Attorney Thompson advises students to identify a mentor


Assistant Dean of Students Chasity Q. Thompson, J.D., is responsible for almost every aspect of student life at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of law including student-run organizations, the records and registration office, mental and physical wellness initiatives, student credit hours, graduation requirements, crisis management and much more.

Camille Zanders, Alumni Connection Editor

When imagining professions that are designed to give back and serve the community, few careers come to mind. Nonprofit workers, ministers, and medical workers are some examples, but several fail to realize that some of the most active community servants actually work on their school’s campus.
Everyday instructors, advisers, administrators, and counselors of a university toil to ensure that each student is getting the most out of their collegiate experience and is adequately prepared for life post-graduation.
Alabama State University alumna Chasity Thompson appreciates the support received as a student from the Hornet staff and works tirelessly as the assistant dean of students at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law to do the same for the next generation.

Before becoming the Assistant Dean of Students, Chasity Q. Thompson, J.D., graduated from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. After clerking for the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, she returned to the law school as a part of the administrative staff and a member of the adjunct faculty.

“I am interested in their personal and professional development,” said Thompson. “I am interested in making sure they have a seat at the table and know what to do once they get in that seat.”
Being a native of Montgomery, Alabama, Thompson grew up in a family full of Hornets.
“I am a third-generation Hornet. My parents are Golden Graduates. My brother graduated from ASU. My uncle, aunt, and several cousins are graduates of ASU as well,” she explains. “Embracing ASU is truly a family affair, and we are proud Hornets.” The members of her family are so dedicated to the Hornet life that many of her favorite ASU-centered memories coincide with family time.
“My Thanksgiving has always been nontraditional because it always included the Turkey Day Classic,” Thompson recalled. “We would start off early in the morning with the parade, go to the game to have fun, and then we would have dinner after all of the university festivities were over.”
As a teenager, she attended Robert E. Lee High School, where she busied herself with several extracurriculars. While she enjoyed writing and other creative outlets as hobbies, she actively participated in many student organizations. She is most proud of her work with the yearbook staff and her term with the Student Government Association as senior class president.
Thompson’s exemplary academic and leadership skills granted her a full academic scholarship to become an official member of the ASU family.
“I was fortunate to be admitted as a scholarship recipient, where I decided to pursue degrees in English and business administration,” she said.
She graduated from high school in 1993 and began her journey as a Hornet.
As a freshman, Thompson chose to double major in English and business administration. With hopes of becoming a lawyer with a focus on business disputes, she welcomed the workload of both paths.
“I did the English [major] for critical thinking and to get a solid background in writing, and then business administration to get exposed to business concepts.”
While Thompson’s studies catered to her studious side, her active participation in many organizations put her leadership skills to use.
“I loved my time at Alabama State,” she said. “I was involved in so many activities from social to political.”
As a student, she served as a class representative for the Student Government Association, a Golden Ambassador, Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Psi Proessional Business Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she served as the Beta Pi chapter president. She also served on the media advertising staff for The Hornet Tribune. With these positions, Thompson not only received real-world exposure, but the opportunities enabled her to meet a number of influential members of the Black community; her favorite being Cicely Tyson.
She holds her time with The Hornet Tribune dear to her heart, expressing that the culture created by Kenneth Dean, director of Student Media, led to a family-like environment.
“I formed some great friendships and relationships from that,” she said. “The media room was kind of like my home base while on campus.” Additionally to creating friendships, her work with student media allowed her to hone in on her skills as a writer.
To manage the weight of her extracurriculars and studies, Thompson constantly reminded herself of why she became a Hornet in the first place.
“I believed in a balance between social and civic engagement,’’ she explains. “I wanted to get the full college experience which included, first and foremost, my academics because it was important to me to maintain and keep that scholarship.

Chasity Thompson comes from a Hornet family. Pictured are (L-R) her brother Felton Thompson II, her mother Vera Thompson, Chasity Q. Thompson and her father Felton Thompson.

