Journalist, social critic Bankole Thompson named ‘Executive in Residence’ at LTU

SOUTHFIELD—Award-winning journalist and racial justice advocate Bankole Thompson has been named the 2022 Executive in Residence by the College of Business and Information Technology at Lawrence Technological University.

“LTU is happy to honor Bankole Thompson with this appointment, which will make his extensive experience in advancing equity in economic development available to our students,” said Bahman Mirshab, dean of the College of Business and IT at LTU.

Said Thompson of his new post: “It has been my lifelong commitment to help inspire the next generation of innovators and changemakers. I hope that through the Executive in Residence program at the College of Business and Information Technology, I can help inculcate in the students of Lawrence Technological University a deeper and profound sense of dedication to the issues of equity, justice and freedom that are resonating around our nation and the world. I believe that science has the answer to some of our most fundamental and troubling questions around inequality and poverty. That is why it is important for the future leaders in technological innovation to demonstrate not only an educated understanding of these issues, but also a willingness to work towards them and to use their talents and gifts in achieving a more just society.”

A sought-after national political commentator, Thompson is currently an opinion columnist at The Detroit News, where he writes a twice-a-week column (Mondays and Thursdays) on presidential politics, culture, diversity, leadership, equity and socioeconomic issues.

The Eisenhower Foundation in Washington D.C. dubbed Thompson as a “courageous voice on behalf of the dispossessed and disenfranchised, a shining example of journalism for the public good.”

He is the editor-in-chief and dean of The PuLSE Institute, a national anti-poverty think tank, headquartered in Detroit. The Institute was established in 2018 based on his writings on issues of poverty and inequality.

Among his many awards, The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., president and founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, honored Thompson with the “Let Freedom Ring Journalism Award” on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2018, to mark the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination. In 2015, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit honored Thompson with a special Tzedakah Award, which in in Hebrew means righteousness, justice, and charity. In 2020, Thompson delivered the keynote address at the 20th Dr. William G. Anderson Slavery to Freedom: An American Odyssey Lecture Series at Michigan State University, joining luminaries such as author and professor Michael Eric Dyson, philosopher Cornel West, the late Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis, humanitarian and civil rights leader Harry Belafonte, and Evelyn Higginbotham, chair of the History Department at Harvard University.

Thompson has made numerous media appearances, including CNN’s Inside Politics, and has spoken at sessions including the American Jewish Committee Distinguished Leadership Dinner, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 50th anniversary, the Flint NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner, the Federal Bench and Bar Conference for the Eastern District of Michigan, the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference, Morehouse College, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, DTE Energy’s Tri-Annual Leadership Summit, Lockheed Martin’s Black Excellence Council Leadership Panel, the Rainbow PUSH Global Automotive Summit, and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

He is the author of two books on President Barack Obama, “Obama and Black Loyalty” (2010) and “Obama and Christian Loyalty” (2011).

In recognition of his work as a journalist and thought leader, the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library in 2015 established the “Bankole Thompson Papers,” a comprehensive physical and digital collection to preserve his work for posterity. The Bentley houses the papers of every Michigan governor and significant leaders. Thompson was also mentioned in the Congressional Record by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, which officially placed his journalistic contributions into the record of United States Congress.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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