Historically Black Central State University in Ohio Selects its Ninth President

Jack Thomas was appointed the ninth president of Central State University, the historically Black educational institution in Wilberforce, Ohio. Dr. Thomas will succeed Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, who will step down in July.

Central State University enrolls just under 2,100 students, according to the latest data supplied to the U.S. Department of Education. African Americans make up 88 percent of the student body.

At a news conference announcing his appointment as president of Central State University, Dr. Thomas stated that “as a university, we must be winners in all that we do. We must win in the region. We must win in the state. We must win nationally and internationally. We must think big, dream big and achieve our goals as a university.”

Dr. Jack Thomas was named the eleventh president of Western Illinois University in 2011. He resigned in 2019 after the Alumni Association and the Western Illinois University Foundation called for the board of trustees to remove the president. Enrollments at the main campus of the university had dropped from nearly 10,000 students in 2009 to about 5,600 in the spring of 2019.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Thomas served as provost and academic vice president at Western Illinois University. Prior to his tenure at Western Illinois, Dr. Thomas served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University.

Dr. Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Alabama A & M University, a master’s degree in English education from Virginia State University, and a Ph.D. in English literature and criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


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