Tuesday, Jan. 8
Georgia State University College of the Law is saddened to report the death of Externship Program specialist Sarita Thompson, who died from an aggressive form of pneumonia on Dec. 29. She was laid to rest on Jan. 5 in Riverdale, Ga.
|Sarita Thompson (pictured with former GSU Law librarian Nancy Adams) at a 2012 event.|
"She was a dedicated professional who for 21 years served and supported hundreds of students and worked with our externship co-directors and site supervisors to help build the very successful and important program it is today," said Dean Steven J. Kaminshine in announcing the news.
Thompson joined the Externship Program in August 1992 after serving Robinson College of Business for 17 months. When Vickie Brown became the Career Services director, Thompson took the lead administrative role as coordinator and later as program specialist. She served the college with distinction, working hard to transition a young externship office into adulthood.
One of Thompson's strengths was her passion for her work and her dedication to students. "Sarita cared deeply about each student and valued the relationships she formed through her work," said Kendall Kerew, Externship Program co-director.
"No matter how busy she was, she would interrupt what she was doing to talk to and encourage students," said Andi Curcio, professor and Externship Program co-director.
Thompson also did everything possible to accommodate site supervisors, many of whom worked with her for more than a decade, Curcio said. Some recalled how they would "always get a smile and a hug each semester from Sarita when they came to interview students."
In addition to her work with the externship program, Thompson was a valued colleague. "Sarita was a friend and mentor to many at the college," Curcio said. "For example, when another staff member lost everything in an apartment fire, Sarita led the effort to help the person begin again by organizing the college to help replace the lost belongings."
"Sarita was an integral part of the College of Law community," said Anjelica Lymon, human resources director. "Sarita's customer service skills were exemplary. Her professionalism and personable demeanor were treasured by administrators, faculty, staff and students."
Thompson always was concerned about her colleagues and willing to share an encouraging word when needed, Lymon said. "Her smile and good humor would brighten any room. I will personally miss her as a confidante and friend."
Thompson was a devoted mother of four and grandmother to six boys; her office was filled with family photos.
"To know Sarita personally was to know someone whose passion was her family — how much family was the center of her life and how much she was the center of her family," Kaminshine said.
Thompson is survived by her husband, Bairon Thompson, and four children, Sharonda Ancrum, Dana Collins, Chamel Collins and Dion Collins, and six grandsons. Cards and condolences may be sent care of her daughter, Chamel Collins, P. O. Box 742471, Riverdale, GA 30274.