Walter R. Thompson is Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research and a tenured Regents’ Professor of Kinesiology and Health (College of Education & Human Development) and in the School of Public Health, and in the Department of Nutrition (Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions) at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified Program Director®, ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist®, formerly licensed Clinical Exercise Physiologist (State of Louisiana) and formerly licensed Clinical Laboratory Director (State of Georgia). Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia State University in 1994, Thompson was a tenured Professor of Exercise Science and Director of the Laboratory for Applied Physiology at the University of Southern Mississippi and Program Director for the Center for Cardiac Rehabilitation and Health Enhancement at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. He has also held adjunct academic appointments at Northeastern Illinois University and at George Williams College. Thompson has been the Chairman of the ACSM Committee on Certification and Education, Chairman of the ACSM International Relations Committee, Chairman of the ACSM American Fitness Index, Chairman of the ACSM Publications Committee, and the Founding Chairman of the Committee on Accreditation for the Exercise Sciences for the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). In June, 2016, he became President-Elect of ACSM. Dr. Thompson served as ACSM President for 2017-2018 and now serves as the Immediate Past-President.
Thompson has served on the ACSM Board of Trustees and was twice elected to its Administrative Council. He has served as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Fitness Facilities Standards for NSF International where he also serves as a member of the NSF Council of Public Health Consultants. He has given lectures on health-related topics in 26 different countries (some multiple times) on the continents of Europe, Africa, North America, South America (including Central America), and Asia. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Thompson also serves on the Sports Science Committee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) where he is charged with the coordination of international research projects at all IPC sanctioned events. Thompson has published over 100 research-based, peer-reviewed articles on many different topics and has received over $25 million in funding for his various initiatives. He has authored or has edited 13 books. He served as Senior Editor for ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (8th edition). His current interests include wellness coaching as a primary mechanism for behavior change and the integration of sport and physical activity for people with disabilities. Because of his personal interest in at-risk kids living in the inner city, he serves as the Executive Director of the After-School All-Stars Atlanta, a comprehensive after school initiative for middle school aged children now in nine sites with an average daily attendance of 3000 and 1000 in summer academies. In 2006 Thompson received the prestigious Georgia State University College of Education & Human Development Faculty Service Award. That same year his program was selected by the Georgia State University President to receive the “Most Outstanding University Program” award. In 2008, the After-School All-Stars was selected to receive the “Regional Excellence Award” by the Atlanta Civic League, chaired by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and is the recipient of the 2008 Atlanta Partners for Education A+ Summa Cum Laude Award. In 2009, his program received the prestigious Hosea William Award for Community Activism. In 2012, Thompson received the Georgia State University Exceptional Service Award.