Hamline News

Benefit concert celebrates recovery of writing center director



It has been eight months since Writing Center Director Jules Thompson suffered a traumatic brain injury that significantly impacted her life, and this week, Thompson returns to campus for a celebration in her honor. Thompson has been recovering at home since the injury occurred last February, and her condition has improved dramatically in recent months. She intends to return to her position at the writing center full time as soon as possible.

For now, members of the Hamline community will congratulate Thompson on how far she has come and support her continuing recovery by hosting a fundraiser called “Jules Jam” on Thursday, October 7 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. in the Bush Student Center Ballroom, located at 1551 Hewitt Avenue in Saint Paul. Money raised will help relieve Thompson of some of the burden of her medical costs.

Thompson had to undergo physical and mental rehabilitation following her injury. At first reading and using a computer were obstacles, though they are two things her role as writing center director demanded. Even once basic skills and tolerance to the computer screen lights returned, there were other challenges.

“I couldn’t read fiction at first,” Thompson said, “I couldn’t keep the plot straight.”

Thompson then turned to music, and began to critically analyze the lyrics within rock and hip hop songs.

“She’s taken a very positive attitude to the whole experience,” Religion Professor Mark Berkson said. “Many people would wake up and ask ‘why me?’ but Jules opened her eyes, and one of the first things she said was how fortunate she was to be alive."

Berkson has been close friends with Thompson for many years and has served as her liaison to Hamline, bringing messages to campus and keeping the Hamline community updated on her condition through websites like Caring Bridge. He was also instrumental in establishing a network of Thompson’s friends and Hamline colleagues to work in shifts to care for her once she was able to return home.

“I think one of the hardest things for her right now is the mounting medical bills while being out of work,” Berkson said. “So Jules Jam will provide a way for members of the Hamline community to donate to the cause."

There’s a suggested $5 donation at the door and a silent auction of items donated from local businesses and the Hamline community as well as live music by The International Reggae All Stars and Hamline’s own IBABA.

“I’m so fortunate to have Mark and everyone at Hamline,” Thompson said. “All of the positive wishes and encouragement, I’m so fortunate to be part of a community that cared for one of their own."

Check back for highlights of Jules Jam, which will be posted on the Hamline website soon. To read more about Jules, check out her Caring Bridge website.