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. 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