Outstanding Achievement Award - 2013

The Outstanding Achievement Award, supported by Manulife Financial, recognizes a current or recent CCAE member who has made extraordinary contributions to the field of educational advancement over a number of years. The recipient is recognized both for exemplifying the highest ideals of the advancement profession and for dedicated mentoring of others in the field. This award is made possible by Manulife Financial.


Thomas B. Thompson, BSc(PE)’58, DipEd’61, Med’78
2013 CCAE Outstanding Achievement Award

Tom Thompson’s extraordinary association with McGill began over 60 years ago, when at the age of 14 he took a weekend job as a porter at the Douglas Hall residence.

He began working as a teacher in 1958, and four years later returned to McGill as a lecturer in the School of Physical Education and Director of Required Sports in the Department of Athletics. He was recruited to the Graduates’ Society as Branch Secretary in 1971.

This was the beginning of a long series of remarkable accomplishments of fundraising on behalf of the University. For 50 years, Tom has been a tireless champion for McGill. He has been Deputy Director of three capital campaigns and now, despite having officially retired from McGill in 2005, he acts as Senior Philanthropic Advisor in his fourth campaign. He has served as Director of alumni Relations, Director of the Annual Fund and Director of Campaign Planning.

Tom’s impact on McGill is evident across the University community in many subtle ways. In the 1970’s, he reactivated McGill’s alumni branch program, building it from 13 to 75 active branches and establishing what has become an international alumni network without equal in Canada, active today in nearly 100 countries around the world. He has also remained a strong advocate for McGill Athletics and intercollegiate sports. He has served as President of the James McGill Society, been Director of the Mont St. Hilaire Nature Conservation Centre, and sat on many University committees, including several for he McGill Sports Hall of Fame.

Tom Thompson has coached and encouraged CCAE members in institutional advancement techniques. He has been a conference speaker and organizer, starting with the American Alumni Council in 1970,then with CASE in 1975, and across Canada with CAUBO, CAEDO, and CCAE. He guided the matching gifts program for Canadian universities for ten years. Tom has been a fine model in our core endeavors of building relationships in public relations, alumni relations, and development for our institutions.

Over the course of his career, Tom has helped McGill to raise over $850 million from graduates and friends. A good number of these donors were contacted directly by Tom, one of the most skilled people to ever make the case for University to donors. It is a personal touch that is remembered and appreciated by many.

Tom’s service is not limited to the McGill community. He has also been active within the YMCA, the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal and Westmount Municipal Association. In 1994, he was elected city councilor in Westmount, and again in 1999 and 2005. He has served as a Governor of the Fraser-Hickson Library and a Director of the Montreal Association for the blind, and now the MAB Mackay Centre, a Director of the Visual Arts Centre, and a member of the Marianopolis Development Committee.

Tom’s extraordinary contributions to higher education have earned him Distinguished Service Awards from both the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In 2008, the McGill Alumni Association added its highest honour to these distinctions, the Award of Merit for exceptional community service. Tom was named Westmount Citizen of the Year in 2012 and was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2013.