Dr. Jack Thomas

Dr. Jack Thomas is a shining exemplar of the power of dedication and professionalism in academia. His remarkable journey is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence. Armed with a Ph.D. in English (Literature and Criticism) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of English Education from Virginia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alabama A&M University, he has solidified his position as a consummate professional in higher education.

His illustrious career has seen him ascend from an English Professor to the esteemed position of College President. His leadership is marked by an unmatched dedication that has earned him the respect of peers and colleagues. His influence within the academic community extends far and wide, as evidenced by his service on numerous distinguished boards, including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Stillman College Board of Trustees, the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Board, the American Council on Education Council of Fellows, the NCAA Presidential Forum, the Illinois Campus Compact Board, the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross Board, the Rutherford County YMCA Board, and the Ohio Federation for Health Equity and Social Justice, among many others.

On a national stage, Dr. Thomas's credentials shine even brighter. He is a proud graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program, a distinguished American Council on Education Fellow, and a recipient of the prestigious Kellogg-NAFEO Fellowship. He has also enriched his knowledge through participation in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and has contributed significantly to developing leadership in Middle Tennessee. He has chaired the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Selection Committee, assumed the role of Chairperson of the (AASCU) Christa McAuliffe Award Selection Committee, and lent his expertise as a committee member of the Middle States Visitation Team.

Dr. Jack Thomas's most enduring legacy resides as President of Western Illinois University (WIU), where he served with distinction for nearly a decade. During his tenure, he skillfully navigated the institution through a challenging financial landscape, managing a budget of almost $224 million amid unprecedented state fiscal challenges. His leadership at WIU was marked by a string of remarkable achievements, including the promotion of diversity, the inception of innovative academic programs, adept fiscal management in the face of economic turmoil, strategic investments in STEM and other academic disciplines, increased funding for student scholarships, and the establishment of a presidential institute dedicated to enhancing corporate, community, and K-12 relations. Under his visionary guidance, the institution achieved the ambitious goal of constructing a new campus in Moline, Illinois, while surpassing its multimillion-dollar capital campaign target. WIU's recognition as a "Best in the Midwest College" by the Princeton Review and its status as a top-tier Midwest Universities Master's institution, according to U.S. News and World Report, are enduring testaments to his transformative impact on higher education.

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