AUSTIN, Texas—Three generations of the Joe C. “Jodie” Thompson family will attend a ceremony on Nov. 29 marking the 35th anniversary of the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus.
University of Texas at Austin President Larry R. Faulkner, Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Dean Thomas M. Hatfield and Jere W. Thompson, son of Joe C. Thompson, will speak during the ceremony, which will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Thompson Conference Center auditorium. A reception will follow in the center’s lobby.
An alumnus and an advocate of the university’s educational outreach mission, Joe C. Thompson was appointed to the University Development Board in 1956 and began rallying support for a campus conference center.
When Thompson was appointed to the Board of Regents in 1957, he officially proposed that a conference center be built on campus, and the project became a part of the university’s 10-year expansion plan. Following Thompson’s death in June 1961, the Board of Regents authorized preliminary plans for the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center. The center was funded by allocations from the University of Texas System Board of Regents and by gifts from Thompson’s family, friends and employees of his business enterprise, the Southland Corporation.
The Joe C. Thompson Conference Center was dedicated on Oct. 30, 1970, as the state’s first educational conference center. Among the officials and dignitaries attending the dedication were former President Lyndon B. Johnston, Texas Governor Allen Shivers and former Board of Regents Chair Frank C. Erwin.
“This center signifies the university’s deep commitment to continuing education and service to this state,” said Erwin. “This building recognizes Jodie’s whole accomplishment. It will make history in all the externals of education. More important, the spirit of its program will embody Jodie’s personal influence. That influence will, of course, make sense of the relationship between education and citizenship.”
The Joe C. Thompson Conference Center is the focal point of The University of Texas at Austin’s continuing education efforts.
“The Division of Continuing Education is proud to fulfill Joe C. Thompson’s original vision and to be of service to the university, the community and the state,” said Hatfield, dean of continuing education. “The center’s mission forever will be to provide a venue and programs for people to continue their educational development and personal enrichment.”
In fiscal year 2004-05, the Thompson Conference Center hosted more than 1,200 programs, conferences and events for educational purposes. Schools, colleges and departments on campus frequently use the facility for conferences and scholarly meetings. Governmental entities use the center for employee workshops as well as for public meetings. External use, with university co-sponsorship, includes not-for-profit educational events planned by corporations, nonprofit agencies and business associations.
The Thompson Conference Center is at Red River Street and Dean Keeton (26th Street) on the northeast corner of The University of Texas at Austin campus. For more information, contact Wayne Hunt, director of the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, at 512-471-2930 or visit the Thompson Conference Center Web site.