Sharyn A. Thompson, FIDSA
Inducted into the Academy of Fellows: 1995
Graduating in the 1960s with a BS in industrial design from the University of Bridgeport, Thompson's career began as a staff designer with EDL, a division of McGraw Hill, designing audio visual teaching aids and environments. She went on to join Van Dyke Corporation, a Connecticut-based consulting firm. She designed products for a wide variety of companies including Homelite, Buxton, and Clairol.
Thompson left Van Dyke to raise a family and actively consult for a growing list of companies that included Corning Glass Works, Kenyon Marine and Vermont Castings. This experience led her to join Bevilacqua, McCroskery Associates, where she worked on projects for Otis Elevator, Perkin-Elmer, and Hess Oil. Further consulting opportunities had Thompson designing surgical instruments, award-winning office products for Hunt Boston, and trans-generational research and designs for GE.
A teaching position opened at the University of Bridgeport and Thompson accepted. She believed that her most important role was that of a teacher, and she had a special interest in developing a learning environment that would encourage women to join and enjoy the field that was such a large part of her life. She earned tenure and went on to become Department Chair. During her time with the University she developed rich corporate involvement and support for design programs with companies including GE, Black & Decker, and Reebok.
She encouraged her students by example to experience design to its fullest. This included attending design exhibitions and conferences and participating in IDSA student and professional events. She insisted that her students strive for excellence, intellect, curiosity and tolerance. To that end, she joined Nancy Perkins, FIDSA, in creating the IDSA Women in Design Section in the early 1990s. Her active and untiring participation in IDSA earned her the organization’s highest award, Fellowship, in 1995.