Late Las Vegas Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson honored through scholarship bearing his name
Nevada Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, also known as “T-Squared,” was chairman of the Assembly Education Committee when he suddenly passed away on May 4, 2019, at the age of 51. Thompson was known as a champion in the areas of education, homelessness initiatives, public health issues and employment discrimination. However, his work and passion for people far exceeded his political endeavors.
His untimely passing inspired friend and colleague, Jeff Hendrickson, University of Phoenix Campus director in Las Vegas, to spearhead the creation of the Tyrone Thompson Scholarship as a way for the University to honor Thompson for years to come. The full-tuition scholarship is open to prospective student applicants from the state of Nevada pursuing an undergraduate degree.
The official Tyrone Thompson Scholarship will be formally announced on Wednesday Jan. 22, 2020, at City Hall in North Las Vegas with the mayor, Thompson’s family, and a fellow assemblywoman in attendance. The timing of the announcement is perhaps no accident at all. The scholarship will be unveiled one week exactly after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. It is only fitting to honor a man known for his philanthropic goals on the cuff of another notable man in history known for his progressive initiatives and social acceptance.
Hendrickson described Thompson as “an incredible person to be around with an infectious personality.”
I love what this may do for somebody’s future who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to go to college. The fact that it’s in Tyrone’s honor makes it all the more special.
— Jeff Hendrickson
Campus Director, Las Vegas, NV
Reflecting on the first time the first time the two crossed paths, Hendrickson said he was searching on LinkedIn for someone to deliver an upcoming commencement speech. Thompson’s profile came up with his credentials as an assemblyman serving on the education committee, as well as a direct connection to UOPX, having graduated from the University of Phoenix Las Vegas Campus in 2000 with a master’s in Organizational Management.
Thompson accepted Hendrickson’s invitation to speak at commencement and the two continued close collaborations. Thompson delivered the commencement for the University in June of 2017 and was the keynote speaker for the University’s 25-year anniversary, and ultimately a friendship evolved.
“Tyrone was intelligent, creative, and truly making a difference in the North Las Vegas community,” Hendrickson said. “Tyrone had an uncanny ability to connect people and I will forever be grateful that I knew him.”
The premature death of Thompson was devastating to not only his colleagues, but to his community as a whole. He had dedicated his time with the Assembly to fight for the people, with true heart and passion, as an educational and social thought leader. Those that had the privilege of working around him knew they would need to honor Thompson’s legacy in a way that would reflect his ideals and his passion for helping the community through resources, progressive ideologies and education on a heightened level.
Thompson was appointed to the 17th District Assembly seat in 2013 and was serving his third elected term during the time of his passing. He represented a section of Northwest Las Vegas in Clark County, Nevada. Before his time in the legislature, he served at the Clark County Organizational Development Center, the City of Las Vegas, and the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition.
The Democratic Assembly caucus explained that Thompson had passionately worked on legislation that would improve educational opportunities for students, as well as state-funded services at family resource centers. He cared about underprivileged areas and their access to health care services and led initiatives implemented to begin the fight to end employment discrimination against individuals holding criminal records.
On top of his work within the public sector, he spent nearly 20 years volunteering as a court appointed advocate for children in the foster care system who had been abused or neglected. He had a true love for people, especially our nation’s youth, that went far beyond his career.
Thompson’s friends, family and fellow colleagues describe him as a larger than life personality, with a truly selfless character, who was highly regarded and well respected for his dedication and leadership.
“I love what this may do for somebody’s future who wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to go to college,” Hendrickson said. “The fact that it’s in Tyrone’s honor makes it all the more special.”