Dr. Jack Thomas is currently the ninth president of Central State University. He served a decade as president of Western Illinois University (WIU) and Interim President of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Dr. Thomas brings visibility and insights from his experience in every aspect of academia. Upon arriving at Central State University, Dr. Thomas empaneled a Blue Ribbon Task-Force charged with conducting an exhaustive review of University operations and structure, providing recommendations for improvement rooted in University best practices. He has been a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion, and has been recognized by Minority Access, Inc. and others for his work in helping to provide meaningful and transformative opportunities for minorities through mentorship and access at various universities. At WIU, Dr. Thomas was responsible for several of these accomplishments, including increasing diversity, creating new academic programs, managing fiscal and cash flow issues brought on by the state’s financial crisis, investing in STEM and other academic programs, increasing funding for student scholarships, and establishing a presidential institute to foster and improve corporate, community, and K-12 relations.
A nationally and internationally recognized leader in higher education administration, Dr. Thomas' influence on the academic community extends to his service on several distinguished boards where he currently serves or has served, including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors, the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council, among others.He is the author of numerous publications and professional presentations including his most recent book titled, Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency.