The Business of Philanthropy
Janet and Hugh Thompson III ‘68 have spent their careers in business, and much of their philanthropic gifts in education.
Hugh received a BBA in Accounting from TCU and worked at Coca-Cola for 27 years. For nearly 20 years he was president of Cutrale Citrus Juices, the largest orange juice processor in the United States. Janet received a BA in Economics and Managerial Studies and a Master of Accounting from Rice University, and worked for Ernst & Ernst and Texas Commerce Bank before moving to Florida.
The Thompsons have supported many areas of TCU for nearly 40 years. While their son was earning his business degree at TCU, Hugh visited the Starpoint School for children with learning differences during a Parent Council meeting.
He couldn’t wait to tell Janet what he had seen.
“We saw the things that were going on at Starpoint and we got really excited about that,” Hugh said. “It was a way for us to do something for TCU and for young children.”
Janet said she felt the same way when she visited the school. The Thompsons decided to make a gift to the Starpoint music program in 2016.
“I’ve always been interested in education, though it’s not how my career path went,” Janet said. “Starpoint was close to my heart, and something I felt like I needed to support.”
The Starpoint music program integrates music with language, math and other subjects with two sessions per week with The Artist Outreach. The students use rhythm clocks and create and record original compositions. Since the program started in 2013, the students have shown great improvements with rhythm, academic performance and social skills.
“It’s the best music program I’ve ever seen,” said Starpoint instructor Robin Davis. “It uses music across the board in every single curriculum.”
Excellence Beyond TCU
The Thompsons said they want their gifts to help students and student teachers expand the school’s best practices beyond TCU. Starpoint was initiated in 1966 by M.J. and Alice Neeley, who envisioned a school that would help struggling learners and provide training for aspiring teachers.
Before making their gift to the music program, the Thompsons supported the Alice Neeley Special Education Research and Service (ANSERS) Institute and the Starpoint and KinderFrogs counseling program, now fully funded by TCU.
“We support the College of Education because we need great teachers who will develop and educate our future leaders,” Hugh said. “When I looked at Starpoint, I saw that if you could help a child who learned differently, it was a huge benefit to students, parents and society.”
In addition to supporting Starpoint, Hugh is a member of the TCU College of Education Board of Visitors and the Laboratory School Advisory Committee. He is also a trustee for Beacon College, the only four-year college in the nation for students with learning disabilities. He facilitated a meeting and new partnership between TCU and Beacon College in 2015.