Get to Know Dan Thompson - Director of Communications

Name: Dan Thompson

Years at FUMA: I've lived in the Fork Union community for many years and joined the FUMA staff as Director of Communications in January 2004.

Duties: I am responsible for the school's website, marketing and advertising, design and production of most printed materials for the Admissions and Development departments, photography, and writing and producing the alumni magazine Call to Quarters.

Describe yourself in one sentence: I'm a pretty optimistic and outgoing guy who tends to find the fun in life, except when I'm being moody.

What is your favorite FUMA memory? It's kind of cliché to say that graduation is my favorite memory, but I remember my first time taking photographs of cadets in May 2004 as they received their diplomas and returned to their seats. For each one of them, there was always a special moment when they would sit down with a big grin on their face and then, quietly, reflectively, they would open their diploma folder and just look at it, just kind of absorb the moment. The look on their faces was always a mixture of pride, relief, satisfaction, and a bit of astonishment at their accomplishment. I look for that moment each year. It is always a powerful and emotional thing to witness. It motivates me to come back and do better in telling the Academy's story.

In the time you have been at the Academy, what do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment? I'm proud of the growth we've seen in our communications and marketing efforts since 2004. Our website has grown from a basic site serving about 250 visitors a day, to a comprehensive resource with over 2,500 unique visitors every day. The Call to Quarters magazine has evolved into a nice full-color magazine with lots of big photographs on two-page spreads. Our Facebook page is very active with more than 7,000 fans. I'm very proud of all that growth.

What job duties/responsibilities do you have at FUMA that others may not be aware of? I am tasked with Middle School Duty on a regular schedule, typically on Sunday mornings. It's great fun to spend time with those 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and it really helps me stay connected to the real work of the Academy - developing and inspiring young men.

If you were given two free tickets to any sporting or entertainment event in the U.S., what would be the name of the event or performer printed on those tickets? I'm good friends with the guys in the band America, because the son of one of the band members was a cadet here for several years and I became friends with his family. I get to see a lot of America concerts when they play on the east coast, but I'd love to have seen the bill they were on recently in Australia: America, Chicago, and Peter Frampton. I'd enjoy seeing that lineup myself. In Australia would be nice, too.

What is your favorite pastime? I love to read and do so pretty much every night before I go to sleep. Reading and listening to live music are at the top of my list.

What advice can you offer to current cadets to help them understand the importance of a good education, as well as how FUMA can benefit their future success? We say that "Success stories begin here." What cadets need to understand is that it is up to them to write that story. We provide the environment in which they can focus and excel. They need to match our efforts with their own effort to achieve. That's when good stuff happens.

Add any additional comments that you feel would describe your time at the Academy and how it has benefited you as an employee. I have the greatest job in the world. I get to tell the story of the Academy every day. There are so many inspiring stories from this historic place: alumni who have used the education they received to go out and accomplish great and momentous things; teachers who have sacrificed their own greater opportunities to, instead, remain on this campus and change young men’s lives, one at a time sometimes. And then there are the current cadets who continue to excel just as young men have here for more than a century. Watching our graduates go off to college or to serve their communities in different ways continues to inspire me. This is a wonderful place, and I get to tell its story every day. I'd do it for free, if only I didn't have bills to pay.