Jonathan Thompson, ‘02, was recently appointed as a new member of Lyon College’s Board of Trustees. Thompson made the move up from the Board of Visitors, which he was elected to in October 2021, to make a long-lasting impact on the Lyon College community at large.
“I want to contribute to the building up of Lyon College’s reputation as a leader in the Liberal Arts of the future,” Thompson said. “I believe that we are in times now where the value of the liberal arts education and the philosophy of developing the whole person – not just the scholastic component– needs to be re-asserted and demonstrated in new fields of play.”
With Lyon College’s Sesquicentennial unfolding this year, Thompson knows that now is the time to begin solidifying the College’s position in higher education.
“Lyon has the depth of talent and credentials necessary to be a leader in this charge, and, in doing so, embark on creating the next 150 years of educational legacy for thousands and thousands of students who will contribute to society long after many of us are gone.”
In addition to being a previous member of Lyon College’s Board of Visitors, Thompson has traveled abroad with a Rotary International fellowship and worked across the U.S. alongside various name-brand companies.
Currently he acts as the CEO of Illinois-headquartered business Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a family-owned vanilla and flavor extract company.
Coming equipped with several years of experience and knowledge, it can be easy to forget that Thompson started his journey as just another student here at Lyon College.
“I was a student-athlete, involved in various campus groups and activities, and ended up getting a triple major and a minor… so it was a busy four years,” said Thompson, laughing, “but I know I wouldn’t have worked so hard nor accomplished so much if not for the amazing caliber of all the people around me: students, faculty and staff.”
He continued, “One of the best things about Lyon was the strong investment by the faculty and staff in the development and success of students.”
Thompson noted that it wasn’t just the people that were amazing, but also the welcoming and encouraging environment that Lyon College cultivated.
“I remember a vibrant campus culture that encouraged students to get involved & seek out new experiences, which made trying out new things very accessible,” Thompson said.
Having that first-hand experience with the community here, Thompson feels confident that he can make a positive impact at Lyon College.
He continued, “Being an alum brings with it an understanding of the rich legacy, educational philosophy and ‘ground-level’ experience of Lyon, along with a vested passion in its continued success into the future.”
But something like this can’t be accomplished by just a single person, so Thompson wants the community to know that his door is open.
“I would love to hear from people. Whether it is just a quick catch up or if someone wants to share an idea to help or get involved with Lyon, I invite anyone to please reach out!”