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SUNY Canton names Thompson Distinguished Alumni award winner

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CANTON - SUNY Canton will present the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award to a graduate who has made a lifetime of contributions to the North Country and the field of agriculture.

Robert M. Thompson Jr., class of 1942, will be given the award during the college’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony July 19.

“Mr. Thompson is an inspiration to our students and the entire SUNY Canton community,” said Peggy S. Levato, SUNY Canton’s director of alumni affairs. “He is a wonderful example of what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance.”

After graduating with a degree in Agriculture and taking over his family’s dairy farm in Flackville, he and his wife, Esther (Weatherup), purchased a farm in Lisbon in 1954. Thompson traveled the country to develop a prize-winning herd of Holstein cattle. He also was active in St. Lawrence County and New York state Holstein associations.

“His professional skills throughout his many years as a dairyman set a standard of excellence realized by only an elite few in Northern New York throughout the 1970s and 1980s,” said Douglas H. Ort, vice chair of the Lewis County Community Service Board. “He demonstrated excellence, not only with his own family farm, but in investing his knowledge for the benefit of neighbor family farms and for the dairy industry as a whole in New York State.”

In addition to being a successful dairy farmer, he has given generously to the community through his participation in 4H, the Cornell Cooperative Extension and other agricultural organizations.

As an advocate for a quality education, Thompson served on the Lisbon School Board and was appointed to the SUNY Canton College Council in 1954. He was also a member of the first St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators and was recognized as a leader during his tenure.

Thompson’s family has strong ties to the College. His wife is a 1943 SUNY Canton alumna, and their children established the Thompson-Weatherup Family foundation in their parents’ honor, which, among other charitable endeavors, supports a SUNY Canton nursing scholarship. Thompson’s father, Robert Sr., graduated in 1910 as part of the second class of the Agricultural and Technical Institute at Canton, now known as SUNY Canton.

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