Chairman of the Central State University Board of Trustees Mark Hatcher (photo left) with President Jack Thomas (photo right)

WILBERFORCE, OH – Central State University’s new President, Dr. Jack Thomas, has donated $50,000 of his salary toward the creation of a new Presidential Scholarship Fund, he announced.

In a video released by the University, Dr. Thomas stated that he was motivated to make the gift to show solidarity with University employees financially affected by COVID-19.

“Though it was difficult for the University to institute furloughs and wage reductions, these were prudent decisions to ensure that Central State remains on sound financial footing,” he said. “I would not ask others to endure sacrifices that I’m not willing to endure myself. So today I am donating $50,000 from my salary to create a Presidential Scholarship Fund for our students.”

Dr. Thomas said his commitment is just the beginning of the Presidential Scholarship Fund and for Central State.

“I will immediately seek a $50,000 matching gift, and continue to leverage that cumulative $100,000 investment to bring other contributors to this fund so that Central State University’s greatest resource — our students — are given every advantage to get the quality Marauder education that only Central State University can provide,” he said.

The launch of the Presidential Scholarship Fund is yet another signature move at the outset of his 15-day presidency.

Nearly a month ago, he penned an Op-Ed supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and called on community leaders to work with him to make sure the nation is safe for everyone. A week before becoming president, he appointed a Blue-Ribbon Task Force of higher education experts to help guide his strategic thinking. And over the past weekend, he championed a social media fundraising effort that garnered $15,000 in funds raised for the University.

Dr. Thomas took office as the University’s ninth president on July 1. He has communicated his nine strategic goals, of which University fundraising is one.


About Central State University

Central State University, located in Wilberforce, Ohio, is a regionally accredited 1890 Land-Grant University with a 133-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research and service. The university, which was named 2017 HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest, fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally. For more information, visit
Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond Named President for the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

WASHINGTON, DC – Central State University outgoing president Cynthia Jackson-Hammond has been named the new President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CHEA Board of Directors announced Thursday. She was elected by a unanimous vote of the CHEA board following an extensive presidential search. She will begin as CHEA’s President on August 1, 2020.

“The CHEA Board of Directors reached out to many leaders in higher education to fill this position,” said Board Chair Orlando L. Taylor. “We knew we needed extraordinary leadership to continue the remarkable record of Dr. Judith Eaton, the founding president of CHEA, and Cynthia Jackson-Hammond stood out among the array of gifted candidates we considered. She brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience relative to accreditation and quality assurance, as well as strong background and history in effectively networking and interacting with higher education leaders, governmental officials and legislators.”

Dr. Jackson-Hammond is retiring as President of Central State University on June 30, 2020. She became the historically black university’s first female President on July 1, 2012. As President, she led efforts to develop Six Compelling Priorities, which have since guided the university. The Compelling Priorities are: provide a quality academic/collegiate experience for all students; Focus on targeting student enrollment; improve retention rates; reduce time to degree completion; development of graduates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for advanced studies and professional careers; and increase efficient and effective institutional operations. The tenets used to rebrand the university are Service … Protocol… Civility, now a registered trademark for Central State University. New, focused mission, vision and strategic plans also were developed for the university.

The University welcomes Dr. Jack Thomas as President-Elect beginning July 1, 2020. Previously, he served as President of Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb, Illinois.

“I am pleased to serve as president of CHEA and look forward to continuing advocacy of accreditation, member institutions and the work of all recognized accrediting organizations,” said Dr. Jackson Hammond.

Dr. Jackson-Hammond’s higher education experience spans more than 30 years and includes faculty status and tenured professorships, in addition to senior administrative leadership positions. She recently served on the boards of the Thurgood Marshall College Foundation, the 1890 Land-Grant Council of Presidents and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Executive Committee.

She received a bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University, master’s degree in education from the University of Louisiana in Monroe and doctorate in education from Grambling State University.

“I am thrilled that Cynthia will be taking the helm at CHEA,” said outgoing CHEA President Judith Eaton. “Cynthia is the best. She is a seasoned executive, with years of experience and a depth of understanding of effective leadership in higher education that will be of enormous value and move CHEA forward. These are challenging times and the board of directors has chosen a president who will not only lead but prevail and who brings to the position a love of higher education and a heartfelt understanding and commitment to the vital role of quality in higher education in our society.”


About Council for Higher Education Accreditation

A national advocate and institutional voice for academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. For more information, visit CHEA’s website at

About Central State University

Central State University, an 1890 Land-Grant institution, prepares students with diverse background and experiences for leadership, research and service. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation leading to professional careers and advanced studies. For more information, visit

Dr. Jack Thomas

WILBERFORCE, OH (February 7, 2020) – Central State University (CSU) has announced today the appointment of President-Elect Dr. Jack Thomas. Dr. Thomas joins CSU as President with a successful long-term track in several different academic settings.

