Before his longtime battle with diabetes ended at age 63, Ken Thompson lived a life of service to others as a law enforcement officer. And though he’s been gone seven years, he continues to care for the community he first swore to protect and serve back in 1973.
This fall, thanks to a $147,382.54-planned gift Thompson’s estate made to the Pitt Community College Foundation in April, five PCC students were awarded funding to help them pay for tuition, fees, books and supplies during the 2023-24 academic year. The students — Basic Law Enforcement Training’s Ian Radcliff and Criminal Justice Technology’s Paulisha Dekeyser, Anthony Phillips, KenShawn Siebert Jr. and Catherine Smith — represent the very first recipients of the Kenneth Thompson Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Endowed Scholarship.
“Those who knew and worked with Ken Thompson recall his friendship, work ethic and commitment to his profession,” PCC Scholarships Coordinator Kim Simpkins said. “They say he was someone to look up to and remember his infectious laugh. By creating an endowed scholarship with the PCC Foundation, generations of PCC students will remember Officer Thompson as the man who helped them achieve their academic goals.”
Born in Wilmington, Thompson graduated from J.H. Rose High School before starting his law enforcement career at age 21. He earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice Technology from PCC as a member of the Greenville Police Department, where he rose to the rank of sergeant before retiring with 30 years of service.
“The PCC Foundation is tremendously grateful for Sgt. Ken Thompson’s 30 years of service as a police officer and his love for our community,” PCC Foundation Executive Director Beth Sigmon said. “By establishing an endowed scholarship at PCC, he has ensured our community will have skilled law enforcement personnel protecting it for years to come.”
While a majority of Thompson’s PCC Foundation gift went toward the endowed scholarship that will support as many as 10 students annually in perpetuity, $20,000 was used to name the lobby of PCC’s Law Enforcement training facility for Thompson. Those funds were directed to the PCC Foundation’s “15 in Five Endowment Campaign,” which is generating revenue for PCC general scholarships.
To be eligible for the Thompson Scholarship, students must be enrolled full- or part-time in either Pitt’s criminal justice curriculum or BLET program. They must have and maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and financial need is also taken into consideration by the PCC Foundation Scholarship Committee that determines award recipients.