Then I also wanted to receive that social experience of HBCU college life.”
Though it was sometimes tough, she is appreciative of every lesson learned and opportunity offered as a student.
Thompson graduated from ASU in 1997 with two degrees – a bachelor’s degree in English and an associate’s degree in business administration.
Still racing toward her goal of becoming a corporate-focused attorney, she immediately began her graduate journey at two predominantly white institutions. At Auburn University, she pursued a master’s degree in business administration, which she swiftly earned in 1999. Soon after, she enrolled at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she received her juris doctorate in 2002.
While her juris doctorate degree provided her with the curriculum and experiences to become a lawyer, she believes that her time at ASU set the standard for her growth.
“Perseverance prepared me to be successful in future programs and career pursuits but the foundation that I received at ASU prepared me to excel in my next endeavors.”
Shortly after completing her studies, Thompson fulfilled her dream of becoming an attorney. She was appointed to positions with large firms around the country, in government offices, and even for the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.
After years of this work, Thompson decided to turn her attention to the next generation of lawyers.
“I have always been interested in the intersection of law and education,” she said. “There was an opportunity to return to the law school as an administrator. Then, I created an opportunity to become adjunct faculty member.”
Now employed by her law school, Thompson is of service to the students at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law as the assistant dean of students.
“I am responsible for everything from orientation to graduation, so the full college experience,” she explains regarding her current position. Covering almost every aspect of student life, she manages student-run organizations, the records and registration office, mental and physical wellness initiatives, student credit hours, graduation requirements, crisis management, and much more.
Though it requires her to stay on top of many of the universities’ doings, her drive for preparing the students keeps her going.
“I am a third-generation Hornet, but a first-generation lawyer,” Thompson elaborates. “So, I am passionate about making sure that my students have an understanding of what you need to do in order to be a successful candidate for admissions and then for sustainability once they become a law student.”
Though her work is rewarding, it also proves to be challenging as Thompson not only juggles the many aspects of the university but also organizes professional preparation and opportunities for each student. “Because I am responsible for so many components of the student experience, no day is the same,” she expresses. “You may have your planned agenda but something rises to the level of crisis management that you might have to address immediately.”
Fortunately, she spent her years as a Hornet perfecting her work ethic and leadership skills, which allow her to tackle those daily challenges with ease. Thompson explains, “I am a firm believer of being solution-focused. I try to look at the totality of the circumstances, weigh possible outcomes, and then make decisions that are thoughtful and fair.”
With her favorite event of the year being graduation, she stresses that watching her students cross the stage with their juris doctorate outweighs any difficulty that she has in her position. “They are excited at orientation, excited and nervous at the same time, because of the challenges yet to come, or the unknown,” Thompson says. “But then to see them matriculate and see them be successful as students, then to graduate, and move on to the next stage of their career. It brings me joy.” As the assistant dean of students, she is required to read each graduate’s name, and with every name she announces, she feels the weight of the individual’s struggles, perseverance and success.
Though her original goal was to practice corporate-focused law, Thompson has found her ultimate passion in preparing students for their life beyond school. “For many of them, this is a new venture. So making sure they know about the resources available, making sure there is a support system in place, making sure that they know that it is okay to not have all the answers and that they know where to go to ask for help,” she expresses. “It is not just the academics. The academics are important, but we focus on the whole student.”
This mission extends far beyond the students at Indiana University, as Thompson has created and supported several pipeline programs to expose all students of her community to the legal profession. “From all elementary all the way up. At different levels we expose them to start thinking about law school and thinking about their next steps,” she explains. Additionally, she is a founding board member of Ace Preparatory Academy, a school that begins preparing its students for college at their most receptive age. She shares, “Our little motto is, ‘College begins in kindergarten.’” Filled with minority students of underrepresented backgrounds, Ace Preparatory Academy works to show them all that they are capable of. “It is a long way off, but we still want to plant those seeds.”
While proud of her impact on hundreds of students’ lives, Thompson believes it is her resilience that allows her to be such a productive and positive influence. She takes the lessons learned from her mistakes and preaches them to the next generation of students.
“Just because you have a possible setback, that does not mean you cannot be successful,” Thompson said. “Believing in yourself, the power that you possess, and the power of love coupled with the support of the community can help you be a great force.”
Today Thompson resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband Marcus. Along with her exceptional work in the education field, she is also an active participant in the American Bar Association, Indiana State Bar Association, Indianapolis Bar Association, and Marion County Bar County Association. She also continues to serve the community as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Links, Inc.
Thankful for the opportunities of advancement provided to her as a Hornet, Thompson encourages many of her grade school mentees to attend HBCUs for their collegiate experience.
“I am very passionate that we promote and expose students to HBCUs as their college choice,” she said.
She declares that the supportive environment on campus and in her collegiate organizations gifted her the confidence and exposure needed to tackle life.
“You can chart your path based off of the various social and civic activities that are available on campus,” she said.
Following her passion for preparing students, she advises all Hornets that aspire to join the legal field to find a reliable mentor.
“Start talking with people who have worked in that space, or are still working so that you can put together a tool kit. It is those mentors that have first-hand experience of the struggle and can provide knowledge, support, and assistance as needed,” she advises.
She acknowledges her challenges encountered as a law student, and she wishes that she had a person to turn to during those times.
“I figured it out and did it,” she said, “but knowing what I know now, I would have sought out those resources well in advance and probably would have had a smoother experience.”
To all ASU students, Thompson advises one to get involved in the many organizations on campus, as active membership will push them out of their comfort zone just as it did for her.
“You will be doing great work on behalf of the school, but you are also building and developing your own skills as well,” she said. “By participating in meaningful organizations, one cannot only build personal skills, but also meet influential officials in the ASU and Montgomery communities that could eventually introduce them to bigger opportunities.
She continues.
“Look for opportunities to be pushed outside of your comfort zone … It is a way to meet other people on campus and grow,” she urges.
Her words and wisdom can be deemed to hold magnificent weight as she physically works every day for the success of her students at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and emotionally for her fellow Hornets on the ASU campus.