John Jay Mourns Ken Thompson

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Kenneth Thompson, John Jay alumnus (B.A. 89) and District Attorney of Kings County (Brooklyn), helped launch the yearlong Bridging the Divide initiative when he delivered the 25th annual Lloyd Sealy Lecture on Sept. 29, 2015.

Speaking before a capacity audience in the Moot Court, Thompson's keynote address focused on "The Role of Law Enforcement in Ensuring Justice Is Delivered."

Among those on hand for the milestone event, which was co-sponsored by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), were (l-r): Tiffany Wheatland, Adjunct Professor of Africana Studies; C. Jama Adams, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Africana Studies; District Attorney Thompson; Gregory A. Thomas, National President of NOBLE; Rulisa Galloway-Perry, Chief of Staff to President Jeremy Travis; Delores Jones-Brown, Professor, Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration; President Travis.

John Jay College mourns the passing of alumnus Kenneth Thompson (B.A. ’89), Brooklyn District Attorney, on Sunday, October 9, 2016.

President Jeremy Travis said: “We are proud of all our alumni, but took special pride in the public service career of Ken Thompson, from his service as a federal prosecutor pursuing a case of police brutality to his historic election as a reform-minded District Attorney in Kings County committed to restoring public faith in the criminal justice system. His many friends at John Jay cheered as he tackled these challenges of justice. Ken often made clear that he was deeply indebted to John Jay for his professional accomplishments, and he showed his gratitude by giving back to the John Jay community in countless ways.

"He was a founding member of the Advisory Board for the Pre Law Institute. The PLI honored him as Outstanding Alumnus at Law Day in 2006. He was selected as one of the “50 at 50,” a group of prominent alumni honored at our 50th Reunion. He was the lead speaker in our yearlong “Bridging the Divide” initiative, co-sponsored with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, designed to find new ways to improve police-community relations. His lecture electrified the students and faculty in attendance. He was proud of John Jay and we are proud of him.

"Now, his young life of so much promise has been cut short. We will never know how much he might have changed the world, but have a sense that the future held greater opportunities for him. In these difficult days, 0ur thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.

“On a personal note, I feel I have lost a good friend and ally in the struggle for justice. Ken was always there for me and John Jay. He generously asked me to serve on his transition committee, and I was impressed by his sincere commitment to making the Kings County District Attorney’s office a model for the country. There can be no greater tribute to his vision than the realization of that dream. Ken Thompson will be missed.”

Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay in 1989. John Jay was a natural choice for him, he noted, because of its interdisciplinary approach, its diverse student body and the opportunity to learn from experts.

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