Steve Thompson, son of former Ripon college professor and chaplain Jerry Thompson, wandered through his late father’s former office last week Friday, alongside sister Nancy.
The space, he noted, has changed a bit since their well-known dad worked at the college.
“This room used to be bigger,” he said, later joking about how much nicer it is now with “no rats.”
But one memory of his father’s old office in the basement of Bartlett Hall brought a grin to Steve’s face.
“Right there, Dad had a picture, hanging upside-down, and it drove the faculty crazy and half the kids he knew crazy,” Steve said. “They’d look at the picture and say, ‘Jerry, you have that picture upside-down!’
“They’d start to move it and he’d just yell at them. ‘You leave that picture alone — don’t you dare move it! That picture is there for a reason. And that reason was, not everybody comes into my office with the same perspective as you do. And I think we need to broaden our outlook here.’”
It’s that compassion for those outside the mainstream in society that made him a legend in the 1960s at Ripon College — and a key reason the college honored him last week.