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President's Biography

Vinton Thompson grew up in a small farming town in Southern New Jersey, where his family grew cranberries and blueberries in the Pine Barrens.  He attended public schools and entered Harvard on a Philadelphia Bulletin newsboy scholarship in 1965.  At Harvard he majored in biology, wrote a senior thesis under the late Stephen Jay Gould, and graduated with honors in June 1969.

In September 1969 Dr. Thompson moved to Chicago to start graduate studies in evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, where he had been awarded a full fellowship.  He carried out investigations in experimental fruit fly population genetics and wrote a doctoral thesis on the relationship between genetic recombination (sexual reproduction at the chromosome level) and the rate of response to selection.  At the same time he began field studies that developed into a lifelong interest in the ecology and evolution of a unique group of insects called spittlebugs.  He received his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology in December 1974.

While a graduate student, Dr. Thompson worked for several semesters as an adjunct instructor in the adult evening bachelor’s degree program at Roosevelt University, an urban university serving a largely adult, commuter student body.  Dr. Thompson joined Roosevelt full-time as an Assistant Professor of Biology in 1980.  He contributed to Roosevelt’s growth and success as a teacher, department-level administrator, associate provost and provost.  He played an important role in the renaissance of Roosevelt’s downtown Chicago Campus and promoted that campus as part of a multi-institution Chicago Loop Education Corridor that he helped to realize and define.  Dr. Thompson’s Chicago experience also included two years as an administrator in the central offices of the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago’s community college system.

In 2004 Dr. Thompson became Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kean University, a large public institution in Union, New Jersey.  At Kean he oversaw the revitalization of faculty scholarship and the development of many new programs, including the university’s first doctoral programs, and a successful branch campus in Ocean County, New Jersey.

In May 2008 Dr. Thompson assumed the presidency of Metropolitan College of New York, an urban commuter institution serving about 1000 working adults in Lower Manhattan.  Since coming to Metropolitan College he has stabilized enrollment, increased the enrollment of new students, and led the college through a successful regional reaccreditation visit.

Dr. Thompson has participated in several community efforts, including the multiethnic campaign to elect Chicago’s first African-American mayor (a Roosevelt University graduate), and the grassroots campaign for school reform and parent led local school councils in the Chicago Public Schools.  He has a Research Associate appointment at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, where he maintains a working entomology collection.  In his off hours he hikes, cooks Chinese, reads history, pursues his scientific interests, and occasionally rollerblades on weekends.  Every year or two he spends time in Costa Rica, where he has ongoing research interests and where he and his wife own a small farm.

The Thompsons have two children, both college graduates, one a newspaper writer in Philadelphia, the other managing a community law clinic in Berkeley, California.  Dr. Thompson’s wife, Ruth Moscovitch, is an attorney and artist.  She has an active arbitration practice in labor-management relations and an affiliation with Manhattan Graphics, a printmaker’s cooperative located in Manhattan, very close to Metropolitan College.

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Mailing Address MCNY (60 West Street, New York, NY 10006 · 463 East 149th Street, Bronx, NY 10455)
Phone Number  (800) 33 THINK | 212 343 1234