New Alumni Director Profile: P.J. Thompson

Blue and Red make Purple!

by Holly Weathers ’13, database & alumni relations assistant

With seven years of alumni relations experience under his belt, McKendree welcomes Phillip Thompson to the McKendree community as the new Director of Alumni Relations. Phillip, also known as “P.J.,” comes to us from Eastern Illinois University (blue), his alma mater, where he worked as the Alumni Relations Events Coordinator from 2008 to 2012. He then ventured to Peoria to work at Bradley University (red) as the Associate Alumni Director from 2012 to 2015. P.J. started at McKendree (purple) the second week of March in the Office of Development, Alumni and Parent Relations. He resides locally and is getting acquainted with the area and the small town atmosphere that brings him back to his roots.

Q. What automatically sparked your interest about McKendree University?

A. Coming from a small town just outside of Kankakee, Ill., the size of McKendree is perfect. Graduating from high school (Momence High School) with 92 people, I appreciate the ability to get to know everyone. With the skills I refined in previous positions, I knew that this was the place for me.

Q. What is your favorite part of working in this field?

A. The part of my career I enjoy the most is engagement. It is a pleasure to meet alumni and hear the stories of yesteryear, and to hear them talk about how their University experience made a life altering impact on the people they have become today. It is also a pleasure to see the new students coming in and making their mark. Seeing them develop and go on to join the ranks of awesome alumni is such a cool thing to witness.

Q. From the short time that you’ve been at McKendree, what have you found that you really enjoy about your job and the University?

A. Since being at McKendree there has been lots to enjoy. Alumni, students, faculty, and staff have been very welcoming. Academic Excellence Day, Senior Class Gift BBQ, Senior Dinner, and events at the Hett have all been wonderful. I have also enjoyed the close knit community and the beautiful campus including the famous Bothwell Chapel.

Q. What are three things that you would like to see develop and grow within the Alumni Relations field during your time here?

A. Three things I would like to see improve are: alumni involvement and participation; student engagement and education of alumni programs and their importance; and better communication with alumni and friends.

Q. How will you “Make Your Mark” at McKendree University?

A. I will make my mark by creating an alumni relations program that is top notch. I want to make my mark by creating opportunities for our alumni and friends to network, to mentor, to promote, and to stay connected to McKendree University. I want to tell the stories of our successful alumni to the world.

Q. Are there any more words that you’d like to share with your new alumni community?

A. McKendree is a great place. I am so delighted to be able to work with such an amazing group of alumni. You are a part of the first and the finest. I look forward to hearing your stories of success and triumph.

P.J. is involved in a number of higher education organizations outside of work including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Illinois Trio Alumni Board, 2015 CASE V Planning Committee, and the Eastern Illinois University Minority Affairs Advisory Board. He was also a member of the cheerleading team at EIU as a student. He enjoys assisting friends that still coach cheer with choreography in his free time.

During your next visit to the Lebanon campus, be sure to stop in and give P.J. a nice and friendly McKendree welcome! His office is located on the second floor of the Alumni House on Alton Street. If you are interested in setting up a meeting with P.J. or getting involved as an alum we have many opportunities for you! Please contact the Office of Alumni Relations by email at or by phone at (618) 537-6443 to receive more information!