Lucille Smith Thompson
Reference librarian and head of reference, MSU Library (1964-1985), associate professor emerita from the Montana Board of Regents
In 1978 while working in the Montana State University reference library, Lucille Smith Thompson, a woman of color, was selected by students in the College of Agriculture for their Friend of the Students Award for her professional and personal approach to assisting students. In the early 1980s, Thompson served on MSU’s affirmative action advisory committee as a contact for beleaguered students. The local chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, devoted to advancing women in education, elected her president in 1976 during a meeting at which she presented a program on changing attitudes toward women. Thompson was elected president of the Montana Library Association for 1978-1980. One of the most enduring records of her devotion to social justice and education is her co-authorship of The Negro in Montana 1800-1945: A Selective Bibliography, published by the Montana State Library in 1970. Her preface notes that for many settlers of the West, the new land was an opportunity, a second chance. But the occasional Negro who came as someone’s slave, maid or handyman was allowed no dreams. After 21 years at MSU, the rank of associate professor emerita of library science was conferred on Thompson by the Board of Regents.
Working in an environment of limited diversity during the 1960s through the ‘80s, Lucille Thompson strove to make the university a friendlier environment to all students.