The creation of a bold new institution and an innovative approach to improving mathematics and science education demands compelling leadership. As Governor, James R. Thompson promised the people of Illinois that their schools would become the best in the world. From his sense of responsibility to improve the quality of education for Illinois' young people, he established task forces, evaluated recommendations, proposed legislation and successfully urged passage of the Education Reform Act of 1985 which created the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. The following year, the Academy opened in fulfillment of this commitment to meet the need for citizens trained in science, mathematics and technology.

Governor Thompson has described Illinois as blessed with creative and gifted students whose talents are the bright hope of the future, and he has worked to unite the State in providing an institution where exceptional students can develop their potential. As these young people graduate from the Academy, as teachers gather for workshops and training, and as innovative programs are developed and shared with schools throughout the State, the investment of his efforts will pay dividends through the 21st century.

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Browse the Governor James R. Thompson Collections:

Image Gallery
The James R. Thompson Image Gallery contains historical photographs of events.

James R. Thompson Leadership Lectures
The James R. Thompson Leadership Lecture Series was established in 1990 following a gift to the IMSA Fund for Advancement of Education. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, chose to honor Mr.Thompson for his service as governor of Illinois (1977-1991) and his leadership in establishing the Academy. As governor, Mr. Thompson established task forces, evaluated recommendations, proposed legislation and successfully urged passage of the Education Reform Act of 1985 which included creation of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.

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