Distinguished Engineer Citations
James Thompson, Ph.D.
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Electrical Engineering – 1968, 1970, 1974
At Time of Nomination in 2013
Dr. James "Jim" Thompson is the dean of the University of Missouri College of Engineering, and has served since 1994. He was previously the dean of engineering at the University of New Mexico.
Thompson received a bachelor of science in 1968, a master of science in 1970, and a Ph.D. in 1974, all in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University. His areas of technical specialization include high voltage, electro-optics, electrical breakdown phenomena, pulsed power systems and devices, lasers, fast electrical and optical diagnostics, high power switches and dielectric materials.
He is a registered professional engineer and a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He was elected honorary doctor of the Institute for Electrophysics in Russia in 1992 for his achievements in the areas of discharges in vacuum and high power pulsed technology. He has also been recognized for his successes in promoting international research and education cooperation with Russia, China, India, Iraq, and other countries.
Thompson has initiated and grown college programs to increase engineering enrollment, student graduation rates, improving classroom success and learning. He has been involved in pre-college programs and numerous programs at the collegiate level for minority and women-focused retention and success both at the University of Missouri (MU) and the University of New Mexico (UNM), increasing access to engineering education and student diversity.
He has contributed to the success of the undergraduate program at MU by helping to grow enrollment by two and half times and improving retention and graduate rates. Thompson also contributed to substantial growth of the research programs at both the University of Missouri and UNM, with MU research expenditures growing from 2 million dollars to approximately 35 million dollars per year.
Thompson is married to Elizabeth Thompson, who is also a Texas Tech graduate, and both are from Lubbock. They have four children and eight grandchildren.