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Lawrence H. Thompson

30th Anniversary Honoree, Founding Board Member, Public Servant

Lawrence H. (Larry) Thompson – former Fellow of the Urban Institute and Founding Academy Member – will be an honoree at the Academy’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on June 7, 2017.  Now retired, Larry Thompson devoted most of his career to working in the federal government in the area of social insurance.  He was recently featured in series of podcast interviews with Founding Members of the Academy hosted by CEO William Arnone.

“Larry’s first role as an Academy Board Member was to start a clearinghouse to respond to misstatements and fallacies about Social Security in the press, something the Academy still does to this day,” said William Arnone. “He advocated a balanced approach to Academy financing with little if any reliance on government funding. He also chaired one of the Academy’s first conferences.”

Thompson started his career in the federal government in 1970 at the Office of Economic Opportunity as a policy analyst.  In 1973 he was an economist with the U.S. National Institute of Education.  He worked in the Office of Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the Health, Education, and Welfare office from 1974 to 1976.  Thompson soon became the Director of Social Security Planning at HEW and then the Executive Director and part of the U.S. Advisory Council on Social Security in 1978.  From 1979 to 1981, he was Associate Commissioner for Policy and the Director of the Office of Research and Statistics at the Social Security Administration.  In this role, Thompson was responsible for their review of government health, education, labor and income security programs.  In 1983, he left SSA to become Chief Economist and Assistant Comptroller General for Human Resources Programs for the General Accounting Office.  Thompson returned to the Social Security Administration in 1993 where he served as an Acting Commissioner of Social Security and eventually Principal Deputy Commissioner.  After leaving the U.S. government, he became a Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute and served as a pension consultant for several international organizations, where he worked in (among others) Russia, China, Viet Nam, Azerbaijan, Mongolia and the Philippines.  In addition to being a founding member of the Academy, he has served as both its President and the Chairman of its Board of Directors.  Thompson earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Wharton School and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

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