Student remembered as humane leader

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Marc Anthony Thompson. Photo courtesy of Tierra Alexander.

Marc Anthony Thompson, a 25-year-old senior psychology and sociology student at Chico State, died Sept. 3. Friends and family will remember Thompson for his strong leadership spirit, his compassion and his courage.

 

His body was found in a burning vehicle around 7 p.m. off a rural highway 42 miles east of Chico. The Butte County Sheriff’s office is conducting a criminal investigation into the death, and anyone with information is asked to call detective Matt Calkins at (530)538-7671.

Thompson was born March 12, 1989. He transferred to Chico State from Butte College in 2011, according to a campus-wide statement. He was at the near the end of his undergraduate studies at Chico State and expected to graduate at the end of the fall semester.

Thompson became active in student government aImost immediately after stepping foot on the Chico campus.

Mathew Fukuhara, a Junior communication studies and business management major, said Thompson was a major inspiration in his life during his time as a First-Year Leadership Opportunity program mentor.

“Marc helped me find my own voice,” he said. “He showed everyone else that they had the courage to stand up for themselves and make decisions that are best for them, despite their circumstances.”

He was a part of the Associated Students Multicultural Affairs Council as well as the Sociological Association of Chico State. In 2012, Thompson was elected the A.S. Commissioner of Multicultural Affairs.

He said in an interview after the election that he wanted to take these experiences in the A.S. and apply them to his future professional career.

“I wish to be a professor of sociology in higher education, a diversity trainer, and a published author,” he said in his A.S. Stories interview. “I feel that these pathways enable me to reach the most people and inspire them to follow their hearts and become the changes they wish to see in the world.”

The woman who knew him best, his mother Lawanda Thompson-Taylor, said he had a never-quit attitude when it came to the injustices he faced in the world.

“He showed that he was always willing to put his foot down and try his best to make a change,” she said.

In 2010, Thompson was part of a group of 11 students from various colleges who were brought together to discuss what it was like to be students of different races on campuses whose students and faculty were primarily white. The documentary, “If These Halls Could Talk” is still being used for diversity training.

Thompson-Taylor said that was just who her son was, a person whose goal it was in life was to effect change in his environment and the people around him.

“His main focus was always people,” she said. “He wanted to know so much. He wanted to know the strife of women and their history. The struggle between black and white. What we were going through then, what we’re going through now and what we have to do to overcome.”

Thompson is survived by his mother Lawanda, his father Lawrence, his sisters April, Shalari and Tierra and brother Lawrence Jr.

The university’s flag was lowered Sept. 12 in honor of Thompson’s memory.

The Thompson family created a fundraising website page to help pay for funeral arrangements, memorial services haven’t been announced.

David McVicker can be reached at [email protected] or @DavidPMcVicker on Twitter.