Dr. Thomas brings visibility and insight from experience in every aspect of academia. Roles he has held included President, Interim President, Provost and Academic Vice President, Executive Vice President, Executive Assistant to the President, Dean, Department Chair and English Professor.

Dr. Thomas is currently a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Previously, Dr. Thomas served as President of Western Illinois University (WIU), a state-run university where he served for nearly a decade. As President, he successfully managed a budget of nearly $224 million during a period of unprecedented state fiscal challenges.

At WIU, Dr. Thomas was responsible for a number of 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. Under Dr. Thomas’ leadership, the institution constructed a new campus in Moline, Illinois and achieved its multimillion dollar capital campaign goal. WIU has been rated as a “Best in the Midwest College” by the Princeton Review and as a top tier Midwest Universities Master’s Institution by U.S. News and World Report.

Prior to WIU, Dr. Thomas spent more than 20 years serving in various capacities in several institutions of higher education. From 2004 until 2008, he served as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Interim Dean at Middle Tennessee State University. There, Dr. Thomas improved diversity, assisted with the design of new academic programs, coordinated the implementation of a new key assessment instrument, enhanced academic reviews and mentoring.

From 1990 until 2004, Dr. Thomas served in several roles at the University of Maryland Eastern Shores, including Interim President, Executive Vice President and Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. During his tenure, he enhanced fundraising, implemented new academic programs and drove increased enrollment. Earlier in his career, Dr. Thomas served as an English instructor at South Carolina State University and Johnson C. Smith University.

Dr. Thomas graduated from the Harvard Leadership Program, served as an American Council on Education Fellow, was a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow, participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and participated in Leadership Middle Tennessee. He has also served as the chair of the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Selection Committee. He served as the Chairperson of the (AASCU) Christa McAuliffe Award Presidential Selection, and as a committee member of the Middle States Visitation Team.

Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. 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. He is a noted scholar and lecturer, as well as a highly sought-after keynote speaker presenting his research and inspirational messages locally, nationally, and internationally.

Dr. Thomas is a published researcher, and the focus of his research has been on black males in literature. Additionally, Dr. Thomas is the author of numerous publications and professional presentations including his most recent publication titled, Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency. Dr. Thomas has been a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion. He has been recognized by Minority Access, Inc. and others for his work helping to provide meaningful and transformative opportunities for minorities through mentorship and access at various universities. Dr. Thomas has done further graduate work in theological studies at Liberty University and is an ordained Baptist Minister. Dr. Thomas’ current body of work includes research on public institutions that have had to make transformative programmatic and human capital decisions due to decreased federal and state financial support and declining enrollment. The working title of Dr. Thomas’ latest book is “From the Segregated South to the Presidency.”


About Central State University

Central State University, an 1890 Land-Grant Institution, prepares students with diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research and service. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a strong liberal arts foundation leading to professional careers and advanced studies. For more information, visit

The middle of Central State University campus in Wilberforce, Ohio. (Photo creds: Demetrius Johnson Jr.)

WILBERFORCE, OH – Central State University, a historically black university located in Wilberforce, Ohio, will welcome nearly 840 new students this fall semester, the largest since 2011.

According to a press release from the university, new first-time freshmen, transfer students and readmits are expected to help the University surpass last year’s total enrollment. In addition, new student enrollment has exceeded the University’s original new student target of 800. Total enrollment numbers will be confirmed at the end of the month.

Part of the growth can be attributed to an intentional focus on increasing cultural diversity through international recruitment. This semester, students from The Bahamas will dominate the international community on campus. Two years, ago, Central State entered into an agreement with The Bahamas Ministry of Education to provide scholarships for Bahamian students. Because of the academic success of those students and CSU’s affordability, the Bahamian government tripled the number of sponsored students. These students will be among the students from more than eight other international countries who have attended Central State.

“Over the past two years we have made a concerted effort to ensure that our partnership with The Bahamas Ministry of Education is one that yields successful outcomes,” said Dr. Stephanie Krah, Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “CSU is an institution that lives its mission of fostering academic excellence within a nurturing environment. Student success is the outcomes.”

The campus is busy this week as new students engage in activities designed to introduce them to a collegiate environment. New student orientation or “Pirate Week,” concludes on Sunday, August 13, with the culminating Candlelight Ceremony, an event that symbolizes the transformative journey of incoming freshmen or “Pirates” to “CSU Marauders.” Classes begin Monday, August 14.

This year, Central State University, was awarded the 2017 HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Digest and presented by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, is the fifth most affordable four-year institution in the nation for out-of-state students. Last fall, 45 percent of the total enrollment was from out-of-state. “This speaks to the brand and the image of the University outside of Ohio.” said Dr. Krah. “These students and their families understand CSU’s value proposition. Our goal, is to connect these students with internships and career opportunities in Ohio, which will lead to residency and the promotion of Ohio’s workforce.”

HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) president Demetrius Johnson Jr., visited Central State University this past January and was extremely impressed with the campus and the current work of the University, as the only public land-grant HBCU in Ohio.

For more information about Central State University, visit their website at