UNCW Mourns the Loss of Lela Thompson ’67 

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

UNCW is deeply saddened to share that Lela Thompson ’67 passed away on Dec. 30, 2022. Mrs. Thompson was the first African American woman to graduate from Wilmington College, now UNCW, following integration. Mrs.Thompson, a wife and mother of four at the time she enrolled in the university, earned a bachelor’s degree in education. She taught in New Hanover County schools for 30 years.   

Mrs. Thompson was also a significant contributor to the local theater. She was involved in the Willis Richardson Players, acting in the troupe and later serving as president for nearly two decades. Mrs. Thompson was the first recipient of the Enduring Contribution to Wilmington Theater Award by StarNews Media in 2012. The award was later named in her honor.  

Please join the university in keeping Mrs. Thompson’s family and friends in your thoughts. View the obituary for information about the public viewing and her celebration of life service. Learn more about Mrs. Thompson in this Fall/Winter 2018 UNCW Magazine feature.