On Saturday, March 12, 2016, the Division of Student Affairs said goodbye to a beloved member of our family. Russell W. “Rusty” Thompson‘85, Director of Student Activities passed away due to complications from a recent heart attack. Rusty, as we all knew and loved him, leaves us with far more than a void in our hearts; he leaves us with a legacy.
Rusty Thompson was committed to Texas A&M University. For more than thirty years, Rusty was a devoted member of the Aggie Family, graduating with bachelors in Industrial Education in 1985 and again with his masters in Education Administration in 1987. Except for a few years that he worked as Residence Hall Director at Texas Tech University, Rusty served Texas A&M the whole of his professional career. Since 1990, Rusty worked in three departments within the Division of Student Affairs: Residence Life, the Memorial Student Center and Student Activities. Rusty served as Area Coordinator from 1990 – 1993, Coordinator of Residence Life from 1993 – 1994, Assistant Director of Residence Education from 1994 – 1998, Assistant Director of the Memorial Student Center from 1998 – 2001, Associate Director of the Memorial Student Center from 2001 – 2005, Associate Director of Student Activities from 2005-2012, Interim Director of Student Activities from 2012 – 2013, and Director of Student Activities since 2013.
As a career Aggie, Rusty was committed to far more than his profession, he was committed to the traditions and more importantly, the students of Texas A&M. Regardless of his position, the students were always at the heart of Rusty’s life. Rusty advised and worked with organizations such as Texas Aggie Bonfire, Texas Aggie Yell Leaders, Aggie Wranglers, Class Councils, Student Government and Aggie Muster. However, Rusty Thompson was far more than an advisor to the students, he was a friend and role model. Whether singing the War Hymn at Midnight Yell, serving as an example of strength and perseverance during the tragic Bonfire collapse, or honoring those Aggies who have passed before us at each Silver Taps and Muster, Rusty led a life of compassion, enthusiasm, and respect for the students and former students of Texas A&M. As Aggie Muster Chair, Josiah Bezet ‘15, shared, “Rusty poured everything he had into serving his family, his staff, and the students of Texas A&M. He worked through many evenings with the Muster Committee to help plan the Campus Muster. As our advisor, Rusty was an important part of our team, a beloved friend, and he will be missed beyond April 21.”
As Aggies, we all take pride that each and every member of our family observes the Core Values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect, and Selfless Service. Rusty was the embodiment of these values. Through his actions, he demonstrated to generations what it meant to live out these values on a daily basis. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, C.J. Woods said, “I will always be grateful for the leadership and care Rusty gave to students, faculty, and staff. He was lighthearted and full of positive energy in the midst of trying situations. Rusty embodied the Aggie Spirit and lived the Aggie Core values in his daily life. As a father, husband, sibling, friend, mentor, and colleague, he will be profoundly missed, always loved, and never forgotten.” Rusty gave of himself, and always with a smile, to everyone that met him. Rusty Thompson was a friend. He will always be missed, but he will also always be remembered by those who’s lives he touched. So following in the best of Texas A&M’s traditions, for our dear friend and colleague Rusty Thompson, we answer the roll call “Here.”
LINKS TO ADDITIONAL MEDIA:
March 12, 2016 – Rusty Thompson Dies One Week After Heart Attack
March 9, 2016 – Aggies Unite for Rusty
March 7, 2016 – After Heart Attack, Rusty Thompson Receives Support from A&M Community
March 15, 2016 – Friends Remember Fun Side of Rusty Thompson
March 14, 2016 – Popular Texas A&M Administrator Rusty Thompson Dies
March 12, 2016 – TAMU Dir. Of Student Activities Rusty Thompson Passes Away