2003 Recipient


Because of his many years of hard work on behalf of Deaf people, Dick Thompson is known as "The Father of the Deaf Community" in the Boston area. He was one of the founders and first director of the Massachusetts Office of Deafness, and he helped as it grew to become MCDHH. He was the first Deaf Chairperson of the Board of Trustees at New England Home for the Deaf; was one of the founders of D.E.A.F., Inc.; President of the Massachusetts State Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; and one of four founding fathers of the Oral Deaf Adults Section (now known as the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Section) of the Alexander Graham Bell Association of the Deaf. He worked as a psychologist consulting at various schools for the Deaf throughout New England, and he taught "Psychology of Deafness" at BU and Smith College.


Dick Thompson has always been very determined. When he was growing up, sign language was not allowed in school, and there were no interpreters. He read a lot; received a lot of support from his family, teachers, and friends; and became the first deaf student to graduate from Harvard University. He later earned a Master's degree in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at BU. He is one of the first members of the Deaf Community to receive a doctorate degree in this country.

Advice to Horace Mann Students

"Teamwork is so important. Be determined, get involved, learn about leadership, and look to your Deaf role models for guidance."