Tony Thompson

Tony Thompson, founder and CEO of Kwame Building Group has created a scholarship at Harris-Stowe State University in the name of his late mother, former state Rep. Betty Thompson. From left are HSSU President LaTonia Collins Smith, Thompson, and Jeff Shaw, HSSU vice president of the Office of Institutional Advancement.

Anthony "Tony" Thompson was taught at a very early age by his parents, Jack and Betty Thompson, a former state representative and community activist who served her community for more than 40 years, about the importance and value of education, family, and community service.

As chairman and CEO of Kwame Building Group, Inc., the first African American ESOP corporation in Missouri, Thompson provides young professionals with growth, development, and leadership opportunities. In addition, through the Kwame Foundation, he endows scholarships at various institutions of higher learning across the country to assist in removing the financial barrier that exists for many minorities and first-generation college students.

"Giving back has always been a core family value," Thompson said.

"My mom helped everybody. I remember as a kid going with her to pass out cheese and coats to needy families at Pruitt-Igoe. She taught my siblings and me that nothing was impossible; and that even though we came from humble beginnings and lived in a St. Louis housing project, we could do anything. I feel blessed to be in the position I am in today to help these kids and give back, too."

Mrs. Thompson, who passed away in July 2021, was born in Mississippi and later moved to St. Louis, Missouri. She was educated in St. Louis Public Schools, graduating from Sumner High School. She attended Harris-Stowe State University and Washington University in St. Louis, earning certificates in business and management.

Thompson said his mother's example inspired him, and her love for Harris-Stowe and the community led him to create the scholarship.

"My mother loved Harris-Stowe and this community. She would be pleased to know that a scholarship established in her honor will assist many students, who are also first-generation college students, and help them pursue their dreams," Thompson said.

The $100,000 Betty L. Thompson Endowed Scholarship will benefit full-time students in good academic standing at the university.

"We are so grateful for Mr. Thompson's legacy gift that will benefit students for years to come and honored that he chose Harris-Stowe State University as a place to memorialize his mother's name," said Jeff Shaw, vice president of the Office of Institutional Advancement.

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