Dr. Jack Thomas is the President of Central State University. Previously Dr. Thomas was a Senior Fellow at American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and served as the 11th President of Western Illinois University (WIU) from 2011 to 2019. Prior to his tenure at WIU, he served as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean at Middle Tennessee State University. He has also served in various capacities at other universities including Interim President, Executive Vice President, Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Executive Assistant to the President, Chair of the Department of English and Modern Languages, Coordinator of Freshman English, and Assistant Track Coach.
Dr. Thomas earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alabama A & M University, a Master of English Education from Virginia State University, and a Ph.D. in English (Literature and Criticism) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a noted scholar and lecturer appearing as a keynote speaker locally, nationally, and internationally. His most recent publication is a book titled Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency. Dr. Thomas currently serves or has served as a member of the following Boards: the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program Selection Committee; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board; the Illinois Board of Higher Education; the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education; and the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation.
Dr. Thomas also served as a member of the NCAA Presidential Forum, Chairperson of the Christa McAuliffe Award Presidential Selection, committee member of the Middle States Visitation Team – Kean University, and as Chairperson of the NCAA Governance, Rules and Compliance (Re-certification of Athletics). He served as an American Council on Education Fellow, a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow, participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and is a graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program and the Leadership Middle Tennessee Program.