In 1974, after six months of this condensed schedule, Thompson decided it wasn’t working for her––she just couldn’t contribute all that she wanted to. So she started working more, and in 1979, she became the university’s first woman vice president. “I absolutely adored working at Drury, and the reason I adored it so much was the people,” she says. “It gave me an opportunity to meet people I would never have had the opportunity to meet and get to know otherwise.”
Thompson first retired from her full-time role in 2002, but she continued working part-time for each Drury president. In 2015, she was asked to return to full-time work, and she served as Drury’s interim vice president for university advancement starting the following year. “I decided when I was 80 I was going to retire to part-time, and that lasted a month,” she says. Thompson, now 82, officially retired on January 31.
“Drury is a very special school,” she says. “It’s just such an honor to even play a small role in the lives of some of these great people who have gone to Drury, and that continues.”
The Biz 417 editorial team selected Judy Thompson for the 2022 Women Who Mean Business before she retired from her position as Drury University’s senior vice president for university advancement early this year. During the last half century, Thompson has become an institution, influencing every aspect of Drury’s direction and culture. She continues to serve the university in an advisory role.