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New London — The U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association recently awarded William H. Thompson the Distinguished Volunteer Award for more than 20 years of volunteer service.
The annual award recognizes individuals that have provided outstanding service to the association, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or to both.
Thompson, of South Lyme, graduated from the academy in 1964 and became the force behind a number of fundraising initiatives that supported the academy’s athletics programs. At the academy, Thompson was the co-captain, All American lineman, ECAC College Player of the Year and southeastern Connecticut Athlete of the Year for the 1963 football team that was undefeated and untied for the first time in the school’s history. Thompson also was co-captain of the baseball team.
With a substantial personal gift in 1993, Thompson created the 1963 Football Champions endowment, which primarily supports the academy’s football team. In 2004, Thompson created the Otto Graham Athletic Legacy Fund to memorialize his coach and mentor. He has been at the forefront of developing gifts from outside the normal Alumni Association network and his efforts have helped raise more than $350,000 for the athletic programs.