was the vice president for government affairs of Squibb Corporation from 1983 to 1989 and director of Washington Affairs for Abbott Laboratories from 1978 to 1983. In addition, Thompson held several senior staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, including Republican Staff Director and Counsel to the Government Operations Committee from 1976 to 1978; Minority Counsel to the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources, and the Committee on Government Operations, from 1973 to 1976. He was a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps from January 1968 to January 1970, including service in Vietnam, during which he received the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
In addition to earning his M.A. degree in political science from SU's Maxwell School, Thompson received an honorary degree from Syracuse University in 2015. He received a Juris Doctor degree from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1975, and a B.A. cum laude in history and political science from SUNY Albany in 1966.
Thompson is a member of the American Bar Association and is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thompson has been involved in numerous civic and charitable activities. He is past chairman of the board of directors of Ford's Theatre. He is past chairman of the Governance Committee and member of the Board of Directors of Meridian International Center. He is a past member of the Federal City Council. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Bryce Harlow Foundation.
Thompson iserves as a Life Trustee and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees. He serves on the Board Audit, Athletics, Facilities, and Executive Committees. He is a member of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs Advisory Board, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Advisory Board, and the Washington, D.C. Regional Council. He served on the search committees for the chancellor and the dean of the Maxwell School. He previously served on the Martin J. Whitman School of Management Advisory Council.
In 2000, Thompson and his wife, C. Jean Terry Thompson '66, provided significant funding for the Remembrance Scholarship given each year in memory of those Syracuse University students killed on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On July 1, 2013, they also gave a $1 million gift to the Athletic Department. The gift, coinciding with the historic date of the University’s formal entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference, has provided support for the women’s volleyball and lacrosse programs, men’s basketball, and the naming of a new indoor practice field after Jean’s father, First Lieutenant John F. Phelan, who died in action in Normandy, France, during World War II. In February 2013, Thompson was elected to the Institute for Veterans and Military Families External Advisory Board.