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Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson

Maj. Gen. Thompson to speak at OSU fall commencement

Monday, November 13, 2023

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations | 405-744-5540 |

Few exemplify the Cowboy Code’s life of service like Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson. 

Thompson, an Oklahoma State University alumnus, is the speaker at his alma mater’s fall 2023 commencement. 

“As a proud graduate of Oklahoma State University, I am deeply honored to serve as the fall 2023 commencement speaker. I sincerely appreciate Dr. [Kayse] Shrum for the opportunity,” Thompson said.  

In 1983, Thompson joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard and was later commissioned to second lieutenant in 1986 through the Oklahoma Military Department Office Candidate School.  

Over the course of his career, he has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade levels. Thompson was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2008.   

In 2017, then Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed him as the adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard. Thompson served as the top military advisor to the governor and commanded the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard from November 2017 to November 2021.   

Before being appointed as adjutant general, Thompson also had a distinguished 28-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. Thompson joined DPS as an Oklahoma state trooper in 1990. He concluded his DPS career by serving as commissioner of DPS and cabinet secretary for safety and security from 2011 to 2017. Thompson was inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame in 2019 and received the Governor George Nigh Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. That same year, Thompson served as the deputy director for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.   

In 2023, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Hall of Fame.     

Thompson is a graduate of Oklahoma’s only historically black college, Langston University. He also holds master’s degrees from OSU and the United States Army War College. Thompson is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the United States Secret Service Executive Seminar and the United States War College.   

OSU President Shrum said it is a privilege to have Thompson for the ceremonies.  

“We are honored to have Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson speak at our fall commencement ceremonies,” she said. “His service and recognitions represent a life lived by the Cowboy Code. He’s done what’s right even when it’s hard, and he finishes what he starts. Maj. Gen. Thompson has been a leader in Oklahoma and the nation, and it’s wonderful he can share his wisdom with our graduates.” 

Undergraduate ceremonies, which Thompson will be speaking at, will be Dec. 16, starting with the 10:30 a.m. slot, which includes the Ferguson College of Agriculture, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

The ceremonies will wrap up following the Spears School of Business, the College of Education and Human Sciences ceremonies along with the College of Professional Studies, which begin at 1:30 p.m. 

Graduates should arrive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony start time and enter through Boone Pickens Stadium’s Gate 1 South. Doors on the east side of Gallagher-Iba Arena will open for guests one hour prior to the ceremony start time.  

Commencement can also be livestreamed on your TV through Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV via the Inside OSU app, and at 

For more information on OSU’s 147th graduation ceremonies, visit 

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