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Chauncey’s Champion Someone making a difference.

I Spy: Marjorie Thompson on giving with heart

by Mona Prufer Bookmark and Share
Marjorie Thompson
Marjorie Thompson

When Marjorie Thompson first came to Coastal Carolina University in 2014 as a director of philanthropy, there was a definite learning curve. She had had several jobs during her career in the health field, but none of them dealt with the delicate art of giving.

“It was an adjustment, and I am still learning,” says Thompson, who directs philanthropy operations for the Spadoni College of Education, Women in Philanthropy and Leadership (WIPL) and for the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning (OLLI). “One thing I didn’t have to learn was how to love the University,” says Thompson. “I was part of the Chanticleer family long before I starting wearing a name badge.”

Her job is to match potential donors with opportunities for positive impacts on students.

“It can be stressful, but the rewards outweigh the stress,” she says as the Department of Philanthropy launches its heftiest endowment campaign ever – “I’M IN – The Endowment Campaign for Coastal Carolina University.”

“You learn to be patient and figure out where someone’s heart is.”

Speaking of donors and heart, the Thompson family for years has been known for being community-minded, CCU-loving and philanthropy-involved. Their fervor for community participation is due in part to their youngest daughter Savannah, 20, who loves everything Coastal, and particularly Chanticleer sports, so the Thompsons are often in attendance at campus events.

“Most 20-year-olds and their friends create their own fun and ways to be involved, but, because of her limitations, we assist in making opportunities happen for Savannah,” says Thompson, whose daughter was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes heart defects and developmental delays. Savannah attends Socastee High School and will until age 21; after that, she will enter the LIFE program at CCU. She also plays soccer and baseball with the Grand Strand Miracle League and competes in Special Olympics.

The Thompsons’ oldest daughter Chandler, also a Socastee High School and Clemson graduate (both undergraduate and graduate school), lives in Greenville where she works for Hughes Development Inc. Thompson’s husband Lance is vice president for the Jackson Companies, whose holdings include Ocean Lakes Campground and Prestwick Country Club in Surfside Beach.

Thompson was recently named the 2016 Ann DeBock Leadership Award recipient by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. As Lance Thompson won the same recognition in 2004, and they are the first husband-wife team to win the award.

“Lance and I are good partners,” says Thompson. “We both felt it was important to be involved in the community in order for us to call this home. You get as much out of it as you put into it.”

She earned an undergraduate degree in recreational therapy from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she met her future husband. Her career has included positions as director of marketing, public relations and physician services for Loris Healthcare. Before joining the CCU staff, Thompson was the practice administrator for Carolina Radiology Associates for 16 years.

She is actively involved in the community and serves on the Horry County Memorial Library board of trustees, Grand Strand Miracle League board, Women in Philanthropy and Leadership, ZONTA International Foundation board and the South State Bank Regional Advisory board.

A few years ago, when they learned that the family of a Miss Coastal could not be at the competition because they lived in Arizona, the Thompsons volunteered to be her “Coastal family” at the pageant.

Shannon Kelahan-Pierson, who was crowned Miss Coastal in 2015, shared this:

“I'm so thankful that this [WIPL] scholarship not only allowed me to continue my education here at Coastal, but also connected me with the Thompsons," said Kelahan-Pierson. I can honestly say they are a huge part of my Coastal Carolina family! Mrs. Thompson is an inspiring woman, and perfectly embodies the poise, care and compassion that a true leader should reflect. I'm absolutely honored to call her a friend and role model!”

Martha Hunn, associate vice president for the Office of University Communication, nominated Thompson for the I Spy award because of her genuine caring spirit.

"When you meet Marjorie, no matter how brief the encounter, you come away knowing that she cares about your well-being," says Hunn. "Marjorie leads the Women’s Leadership Conference event, and always sets a positive tone and leads by example as a true servant leader. We are very fortunate to have Marjorie working at CCU in our Office for Philanthropy."

Mark Roach, vice president for philanthropy at CCU, says, “ Marjorie Thompson represents all that you hope for in an employee,” says Mark Roach. “She is very competent but humble, loves her job and the University, and is an incredible teammate."

Related Photos

Diane Sanders, Mark Kiskunis and Marjorie Thompson dance to the "Happy" song during the 2014 taping of the video. Shannon Kelahan-Pierson, who was crowned Miss Coastal in 2015, shares a happy moment with Savannah Thompson. Three-fourths of the Thompson family – Marjorie, Savannah and Lance. Daughter Chandler lives in Greenville. Marjorie Thompson Members of the Thompson family were recognized for their support of and gift to the CCU baseball program in September 2014. "You can see how much Savannah loves Chauncey," says her mom.  Marjorie Thompson and Diane Sanders at the launch of the endowment campaign.
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