Centennial Edition: Dr. Hugh Lee Thompson


Siena Heights University had their first male president in 1971. Dr. Hugh Lee Thompson ran Siena until 1977. He caused major changes to the school.

Not only was the transition difficult, but he changed Siena’s focus more into a business and career-focused education school. Dr. Thompson also introduced the idea of being like a community college, and having the first two-year program in Adrian, Mich.

He was also president at several other schools: Detroit Institution of Technology in Michigan and Washburn University in Kansas. He was also vice president at Clark College in Iowa and Meyers University in Ohio.

He was known for not being Catholic at a Roman Catholic school. He enjoyed traveling and cooking. He married Patricia Ann (Smith). Thompson had four daughters, and went on to have three great-grandchildren before passing away in March 19, 2007.

He will be forever remembered because he shaped Siena Heights University, and now his photo is in the Legacy Room at Siena’s main campus in the library. His story will be part of everyone who becomes a Siena Heights student.