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William & Mary received a $3.5 million commitment from Terry Thompson ’67 that will, in large part, help fund several important initiatives and programs outlined in the Tribe Athletics Committee of Competitive Excellence report.
A significant portion of this commitment will support scholarships for student-athletes participating in the Women’s Basketball program — it will be the largest gift ever given to Women’s Basketball from a single donor.
“I made the decision to support the Women’s Basketball program not only because I played the sport, but because I know it doesn’t have the necessary resources to be nationally competitive,” stated Thompson. “Further, and more importantly, I hope my gift inspires other former players to take the time to learn what the needs truly are and find a way to make their own impact.”
The $3.5 million commitment is the first philanthropic announcement since Athletics launched its competitive excellence report in April.
The report provides a strategic framework to help Tribe Athletics achieve and sustain a level of great success in the university’s conference, the Colonial Athletic Association. It details funding needs for scholarships, coaching positions, operating expenses and facility improvements as well as enhancements to streamline current policies and practices, including improving the game day experience for fans. Thompson served on the Committee of Competitive Excellence and played an instrumental role in helping to shape the report.
“Terry Thompson is a recognized, respected and effective leader in the College’s volunteer community. Her commitment to advancing initiatives that benefit the College and, as a former varsity athlete, her understanding of the student-athlete experience at William & Mary made her an obvious choice for the Competitive Excellence Committee,” said Terry Driscoll, William & Mary’s athletics director.
“She has been an articulate advocate who supports the report with our donors and the alumni community. Her wonderful gift to women’s basketball reflects her strong belief in the balanced pursuit of academic and athletic excellence that is the foundation of the William & Mary student-athlete experience. Athletics is extremely fortunate and thankful to have Terry’s long, active and generous involvement,” Driscoll added.
“I have been involved with William & Mary for many, many years and I am very aware of the many challenges the entire university faces,” related Thompson. “But getting to serve on the Committee of Competitive Excellence was particularly inspiring. I thought the group created a truly comprehensive report that describes the challenges we face and set clear goals for the future. At the heart of it, the most fundamental issue we face is funding, so I put my checkbook where my heart is and made a gift.”
During her time serving on the Committee of Competitive Excellence, she gained a much deeper understanding of the need for increased support for the Tribe Athletics Program and it also reaffirmed her original belief that, at its core, William & Mary continues to do athletics “the right way.”
“A sound mind in a sound body was an important value of ancient philosophers,” said Thompson. “I have always believed that athletics is a core part of William & Mary’s liberal arts mission. To me, academics and athletics go hand-in-hand and I am passionate about seeing both areas of our university continue to move forward at the highest level.”
Another core belief that both Thompson and the report emphasize is that private support is the main driver in achieving the goals laid out for athletics. “We are not only going to need continued, and improved, support from all our longtime athletics donors, but also find ways to educate and motivate a new generation of donors,” Terry concluded.
One of the ways she is making an immediate impact in this area is by providing a challenge fund that awards $1,000 for each percent of donor participation by former women’s basketball players, up to $25,000, for the current athletics calendar year. Tribe Women’s Basketball has set a goal of reaching 25 percent participation.
Thompson served as chair of the Annual Giving Board of Directors, the William & Mary Foundation, and the Muscarelle Foundation board. She was also recently elected to the Business School Foundation board and received one the university’s highest honors by being recognized for the Alumni Medallion Award in 2007.