In Memoriam for W. Scott Thompson

  • Scott Thompson (WHF 1975-76): 1942-2017
    Scott Thompson of the WHF Class of 1975-76 passed away April 8, 2017.

    Scott’s longtime friend Amie Hoebner wrote the following obituary for the Washington Post. 

    Professor W. Scott Thompson – a member of both Ford and Reagan Administrations and a Professor Emeritus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University – suffered a heart attack and died February 19 at his home by Lake Talisay in the Philippines. He was 75.

    A graduate of Phillips Andover Academy and Stanford University, he was a Rhodes Scholar and Danforth Fellow at Oxford University. Dr. Thompson authored and edited numerous books and articles on foreign policy and governance, including one co-authored with his son Nicholas, The Baobab and the Mango Tree: African and Asian Contrasts.

    He was an Assistant to the Secretary of Defense in 1975-1976 as a White House Fellow, and he later served in the Reagan Administration as Associate Director, U.S. Information Agency, from 1982-1984. From 1986-1993 he was on the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace, a Presidential appointment with the advice and consent of the Senate. Following those years, he authored Price of Achievement: Coming Out in Reagan Days, breaking new ground for government appointees.

    He was also an advisor to two Filipino presidents, its National Security Council and four Filipino cabinet members and has resided in the Philippines since the late 1990s. He published several detailed analyses of Philippine and Thai relations with the United States. His most recent book, Trustee of the Nation: The Biography of Fidel V. Ramos, was a widely-acclaimed examination of the Philippine government as well as of President Ramos himself.

    Professor Thompson was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and he was a Founding Member of the Committee on the Present Danger in 1976.

    Both his hospitality and the intensity and warmth of his friendships were legendary. He hosted many friends during his years in the Philippines – in Manila and at his lake house, and at his retreat in Bali. Earlier, in the Washington, DC area, he was known for the chamber music concerts he sponsored and his yearly azalea parties at his home bordering Rock Creek Park. Wherever he lived, he welcomed people from every corner of his varied life. He took on projects with gusto: whether creating a garden, keeping up with a voluminous correspondence, critiquing a dissertation, or listening to every single piece composed by Bach.

    His marriage to the former Nina Nitze ended in divorce. He had a second marriage to Louie Pangilinan. He was predeceased by his sister Sue Nies and he is survived by his three children – Phyllis Thompson of Boston, Nicholas Thompson of San Francisco and New York (Danielle Goldman), and Heidi Thompson Saunders of Chicago (David Saunders) and seven grandchildren – Anina and Emmett Buck-Thompson; Ellis, Zachary, and James Thompson; and Paul and Juliet Saunders.
    posted: April 19, 2017
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