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Greeks coordinate rapper Too $hort concert to continue Fred Thompson’s legacy

Posted March 8th, 2012 by Mike

Shortly before the start of winter break, campus was crippled by a tragic death that struck the entire Oregon State University student body.

Fred Thompson, a freshman defensive tackle for OSU’s football team, collapsed at Dixon Recreation Center while playing a pickup game of basketball. Upon being rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital, he was pronounced dead. Theoccurance sparked campus-wide grieving and left many wondering how to continue his legacy.

Members of the Greek community bonded together to organize and plan a concert by rap artist Too $hort.

The fraternity Theta Chi, as well as sororities Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi Omega and Kappa Kappa Gamma are responsible for putting on the show.

With help from Cora Wilcots, Thompson’s mother, concert proceeds will go directly to his family to help to start the Fred Thompson Five-Star Youth Center in his hometown of Richmond, Calif.

Matt Makarowsky, head director of the concert said, “We’d like to give 100 percent of the proceeds from the benefit concert to the youth center. As of right now, 1,700 people say they are attending, which would turn out to be about an $11,000 profit to go straight to starting the foundation.”

In terms of her motivation for beginning the youth center, Wilcots explained that her home was typically the gathering spot for Thompson and his friends. He had a passion for music, dance and sports. Wilcots said her vision for the center is a place where his friends “can get together and do all the things he loved to do.” She added, “I want to be able to give young youth, young men and young women, the opportunity to do activities that they love and to pursue college at the same time.”

Wilcots elaborated on how much of an impact Thompson had on his community. He worked hard to get to OSU when he was in high school, devoting much of his effort to athletics, spending time with his friends or studying.

“Everyone around him — his friends, the kids in the neighborhood, saw how hard he was working to get where he wanted to go. Everyone around him saw that,” she said.

When Thompson passed, Wilcots explained how the support from the OSU community had been overwhelming, with many students, players and coaches reaching out to her to offer their support. “What people don’t realize is that Fred was my only child. He was my best friend. He was never away from me until he went to Oregon State. He was my protector. A big part of me is gone, but I know I have to move on,” she said.

At Thompson’s memorial service, Head Football Coach Mike Riley affirmed the role Thompson played in the community. “We all knew he had physical talents, but he had way, way more to offer than that. He was a caring soul and a truly wonderful man,” Riley said.

The concert itself will take place tonight at the Benton County fairgrounds, where doors will open at 7 p.m. Ticketsareavailable online for $15, $20 in the Memorial Union Quad and $25 at the door.

The show will feature opening acts from Cali Kidd, T-Walk, D. Worthy, Lalaboy, Oxymoron, Blaze and Jove and DJ Cloud N9ne.

Why Too $hort?

Makarowsky was enthusiastic about Too $hort’s entertainment value, calling him experienced and well-known. “He has been in the game longer than I’ve been alive; his 19th album comes out at the end of [February],” he said.

Another reason for the selection was that “Oregon State has such a strong community that comes from the Bay Area. We have a ton of people flying up just for the concert who were friends and family of Fred, and who know who Too $hortis, just to try and help out,” Makarowsky said.

Martin Forde, staff reporter


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