Donation Establishes the Vondean Thompson Memorial Scholarship at Centralia College


Submitted by Centralia College

The Centralia College Foundation has announced a new scholarship to honor longtime musician and community leader Vondean Thompson.

Thompson was the founder of the Centralia College Performing Arts Society in the 1970s and went on to organize the Pacific Northwest Youth Orchestra, which is now known as the Pacific Northwest Chamber Orchestra. She worked to bring string instruction to local schools and, in 1986, was elected to the Centralia City Council. She served three terms, including one year as mayor.

“Arts education is a key part of Centralia College and being able to support music students with a dedicated scholarship like this one will help us to keep our vibrant music program strong into the future. The college would not be able to support students in the same manner without the dedication and partnership of community members like Vondean and Bob Thompson.”

The Vondean Thompson Memorial Scholarship was established with a $300,000 donation by her husband, Robert Thompson. It will be offered to first- and second-year music students at Centralia College. Up to $1,000 will be awarded each year, starting in the 2020-21 academic year. The foundation is currently accepting applications for this and all CCF scholarships online via the college and foundation websites. The deadline to apply is March 1.

“Vondean was a wonderful woman who led a fully engaged life,” said Robert Thompson. “She was a fine pianist and had a lifelong love of music.”

Donations to the memorial scholarship can be made online via PayPal at or checks can be mailed to the Centralia College Foundation, 600 Centralia College Blvd., Centralia, WA 98531. Please note on the memo line that the donation is to the Vondean Thompson Memorial Scholarship.

Vondean Thompson passed away Jan. 10, 2018, from a brain tumor. She was 79.

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