Walter Palmer Thompson's association with the University of Saskatchewan began in 1912 when he organized the University’s first Biology course. He would remain an important figure at University of Saskatchewan for the next fifty years. Graduating from the University of Toronto with a BA (1910), and from Harvard with a AM (1912) and PhD (1914), he was appointed Professor of Biology in 1913; Junior Dean 1933; Dean of Arts and Science 1938; President of University of Saskatchewan 1949; and President Emeritus 1959. In 1967 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, one of the first to receive this award for "merit of the highest degree". The W.P. Thompson Biology Building, which opened in 1960, was named in his honour. He died in Toronto in 1970.