Thompson, ’62, to receive Centennial Award
Patricia (Thompson) Thompson, ’62, will receive this year’s Centennial Award, the Maryville honor recognizing a lifestyle that best exemplifies the values of the Sacred Heart tradition.
The alumna – whose maiden name is Thompson and married name is Thompson (people always get a kick out of it, she says) – also will celebrate her 50th class reunion this year. “I think Maryville, and the Maryville campus, is my emotional home,” she said. “So many friends, whether they were a few years ahead of me or a few years behind in school, share that Maryville connection.”
Thompson said the Religious of the Sacred Heart made Maryville students feel a part of a supportive network that always extended far beyond the campus. She still carries a small card she was given at Maryville, which invited her to visit any Sacred Heart convent in the world. “It felt like you were part of this loving family,” she said. She said Maryville friendships, and the love of continual learning instilled in her at Maryville, remain among the joys of her life.
Thompson grew up in the Chicago suburb of Elmwood Park, Ill., She attended Maryville because she knew other young women who went to school there, and her parents suggested it. “It was 1958. You didn’t go around visiting colleges like you do now,” she explained.
During her senior year, her class moved from Maryville’s St. Louis city campus to its west St. Louis County location. “St. Louis basically ended at Lindbergh (Blvd.) at that time,” she said. Thompson liked the country feel of the new campus, and it helped that she had a roommate who had a car when they wanted some time away.
After graduating from Maryville with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry, Thompson worked at the Washington University School of Medicine as a research technician. She got married and “had four sons in five and a half years. That kept me busy for the next 15 years,” she said light-heartedly. Thompson said her Maryville education instilled in her the importance of giving back; as a young woman, she also served as a foster parent through Catholic Charities.
Her son, Chris Koster, serves as Missouri’s attorney general and sons Patrick, Matthew and Mark Koster all work as investment bankers. In 1996, she married Bob Thompson, and lovingly refers to their combined family as including another “six bonus children, eight grandchildren and 19 bonus grandchildren.” For 15 years, they served as Pre-Cana facilitators, providing marriage preparation for couples remarrying for the second time, whether they were widowed or had a previous marriage annulled.
From 1985 to 1999, Thompson worked as director of sales at the Innsbrook Corporation Conference Center. While there, she became a certified meeting planner. In 1989, the Innsbrook Corp. presented her with the Employee of the Year award, citing her as “the person who exemplifies the qualities of energy, consistent humor, warmth and vitality.” Following her retirement, Pat worked for eight years with the Down Syndrome Foundation.
The St. Charles, Mo., resident has served Maryville as the president of the Alumni Association and on the Duchesne Society National Leadership Council. In 2000, she received the Loyalty Award from Maryville, and donations from Pat, her family and friends allowed for the creation of the Pat Koster Thompson Endowed Scholarship, which provides scholarship money to help students attend Maryville.
Thompson’s classmate Mary (Monte) Longrais, ’62, said Thompson exemplifies the Sacred Heart spirit, as a loyal person with a gift for bringing Maryville alumni together. She said Thompson’s commitment to Maryville has remained strong over the years as the school underwent changes, and that she always makes friends feel connected. “I think it’s an art, the way she is able to connect with someone even after many years, and she makes the time apart just disappear.”