RJ Thompson, MFA is an award-winning marketing and graphic design professional. Currently, RJ is the Manger of Digital Strategy in the Health Sciences and School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and an adjunct professor in advertising and marketing at Pitt’s College of Business Administration and Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.
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, the Community College of Allegheny County teaching web design since 2020, and West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing and Communications Graduate Program teaching advertising and digital storytelling since 2023.
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 Governors Award in the Arts in Community Development, the state of Ohio’s highest recognition in the arts sector.
Recently, RJ was named to the executive advisory board of the National Institute for Social Media and has received multiple accolades from GDUSA and the University & College Designers Association for his advertising work in higher education. RJ is presently the Immediate Past-President of the American Marketing Association – Pittsburgh chapter and Program Director of the American Institute of Graphic Artists – Pittsburgh chapter.