SUU’s Vice President Thompson Retires

Published: March 01, 2007 | Read Time: 4 minutes

Georgia Beth Thompson, Southern Utah University’s Vice President for Student Services, is going to retire at the end of the current fiscal year, more than 40 years after she started working on behalf of students at the University.

"Georgia has given 25 years of service to this institution and has positively impacted countless students during her time on campus,” said President Michael T. Benson.

“It’s a pleasure/pain sort of feeling you get from listening to Georgia talk about leaving the University,” said spokesman Dean O’Driscoll. “She has some very fun plans to get ready for in her retirement, but at the same time she is really going to miss the interaction with the students that she has enjoyed since starting at the College of Southern Utah in 1960s.”

Georgia Beth started as Dean of Women at the University in 1967 and enjoyed a five-year stretch in that role. “I really enjoyed all of my roles here,” Thompson said. “There were segments of fun in all of them.” Thompson had many different positions from which she interacted with the students. Over the years she has served as the acting Dean of Students, an adjunct professor, an assistant vice president for student services, a director of the Upward Bound and Special Services and a number of other assignments.

“We can’t thank her enough for her commitment to SUU and to the success -- personally, academically, socially, and otherwise -- of our students, and wish her the very best in this new phase of her life,’ said President Benson.

She met, married and also taught with her husband, the late Richard Thompson, for a number of years. “I really enjoyed that interaction with the students as well,” beamed Thompson, who taught anthropology and sociology classes. “That was a place where you really felt you could get to know the kids and make a difference in their lives.”

Georgia reiterated comments she made to a group of colleagues earlier in the week when she said, “There isn’t much money in education, but if you enjoy seeing that evolution and growth of young people, there isn’t any other place in the world as good as a University campus.”

Both the University and Vice President Thompson are moving ahead quickly with plans for the future. SUU has already formed a screening committee to conduct a national search for applicants for the vice presidential position. It will be chaired by Executive Director of Alumni Relations Mindy Benson and will include representatives from the student body, Administrative and Financial Services, Academics, Student Services, Auxiliaries, and the community. The job has been posted on the web and the search will begin immediately, with a hire date expected to come sometime in the early summer.

“This is a very important job,” said Benson (Mindy). “I am honored they would entrust me with this role to lead this committee.”

In the meantime, Georgia Beth is planning a second knee-replacement surgery, some home improvement projects and several trips, including some as far away as Mongolia and Australia. “I had a great time with my daughter when we went to Australia years ago to attend a former student’s wedding and I really want to go back. There are a few states I would like to spend some more time in as well,” stated Thompson.

Thompson moves on to another phase of her life with a measure of contentment about all of the great experiences and relationships she enjoyed at the Cedar City school. “I had challenges as an advisor to the newspaper and made wonderful friends as a sorority advisor.” She continued, “There were great times here when we took archeology field trips and the Summer Field School we established is still alive and well.”

Thompson leaned back in her chair and thought for a minute before revealing that she still needs to accomplish a few things before leaving, and one of the most important is to help with a number of people who are and will be going through some transitions. Thompson smiled and said, “If I was a lot younger I would like to go down to Australia and just try being a cook at one of those isolated cattle stations, and see what that life may be like.”

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