$300,000 Donation Establishes Music Scholarship at Centralia College in Memorial of Vondean Thompson


A recent donation of $300,000 to Centralia College Foundation has established the Vondean Thompson Memorial Scholarship for music students to honor the former Centralia mayor and longtime musician, Vondean Thompson.

The donation was made by Thompson’s husband, Bob, and will be offered to first and second year music students starting in the 2020-2021 academic year. Students can apply for the scholarship, deadline is March 1, on the Centralia College Foundation website. Up to $1,000 will be awarded each year. 

“Vondean was a wonderful woman who led a fully engaged life,” said Bob in a statement on the Centralia College website. “She was a fine pianist and had a lifelong love of music.”

Thompson passed away at the age of 79 on Jan. 10 2018 from a brain tumor. She was born in Centralia and graduated from Centralia High School in 1956. Thompson is survived by her husband, Bob, and their three children and seven grandchildren, according to her obituary.

Thompson was active in the music community, founding the Centralia College Performing Arts Society about 45 years ago and organized the Pacific Northwest Chamber Orchestra formally known as the Pacicfic Northwest Youth Orchestra, according to information on the Centralia College website.

Thompson was also active in city government, serving on the city council for three terms, including one as mayor, totaling 12 years on the council.  She was elected to the first Centralia city council in 1986.

“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,” said Bob Mohrbacher, Centralia College President in a statement on the Centralia College website.

“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,” continued Mohrbacher.

Centralia College stated that if anyone wants to donate to the memorial scholarship that checks can be mailed to the Centralia College Foundation at 600 Centralia College Blvd. Centralia, WA 98531. It is asked that it be noted on the memo line that the donation is for the Vondean Thompson Memorial Scholarship.