When Jack Thompson, D.D.S., and his wife, Margaret, opened their dental practice in rural Gordonsville, Va., in the early 1970s, they did so with the understanding that they’d give it their best for five years and then re-evaluate their options.
Five years, however, turned into 50, as the Thompsons found their calling among a community that embraced them and their family as beloved service providers and, more importantly, neighbors and friends.
Their sense of connection and dedication is truly something to celebrate.
Lyndon Cooper, Ph.D., D.D.S., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry
Their dedication to the needs of their small, rural community is part of why the Thompsons have given to the VCU School of Dentistry almost every year for nearly four decades — gifts that cumulatively have provided tens of thousands of dollars to support VCU Dentistry.
“Our success stems from our relationship with the VCU School of Dentistry, and that connection extends beyond our education to postgrad relationships with the school, classmates and alumni,” Jack Thompson said. “It’s a relationship that’s allowed us to support our family, but also the school, and that translates to caring for our community.”
The Thompsons also want to ensure that communities like Gordonsville have oral health care providers in the future, an especially important priority for them after practicing in a rural community for 50 years.
“We’ve seen the improvements in access to dental care but still see the need for more,” Jack said, “not just access to dentists, but also affordable care.”
The Thompsons said some of their fondest memories included organizing and participating in Missions of Mercy, or MoM events, as they’re known in the Virginia dental community. The events target underserved areas around the commonwealth that lack dental providers, places like Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Wise County in Southwest Virginia.
Both Thompsons are alumni of the School of Dentistry. Jack and Margaret grew up in Richmond and were high school sweethearts. They both attended the University of Richmond. Margaret worked as an organic chemist at A.H.Robins while Jack attended dental school. When their children were in grade school, Margaret went back to school for dental hygiene at VCU and worked alongside her husband.
“Their sense of connection and dedication is truly something to celebrate,” said Lyndon Cooper, Ph.D., D.D.S., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry. “The Thompsons are a great example of how the cumulative effect of consistent gifts over the years can have a profound positive impact on our dental students, faculty and staff.”
The Thompsons, now retired, have three children and 12 grandchildren. Their son took over the Gordonsville practice, continuing in his parents’ footsteps by caring for a community long endeared to their family. One of their two daughters married a dentist.
“We were initially going to give Gordonsville five years — but things just worked,” Jack said with a smile about those early years. “You’re not just there as a service provider, but a community member, and a lot of friendships grew in that small town.”
If you would like to support the VCU School of Dentistry, please contact Gloria F. Callihan, the school’s associate dean for development and alumni relations, at 804-828-8101 or email@example.com.