In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great. Throughout February, GopherSports.com will share short interviews with African-American alumni from almost every Gopher program. In these interviews, former student-athletes reflect on their time at the U of M, provide advice to current Gophers and share what Black History Month means to them personally.
Name: John (JJ) Thompson
Years: 1967 -- 70
Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
Occupation: Food Broker and Owner, Thompson's Fine Foods, Inc.
What is it you honestly miss most about the University?
It was an interesting time for me maturing at the University in the late 60s, coming from a small town, Hickory, N.C. I miss the comradery atmosphere of my teammates and fraternity brothers at Omega Psi Phi.
If you could give the current student-athletes any piece of advice, what would it be?
Enjoy your college life and savor it, be a true team player, keep your nose to the grind and watch out for red flags of trouble.
Please share your favorite university or athletic event you've attended since you graduated and what made it so special to you?
Homecoming, getting together with some of the fellas, celebrating, visiting the M Club, rekindling!
What are you grateful for?
My wife Connie, to have the parents I had, hardworking, disciplinarians and very loving. The opportunity to attend the University, obtain my degree and be able to mentor other kids throughout my life, hopefully sharing positive directions and experiences.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Seeing the accomplishments we have gained and not losing sight of the struggles many have endured, both at the University and the community at large.
What occupies your time now?
I'm still working, but part time and trying to get accustom to it. Spending time with family, friends and Facebook!
Please visit Black History Month Central on Gophersports.com to see more profiles.
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