Sharon Thompson, professor and coordinator of health promotion at Coastal Carolina University, has been named the Governor's 2008 Professor of the Year for four-year institutions of higher education. She was selected from a list of 36 candidates for this prestigious annual award, which recognizes excellence in teaching and student advising.
Thompson was born in Greenwood and grew up in Florence. She graduated from West Florence High School in 1976 and earned a bachelor's degree in plant sciences from Clemson University in 1980. She earned a master's degree in community education in 1982, an educational specialist degree in educational administration in 1992 and a doctorate degree in health education in 1993, all from the University of South Carolina.
In 1991, Thompson joined the faculty of Coastal Carolina University, where she is professor and coordinator of health promotion. She has been a major force in the creation and development of the University's health promotion major, which was recognized in 2008 with a national award given by American's leading health education associations. Thompson is a national authority on nutrition and weight disorders and has written extensively on these subjects for academic journals and other publications.
As a professor she is a strong advocate of the teacher-scholar model, integrating her research and service experiences into classroom lessons and involving her students in scholarly pursuits. Since 2001, she has annually sponsored students at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR), co-authored 20 published manuscripts and/or proceedings with students, and mentored numerous student presentations. Thompson is the University's Faculty Athletic Representative and the faculty adviser for Eta Sigma Gamma, the health promotion honor society.
In 2004, Thompson received Coastal Carolina University's Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award at Coastal, and she received the University's Student Affairs Award in 1998. She received the Excellence in Community Nutrition Award from the Dannon Institute in 2003 and The Sun News Volunteer of the Year Award for 2003-2004. In 1997, she was named the South Carolina Health Professional of the Year by the South Carolina Association for the Advancement of Health Education (SCAAHE). She is chairperson of the Horry County School District Comprehensive Health Education Advisory Committee.
Active in the community, Thompson has had many important volunteer roles, including chairing the Waccamaw Youth Center and the Horry County School District Comprehensive Health Education Advisory Committee. She has also served such organizations as Step Up! and the Conway Medical Center, and she volunteers at numerous schools in Horry County.
Thompson is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach. She has two daughters, Leslie, 22, and Austin, 15.