He has been dubbed “Mr. Indianapolis,” a lofty designation for any community member, much less an individual who resides in one of the largest cities in the United States. In the case of Milt Thompson ’76, however, the term fits.
He has done so many things. He knows so many people. And the best news? He’s just getting started.
In recognition of Thompson’s tireless efforts to enrich his community, he recently accepted the Charles L. Whistler Award, which honors individuals for their extraordinary public service to the Indianapolis community. It is the latest award on a phenomenal list, ranging from professional and athletic achievement to civic dedication and philanthropic leadership.
A 1998 Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor inductee as a result of his tremendous collegiate baseball career and an emeritus member of the University’s Board of Directors and Alumni Board, Thompson is quick to give credit to his alma mater for nurturing his personal and professional aspirations.
“Wittenberg gave me four unbelievable years I can’t imagine living my life without,” said Thompson, who was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles after graduating from Wittenberg but chose a law career instead. “She nurtured me and gave me academic, sports and arts opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to a young black man from Indianapolis. She inspired me to go to law school, and not just any law school, but one of the best in the country – the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University in Bloomington.
“That helped me launch an exciting and enjoyable career. Looking back, I can say without equivocation that my experience as an All-American baseball player and student-athlete at Wittenberg boosted my confidence as a professional and convinced me I can compete with anyone.”
A successful prosecutor, Thompson has been recognized as an “Indiana Super Lawyer.” He has served the Maurer School of Law as president of both its Board of Visitors and its alumni association, and he has been inducted into the Academy of Law Alumni Fellows.
In 1987, Thompson was General Counsel to the Pan American Games that brought athletes from 47 nations to Indianapolis, and 10 years later he was the inaugural chair of the newly created Central Indiana Community Foundation. He also served as executive director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as a commissioner for the Hoosier Lottery, a member of the Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, the Tourism Board of Visit Indy, and the English Foundation, and he was given the Business & Philanthropy Award by the National Center for Black Philanthropy in Washington, D.C.