Celebrating Black History
Rose Chepyator-Thomson was not your average college student or running star, but she definitely outshone her competition. Entering the University of Wisconsin in 1979 at the age of 25, this native Kenyan was already married and the mother of two sons.
Thomson learned how to combine the love for her family with her love of running, making a big difference to the Badger cross country and track teams. Thomson was a two-time national champion (1982 outdoor 1500 meters and 1983 indoor distance medley relay) and an 11-time All-American in indoor track, outdoor track and cross country.
She was a six-time Big Ten champion, including three straight titles in cross country. Thomson set Kenyan records in the 1500 meters and 3000 meters while at the UW and also claimed the African record at 3000 meters. She stills ranks among the top-10 UW runners in the mile, 1500 meters and 3000 meters.
Not only was she an athletic superstar but Thomson was also a skilled academician, earning the 1983 Big Ten Medal of Honor. She received master degrees in physical education and educational and policy studies before earning her Ph.D. in physical education, all from Wisconsin. Thomson became a professor, teaching first at SUNY-Brockport and currently at the University of Georgia.
Thomson was honored for her track and cross country success when inducted into the University of Wisconsin's Hall of Fame in 1994.
You can read more about Rose Thomson on the Big Ten Web site's Black History section.
Rose Thomson's Hall of Fame Bio