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Alumnae Spotlight Suzanne Thomas '73, 2021 Distinguished Alumna

As her mother once stated, “Suzanne Cromiller Thomas lives her life as a true Ursuline graduate.”  Suzanne is the daughter of an alumna, Patricia Sutton Cromiller.  Her four sisters and two aunts also graduated from Ursuline. Suzanne attended Ursuline from kindergarten through her senior year.  She graduated in 1973 and went on to Dominican College where she graduated in 1977.  After receiving an MBA from the College of William and Mary in 1980, she embarked upon an almost 40-year career in the commercial banking industry.  

She met her future husband, Robert Thomas, the August before her senior year at Ursuline and he first met her parents on the steps of the auditorium after she received her senior ring that September.  They will have been married 45 years this December and have two children and one grandson. They will welcome a second grandchild in the Spring.  

Suzanne has always tried to find time to be an active volunteer.  She watched her own mother volunteer when she was growing up, so the example was set early in her life.  Serviam has been a guiding principle for her.  Her sister, Renee Cromiller Porter, class of 1980, states,  “She is someone that the current students of Ursuline Academy should strive to emulate.” One of her earliest forms of service was after Hurricane Betsy when her mom and a number of other Ursuline ladies decided to raise money to replace the roof on the original convent in the French Quarter.  Suzanne and her sister Cindy spent many summer days selling tickets for tours in the convent gatehouse on Chartres Street.  More recently, she has been a member of the Academy Board of Trustees.  During that time, she re-wrote the school’s financial and investment policies, and served on both the Finance and Executive Committees.  She has been Chairman of the Ursuline Academy Foundation since 2018. Her sister, Cynthia Cromiller Connolly, class of 1974, states, “She is always thinking of others and ways that she can help. She is there for you if you need her. I am blessed that I can call her sister.” 

Suzanne is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way and is a past board member of the Greater New Orleans United Way.  Post-Katrina, she was a board member of Parkway Partners, an organization that planted over 10,000 trees in neighborhoods across the city after the storm destroyed a large portion of the tree canopy.  Suzanne is also a past board member and board chair of the Academy of the Sacred Heart. She has been recognized for her service and professional accomplishments over the years.  She is a three-time recipient of the City Business Women of the Year award, was named a 2017 New Orleans City Business “Money Maker” and was selected in 2018 as a Young Leadership Council Role Model.  The Academy of the Sacred Heart awarded her with the St. Philippine Duschesne award in recognition of her service to the school.

Suzanne retired from Hancock Whitney Bank in 2020 as an Executive Vice President.  Since then, she has focused on helping her daughter care for her newborn, as well as various volunteer activities.  She is currently the President of the Poydras Home Board of Trustees and is a member of the New Orleans Museum of Art Board of Trustees.  She is active in her Parish, St. Francis Xavier and has served as a Eucharistic minister for many years.

Suzanne is a founding member of the Ursuline Academy Laurel Legacy Guild. When expressing her desire to leave a planned gift, she stated, “One of my earliest Ursuline memories is my kindergarten interview with one of the nuns. We took a walk in the courtyard on a beautiful day and chatted. My mom was told that I had no separation anxiety. Even at 5 years old, Ursuline felt like a nurturing and supportive place.” “When I reflect on what helped me achieve success, after acknowledging the gifts that God has given me, as well as the support of my parents and husband, I can’t help but think about Ursuline Academy and my years on State Street. It is only natural that I would now consider a legacy gift to the school so that its tradition of educating strong and independent women will continue long after I am gone.” Most recently, she and her sister Renee also established an academic scholarship in memory of their mother, Patricia Sutton Cromiller, class of 1943.

Ursuline Academy of New Orleans is proud to call Suzanne Cromiller Thomas a Distinguished Alumna.