RJ Thompson, MFA is an award-winning marketing and graphic design professional. Currently, RJ is the Director of Digital Marketing in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh.
Before joining Pitt, he was a tenured Assistant Professor of Graphic + Interactive Design in the Department of Art at Youngstown State University. Previous to Youngstown State, RJ taught at Carnegie Mellon University, La Roche University, and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Continuing his career in education, RJ has been an Adjunct Professor of Graphic & Interactive Design at Point Park University since 2019 where he was responsible for writing and teaching the interactive design curriculum. In 2020, he began teaching at the Community College of Allegheny County.
Outside of marketing, design, and teaching, RJ is also the Co-Principal and Creative Strategist for +Public, a Pennsylvania-based social enterprise that focuses on cultivating community and economic development impact through the creation of branded communication platforms, creative place-making, and storytelling initiatives for communities-in-revival.
Throughout his career, RJ has received many accolades for his creative works: In 2015, he was one of several recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant, valued at $100,000, for the INPLACE (“Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts & Community Engagement”) project. In 2017, RJ received a “Best of Marketing Award” from the Ohio Economic Development Association for his efforts in rebranding the City of Youngstown, Ohio. In 2018, RJ was accepted into the prestigious Cohort 2 of the National Arts Marketing Project, a program supported by Americans for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. In 2019, RJ also received a scholarship to join the National Arts Strategies Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy through the School of Public Policy at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, RJ was honored with the Ohio Governor’s Award in the Arts in Community Development, the state of Ohio’s highest recognition in the arts sector.
Recently, RJ was the recipient of a certification scholarship from the National Institute for Social Media and received accolades from GDUSA and the University & College Designers Association for “Pitt Business Backstory” and “Business.Pitt.Edu” websites. RJ is presently a board member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Marketing Association.