President - Who We Are - Christopher Newport University

Who We Are


Interim President
Adelia Thompson

Interim President Adelia Thompson

Mrs. Adelia Thompson is the Interim President of Christopher Newport University serving while the Board of Visitors thoughtfully undertakes a national search for a new leader following the retirement of Christopher Newport’s transformational President, now Chancellor, Paul S. Trible, Jr.

Thompson is an accomplished higher education executive with over 30 years of advancement, marketing and public relations experience bringing people together and helping them accomplish their dreams. She is a lifelong and passionate advocate for the liberal arts and Christopher Newport’s mission to prepare students to live lives of significance.

Thompson joined the Christopher Newport family in 2011 as the Vice President of Advancement to lead the institution’s very first comprehensive campaign, “Defining Significance.” Christopher Newport exceeded the campaign’s goal by over $20 million raising $66 million – a record for the young university. In 2020, Trible asked Thompson to serve as the University’s Chief of Staff and later as the Acting President during his 6-month sabbatical. Her outstanding performance in those new roles persuaded the Board that she was the right leader to guide the ship during this unique year.

Thompson grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Birmingham-Southern College in 1986 where she majored in English, and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa.

After college, Thompson held numerous positions across arts and humanities organizations, including the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and the Alabama Humanities Foundation. In 1992 after a relocation to Atlanta, she joined Agnes Scott College where she served as their corporate/foundation officer, major gifts director and assistant vice president. In 2001, Thompson joined the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Foundation as Vice President for Development. There she led a team responsible for brokering public-private partnerships to raise private dollars to help the CDC “do more, faster.”

And in 2005 before joining CNU, she became the Vice President for Institutional Advancement for her alma mater, Birmingham-Southern College, and led their first comprehensive campaign following the retirement of the college’s longtime, transformational President.

Throughout much of her life she enjoyed a secondary professional career in music and musical theater. For more than a decade she performed leading roles with the Atlanta Lyric Theater where she met her husband J. Lynn Thompson, the Lyric’s Artistic Director. She has been married to J. Lynn for 25 years and they live together in Newport News with their canine pals Maggie and Bumper.

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