Charles Yoder Thompson

picture of Charles Y. Thompson

The C. Y. Thompson Library was named in honor of Charles Yoder Thompson LL.B Dr. Agr. Member of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska 1935-1958. In August 2019, renovation/construction began on the C.Y. Thompson Library. On January 27, 2021 the library reopened as the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons. Charles Yoder Thompson's legacy remains a part of this building. A plaque hangs in his honor in the lower level of Dinsdale Family Learning Commons.

Born October 1875 in Reading, Pennsylvania, Charles Yoder Thompson moved with his family to West Point, Nebraska in 1876. Thompson graduated from West Point High School in 1893. He attended the University of Nebraska and received a bachelor of laws degree. He was a member of Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Delta Phi, an international legal fraternity. After graduation, he practiced law for only three years in the offices of Uriah Bruner, one of the founders of West Point, Nebraska.

In 1899, as one of eleven students in the class, Thompson took a short course in farming given through the College of Agriculture. Although he had never lived on a farm he decided to work land his father owned, 320 acres near West Point. Thompson applied his agricultural education using innovations such as implementing crop rotation, planting alfalfa to balance feed rations, and bringing the first riding cultivator to the West Point area.

Thompson's abilities and contributions extended into the community. He helped organize the Cuming County Farmer Institute and the Agricultural Extension Service. He worked with the West Point Community Club bringing rural electrification to the area. Thompson was a regular contributor and writer of a column in the NEBRASKA FARMER for 40 years discussing farm policies and methods as well as his philosophy on life. He was very involved in many farm-related organizations including the Farm Bureau Federation, the Nebraska Hampshire Breeders Association, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association, the Producers Livestock Marketing Association of Omaha, the National Livestock Marketing Association, the Cuming County Farmers Institute, the Cuming County Fair Board and the National Farm Congress.

He married Martha Berthold in 1900. After her untimely death in 1914, he married Marie Chanbers in 1927. The Thompsons had three children, Melvin, Thomas and Margaret. picture of Charles Y. Thompson

Thompson served for twenty-four years on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, from 1935-1959. He completed four terms as board president. As a member of the board his goals included a balanced representation of various groups and professions within Nebraska and he held in high regard the interests of students on campus.

In 1959, the University conferred an honorary Doctor of Agriculture degree on Thompson. His extensive contributions and long career made him an outstanding leader in agriculture and higher education. In both areas, he sought opportunities to make Nebraska a better place to live. In 1966, the University again honored Thompson by naming the new library on East Campus after him, C.Y.Thompson Library.

Charles Yoder Thompson died on June 1, 1970, at the age of 94.

Biographical information and photos courtesy of Archives & Special Collections.