Dr. Jack Thomas has served as president of Western Illinois University and Central State University and interim president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). Prior to that Dr. Thomas held a broad range of senior leadership and academic positions, at Middle Tennessee State University, UMES, South Carolina State University, and Johnson C. Smith University.
Dr. Thomas also serves on the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education board and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's equity and inclusion advisory council. He has served on the board of Ohio Federation for Health Equity and Social Justice, the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Stillman College board, the American Council on Education’s Council of Fellows, the NCAA Presidential Forum, the Illinois Campus Compact board, and many others.
He holds a PhD 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. Dr. Thomas is a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion and has been recognized by Minority Access Inc. and others for mentoring, creating opportunities, and fostering access to higher education to minorities. 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. His book in progress is titled, Leading Through Crisis.