Roosevelt Thompson memorialized at Yale | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Roosevelt Thompson memorialized at Yale

Posted By on Tue, Nov 15, 2016 at 2:54 PM

AT YALE: Friends and family gather for tribute to Roosevelt Thompson, shown in portrait in the Calhoun College dining hall.
  • AT YALE: Friends and family gather for tribute to Roosevelt Thompson, shown in portrait in the Calhoun College dining hall.

Yale University
had its ceremony last week renaming a dining hall for the late Roosevelt Thompson, the Little Rock native and Central High graduate who died in a car wreck in 1984 shortly before leaving for a Rhodes Scholarship.

I've mentioned this event before. But the article on the event from Yale includes comments from family and others about Thompson's great ability, kindness and promise.

The ceremony included reading of a letter from former President Bill Clinton, for whom Thompson worked as a summer intern. He said Thompson must have been the easiest selection a Rhodes committee ever made.

The event included hanging of a portrait of Thompson in the dining hall at the residential college where he lived. The portrait, by  Mirjam Brückner, includes an apple blossom, the Arkansas state flower, and a mockingbird, the Arkansas state bird, and a symbol of human rights. Speakers included his brothers:

Thompson’s younger brother, Lee, was stationed at a military base in Groton, CT, during Rosey’s college years. He recalled late nights spent with Rosey and his friends, after which Rosey would get up at five or six in the morning to go study in the library.

“I don’t know how he did that,” Lee said, “but he always had time for everybody. Even when he had so much going on, he always made time for people.”

Thompson’s other brother, Chris, emphasized the importance of names, saying that he hoped Roosevelt Thompson dining hall would inspire generations of students to make an impact, no matter how small.

“You, individually, can make an impact, and you don’t have to wait until you complete school to do it,” Chris said. “Rosey is proof of that.”

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