Noble Richard Thompson III, professor emeritus, former Chair of the Department of Geography at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, died 1 July 2001. As an undergraduate at Auburn University, Noble majored in mathematics and minored in geography and psychology. He earned both his Masters and Doctoral degrees in geography from the University of Tennessee. He had taught at SIUE since 1968. He served as Chair from 1995-2000. His teaching interests included cartography, climatology, meteorology, and the geography of Latin America. During his career he published a book on the economic geography of the mining industry in Honduras. He also was one of the first geographers to develop maps for blind students. Thompson received awards for teaching excellence at SIUE including the Senior Teaching Excellence Award in 1980; the School of Social Sciences Teaching Excellence Award in 1990; the SIUE Teaching Recognition Award in 1991, 1992, and 1994; and the Emerson Electric Excellence in Teaching Award in 1994.
The Noble R. Thompson, III Student Award in Geography was established through donations to a fund established to celebrate his commitment to geography and geographic education. Students selected to receive the award exemplify in some way Noble's ideals, character, and commitment to geography.