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James E. Thompson gift renews professorship in marketing

March 5, 2018

James E. Thompson (pictured on left), a longtime supporter of NIU, has renewed the James E. Thompson Professorship in Marketing for three more academic years. Thompson, a 1967 marketing alumnus, who served as executive vice president and managing director of the Leo Burnett Company, established the professorship in 2014 for a three-year term. It was awarded to Professor Tim Aurand.

“I have a continuing gratitude for my experience with faculty and curriculum in my years at NIU. I especially remember certain professors who went out of their way to nurture my interest and understanding of marketing, business and liberal arts as well. These were invaluable at the start, and throughout my career. Whatever I’m now able to give back was well earned by those very special teachers. It’s my belief that today, the College of Business continues the primary focus on students and great teaching that I saw back in the 60’s. That deserves all our support,” said Thompson.

The James E. Thompson Professorship in Marketing was again awarded to Professor Aurand. Aurand is an award-winning faculty member who serves the university in three main capacities: teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses in marketing, researching topics of interest in marketing and serving the university by sitting on numerous committees. He is currently the advisor for the NIU Chapter of the American Marketing Association and a board member of Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR).

“I’m truly grateful to Jim Thompson for extending the professorship,” said Aurand. “Over the last year, I have been developing an online branding course, offered for the first time at NIU. I am also revamping my classroom material to concentrate on digital marketing. I’m grateful to Mr. Thompson for having confidence and faith in my discipline,” said Aurand. “This professorship will allow me to devote more time to research as well as help other faculty with their scholarly pursuits and to bring those research results into the classroom and organizations in which I sit.”

“Supporting faculty excellence is a top priority,” said Dean Balaji Rajagopalan of the College of Business. “Great faculty make lasting impressions on our students. It’s vital to have creative and engaging professors, who not only encourage and mentor our students but incorporate new methods and ideas into the classroom. Professorships, fellowships and chairs provide the resources to retain faculty like Tim Aurand and allow him to pursue his research,” said Rajagopalan. “We are grateful to Jim for his generosity,” added Rajagopalan.

The NIU College of Business has 22 externally funded faculty professorships.