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Professor, Sociology, Division of Social Relations

Professor Emeritus



Joining Mercy College of Detroit, Division of Social Relations as an Instructor in 1952, Walter Thomson was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1955, Associate Professor in 1962, and earned the rank of full Professor in 1967.  He served as the Chairman of the Department of Sociology (1960-1962) and was the first Dean of Men (1964-1966) for the College.  Taking a leave of absence from Mercy College during 1968-1970, he served as President of Mount Senario College, Ladysmith Wisconsin.

Dr. Thomson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Economics from Providence College Providence Rhode Island in 1949, a Master of Arts in Sociology from Boston College Chestnut Hill Massachusetts (1951), and after completing post graduate work at Wayne State University and the International University in Rome he received his Ph.D. in Social Science in 1962.  He taught Introduction to Sociology, Criminology, The Family, and Juvenile Delinquency.

For Mercy College he served on many committees including General Education, Social Sciences Curriculum, Men in Society Planning, Student Services, and Discipline.  He served as the President of the Mercy College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, President of the Lay Faculty Council, and member of the Faculty Senate.

In a letter to the Academic Dean a colleague, Paul Cusick, wrote this about Dr. Walter Thomson: “Most of my impressions of Dr. Thomson have been drawn from his brilliant execution of his teaching responsibilities.  His courses have always been well thought out and equally well organized.  He has consistently shown a strong dedication to his profession and to his students.  As an instructor of his subject matter his courses have been very well received.  He has had consistently high enrollment in his classes – a consistency revealed over twenty years of teaching at the college.  I dare say that with possibly one or two exceptions he has taught more students than any other faculty member at Mercy College of Detroit.  As far as verbal student appreciation of his courses I have heard many favorable comments and none that could be judged as negative.”

“One further point is indeed in order.  Walt has always made himself available to students.  There is hardly a day that goes by that one can pass his office and not observe a student that has come to him for some academic consultation.  He has a sincere interest in students and their future welfare after they have left Mercy College.” 

In Dr. Thomson’s archive file is a student letter sent to Mercy College.  In the letter, the author wrote “As a student, I would objectively rate Walter Thomson as a topnotch instructor; one who can lecture on the technicalities of the course, clearly explaining materials, yet not merely relating facts as an automaton; one who objectively lectures, yet is not afraid to give an educated opinion, making clear that it is a personal, professional opinion; one who challenges the student to think, to be concerned about the world and about man, to ask questions, yet one who willingly and readily accepts the challenges of being questioned himself.  Above all a real teacher must not merely present cold facts concerning a disciplines, he must give of himself and instruct his students in the art of living, which is, after all, the art of learning.  Dr. Thomson certainly fills the bill.”

Another letter signed by multiple students includes ”Doctor Walter Thomson’s Introductory Sociology Class appeals to the student.  Undoubtedly, he knows his subject matter.  He is not limited to notes.  Doctor Thomson encourages his students to question and to think about the topic of Sociology.  He answers any student’s questions willingly and is genuinely interested that his students comprehend the subject matter.  His presentation and personality make the class appealing and interesting experience for the student.”

He was a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, American Association of University Professors, American Council of Learned Societies, American Sociological Association, and Ohio Valley Sociological Association.  He was also a member of the Nominating Committee of the American Sociological Association, and Secretary-Treasurer of Alpha Kappa Delta Michigan Chapter.

The Professor Emeritus honor was bestowed on Dr. Walter Thomson by Sr. Maureen A. Fay, O.P., President, Mercy College of Detroit.


Mercy College of Detroit

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