Dr. Jack Thomas was named the 11th President of Western Illinois University (WIU) in 2011. WIU serves students through its residential four-year campus in Macomb, Illinois, and its metropolitan campus in the Quad Cities/Moline, Illinois. Previously, Dr. Thomas served as WIU’s Provost and Academic Vice President. 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 presenting his research and inspirational messages locally, nationally, and internationally. He has numerous publications and professional presentations. His most recent publication is a book titled, “Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency.”
Dr. Thomas currently serves as a member of the following Board of Directors: the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program Selection Committee; the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Board; the Marguerite Casey Foundation; the Illinois Board of Higher Education; the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education; and the Macomb Area Economic Development Corporation. Past board service includes the Illinois Campus Compact Board; the Stillman College Board of Trustees; the American Council on Education Council of Fellows; the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross; and the Rutherford County YMCA Board.
Dr. Thomas serves as a member of the NCAA Presidential Forum. He served as the Chairperson of the Christa McAuliffe Award Presidential Selection, as a 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, is a graduate of the Harvard Leadership Program and the Leadership Middle Tennessee Program, a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow, and participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria.