LaMarr Thomas ’66 was a proud member of what are generally agreed to be two of the greatest sports teams in Thornton’s long and celebrated history of great teams. Before high school football playoffs were established in Illinois, LaMarr’s 1965 football team was voted by the Illinois sports writers as the mythical state champions. In that same school year the 1966 basketball team won the state championship.
LaMarr was selected for All-State honors in both basketball and football, and he emphasizes the point that his successes were directly connected to his playing with a host of great teammates and being guided by the Thornton Hall of Fame coaches Frank Baumann, Bill Purden, and Bob Anderson.
► LaMarr Thomas is a 2015 Thornton Hall of Fame inductee, to be honored at Alumni Day, Friday, May 8. Learn more, make a donation, buy a ticket to the event.
After high school LaMarr went to Michigan State on a football scholarship. Although he was a starter in his sophomore year, his athletic career came to an end after a knee injury in his second year with the Spartans. LaMarr went on to get a B.A. in social science and an M.A. in American and African-American History.
For nearly 20 years LaMarr worked as an investigator of employment discrimination for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After leaving EEOC, he’s worked as an independent contractor/writer/researcher focused on issues of educational achievement for low-income students and students of color. This work is a reflection of LaMarr’s strong commitment to social and community betterment and to expanded opportunities for all.
“Attending Thornton,” LaMarr says, “was and continues to be a defining experience in my life.”
It is precisely because of the profound and enduring impact of his Thornton years, LaMarr says that he joined in becoming one of the founder members of the Thornton Alumni Legacy Fund. “So well aware of the rich benefits I received from my Thornton education, I wanted to help current students in some measure have the rewarding ‘Thornton Experience’ that so many in my generation had.”
LaMarr says as well that he will ever be eternally grateful for his Thornton years, because it was “here at Thornton that I met my fellow classmate and the love of my life, my wife of 40 years, Chris LaVette!”