“We are honored to have Dr. Vance Thompson as this year’s commencement speaker,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “Dr. Thompson’s journey from USD to becoming a global leader in ophthalmology models the excellence and service we strive to instill in our students. The contributions he has made to his field, in addition to his commitment to mentorship, will inspire our students as they embark on their own paths toward success.”

Originally from Gregory, South Dakota, Thompson has practiced laser vision correction (LASIK) and cataract surgery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, since 1991. He is an internationally recognized specialist in refractive cornea, phakic IOL and lens surgery.

Vance Thompson Vision has since grown from its single clinic in Sioux Falls to seven locations, spanning the Mid- and Mountain-West, with over 400 employees.

Thompson has been involved in many eye surgery technologies since their inception worldwide. He is a leading international researcher and has been principal investigator in over 100 FDA-monitored clinical trials on advanced eye surgery. He has performed over 110,000 eye surgeries, helping people all around the world.

Thompson has published numerous papers and book chapters and is co-author of the textbook, "Refractive Surgery." He has lectured and taught advanced laser and implant surgery to thousands of surgeons worldwide.

Thompson was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2003. He has also had two presidential appointments to the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., under two administrations.

He was most recently appointed as the president of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).

In service to his alma mater, Thompson is a professor of ophthalmology at the USD Sanford School of Medicine, dedicated to preparing the next generation of doctors.

Thompson earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1982 and a M.D. in 1986 from USD. He completed an ophthalmology residency at the University of Missouri, followed by a cataract and refractive surgery fellowship at Hunkeler Eye Clinic in Kansas City, Missouri.

Thompson and his wife, Jana, who is a 1983 USD dental hygiene graduate, have three children: Blake, Joel and Lauren. Blake Thompson is the co-founder of Fernson Brewing Company, home to Yipeeo! red ale, a tribute to USD. Blake Thompson is married to Kayla, co-founder of Marie and Marie Bridal in Sioux Falls. Joel Thompson works at McKinsey Consulting in New York and is married to Tess, an executive at Meta. Lauren Thompson lives in Los Angeles where she founded a furniture art company. The Thompsons have also been blessed with three amazing grandsons. Some of Thompson’s favorite hobbies include cooking, hunting and fishing — pastimes he enjoys with his family and friends.

To learn more about the Commencement Ceremony, visit usd.edu/Commencement.

Read more about Thompson.

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