University Advancement 

​Helping Students Fulfill Their Dreams

​Lawrence E. Thomas

Lawrence Thomas
Lawrence E. Thomas, BU77

​“None of us knows what our destiny will be,” says Lawrence E. Thomas, BU77. “What we do know and have are our dreams.”

Mr. Thomas knows how to dream big. From playing a variety of musical instruments beginning at age six in his Vicksburg, Mississippi, home to attending Washington University to landing — and rising to partner — at Edward Jones, he has fulfilled many dreams. “I’m achievement oriented,” he says.

That claim extends to his community service and philanthropy. Topping his priorities is supporting students hoping to attend the Olin Business School. A scholarship recipient himself, Mr. Thomas began supporting scholarships in 1986. He has established the Lawrence E. Thomas Scholarship, the Wesley Thomas Scholarship, and the Lawrence E. Thomas/Edward Jones and Company Scholarship. He now has committed $1 million to establish and endow another scholarship.

“Washington University has gone from extremely good to great,” he says. “Key to that effort is our super-intelligent students, who are passionate about learning and getting the best education possible. Helping them is important to me.”

A co-founder of “The Tie That Binds,” a Washington University scholarship initiative challenging African-American alumni to support bright and deserving students, Mr. Thomas has promoted diversity in many organizations. At Edward Jones, he created a program to help recruit and retain minorities.

Mr. Thomas serves on numerous boards, including the United Way of Greater St. Louis; the Saint Louis Zoo; Forest Park Forever (St. Louis); and Provident, Inc. A former university trustee, he has been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the university and the Olin Business School.

As a senior at Washington University, Mr. Thomas interned at Edward Jones. After graduating, he joined the firm’s Corporate Bond Trading department and became a principal five years later. He has championed the recruitment of Olin students at Edward Jones ever since.

“The things we become involved in make up our legacy,” Mr. Thomas says, “and that legacy should help make the world a better place.”

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