WILBERFORCE — Jack Thomas, Ph.D. was announced as the new Central State University president this morning.
Thomas becomes the ninth president in school history, replacing Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, who in September announced her intention to retire at the end of the school year
Thomas previously spent eight years at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., resigning in June 2019. Before that, he was provost and academic vice president at WIU, beginning in 2008.
“Central State University is the recipient of one of the most respected and intelligent higher education leaders in the nation,” said Yvonne Savala, former board of trustees member at Western Illinois University and parent of a current WIU student. “Dr. Thomas’ commitment and compassion to student success is second to none. I am excited for the Central State University community. With Dr. Thomas at the helm, the sky is the limit. From the bottom of my heart, congratulations to all.”
Before arriving at WIU, Thomas was the senior vice provost for academic affairs and professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), and also served as the vice provost for academic affairs and as the interim dean of the College of Continuing Education and Distance Learning at MTSU. Prior to joining the MTSU faculty, Thomas was a professor of English at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and director of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Scholars Program. Thomas also served as interim president at Maryland Eastern Shore, as well as executive vice president, associate vice president for academic/student affairs, executive assistant to the president, chair of the department of English and modern languages, associate professor of English and coordinator of freshman English and assistant professor of English, according to the WIU website.
“Central State University is very fortunate to have attracted one of the most admired thought leaders in American higher education to become its next president,” said Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of University of Maryland Baltimore County. “Over the past three decades, Dr. Thomas has demonstrated both his strong leadership skills and his commitment to supporting students. The board has made a wise decision, and the students will be the beneficiaries.”
Thomas earned his Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1990; his M.Ed. in English education from Virginia State University in 1984; and his B.A. in English from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 1983.
This is a developing story and we are working on gathering more details.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.